Thursday, January 15, 2009

Introducing Our New Agent- Gloria Polanski

“We’re delighted to have Gloria join us at Berkeley Hills Realty,” says firm co-owner Bill McDowell. “She has years of experience and a great perspective on the business, plus she’s a pleasure to work with.”

Gloria was born in postwar Europe, and her family eventually came to the United States and settled in Los Angeles. (She claims only very distant kinship with Roman Polanski, the famed director of Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby.) As soon as she could, she says she left L.A. to attend UC-Berkeley. “The day after I graduated from Fairfax High School I got on a plane and flew north.”

Gloria had a great time as a student at Cal. “I got very political and was involved with SDS and the New Left,” she says. “It was the Sixties, and Berkeley radicalism and bohemianism all spoke to me.” She also set up shop on Telegraph Avenue. “I had one of the first street vendor’s licenses in the City of Berkeley.” Gloria crocheted and sold hats and vests in the winter, and string bikinis and halter tops in the summer. Later, she and a partner made tie-dyed T-shirts. “We could do a whole batch of tie-dye in a washing machine,” she says. “Compared to crocheting, which you do one item at a time, this was mass production!”

Learning from Experience

Still in step with the times, Gloria and her first husband also started Spring Mountain Hot Tubs and Solar Energy Systems. When they were looking for a house to buy, she got hooked on real estate. For once, however, Gloria’s timing was off. She went to work in a real estate office in North Berkeley in 1980, as interest rates shot up to 20 percent and rent control was enacted in Berkeley. The combination, she says, destroyed the company.

Gloria moved on to Red Oak Realty, where she worked for two decades. After a stint at Marvin Gardens, she joined Berkeley Hills Realty. “Given my skill set and expectations, Berkeley Hills seemed like the right place for me at this point in my career,” she says. “And they've been wonderful and welcoming.”

Gloria gives her clients two main pieces of advice. First, don't get overextended. “Don't put yourself in a situation where you might have to sell immediately,” she says. “Always be in a position where you can weather the next storm.” Her second piece of advice may sound contradictory, but it makes sense. “If you’re buying a home for yourself, spring for the most expensive house you can afford,” she says. “Most of my clients who bought at the top of what they could afford have been really happy, because moving is such a big deal.”

Married to a physician, Gloria has three grown children and says she is involved in some interesting things: “I’m on the board of the École Bilingue, Berkeley’s French-American school, and a member of the North East Berkeley Association” Gloria is a long-term, active member of the Berkeley Association of Realtors, where she serves on the governmental affairs committee. She’s also a charter member of the Berkeley Chocolate Club.

Gloria Polanski can be contacted at Berkeley Hills Realty at
510-524-9888 x12, 510-914-7472 (cell), and by e-mail at