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From low to high: $57 in the bank to 50 listings.

posted Feb 20, 2015, 4:08 PM by Joyce Evans
You might know Lani Sylvas for teaching PSAR members on how to sell homes offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A HUD home is a property acquired by HUD as a result of a foreclosure action on an FHA-insured mortgage. HUD becomes the property owner and offers it for sale to recover the loss on the foreclosure claim. Lani’s popular classes – taught over the past three years -- include information on writing a HUD sales contract, bidding strategies, marketing ideas, financing programs and new changes, including a new buyer select program.
But did you know that Lani had only $57 in the bank at the lowest point in her real estate sales career?
“I spent my first year in real estate sitting in an office, waiting for the phone to ring,” recalls Lani. “I came close to quitting many times. I had no real estate skills. I couldn’t sell the shoes off my feet. My 401k retirement fund was gone, I had spent it all on living expenses. Then I went to a Mike Ferry sales seminar and decided to give real estate one last try. On my way home, I checked my bank account balance. I prayed most of that night to God. Shortly thereafter,  I got a listing and eventually went from 5 to 50 sales annually.”
Now with Coldwell Banker West, Lani has developed close relationships with several banks and financial institutions. She recently began spending time in some bank branches, meeting with consumers. “My clients have seen the commitment I am willing to make on their behalf,” she said.
Lani grew up in Southeast San Diego, near 43rd and Market streets. She attended Lincoln High School, made the Honor Roll, and graduated #22 out of 230 students in her graduating class. She attended Grossmont College and San Diego City College and worked for 13 years as a pharmacy technician at a drug store before working as a school teacher. “I left the pharmacy because I felt like a drug dealer,” she said. “We would see the same customers every day, picking up pain killers that later would be sold on the streets.”
In 2001, she earned her teaching credential at San Diego State University and taught for San Diego Unified School District for two years. “After I saw the inner workings of the public school system, I lost my passion,” she said. “I didn’t care for the politics.”
While working for the schools, she visited open houses and worked with a REALTOR® on her first home purchase. “I admired their knowledge and professionalism,” said Lani. “My intuition told me that I could be successful at that job. I felt I was led by God to sell real estate.”
Lani entered the real estate field in 2004, and joined Coldwell Banker West in 2009.
Today, Lani lives near the neighborhood where she grew up. She is raising two children, Richard and Shani.
“I have taken a step back in my business in order to spend more quality time with my children,” Lani said. “For several years, I sacrificed too much of my family life for my job. My kids would say to me, `Mom, you’re always on the phone.’ For the past year, I haven’t missed a sports practice, or school event and I’ve been home at night to cook dinner.”
Lani said real estate has allowed her to enjoy new experiences with her family. “We like to travel, we love to take short, three-day trips, see new things and experience different cultures and foods,” Lani said. “I love to experience something I’ve never done before. I want my kids to experience. I want to their childhood memories to reflect things they experienced not how many toys and games they had. The experiences are most memorable.”
Lani has been a member of PSAR since 2009. “The staff is very attentive to my needs,” she said. “They personalize their service to you. They’re always willing to help. I regard them as among my best friends. Thank you PSAR for being so wonderful to me. Joyce, George, and Venissa, you are much appreciated for all that you do.”

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Don’t forget to read next week’s story. Hint: As a teenager, he won sailing races in San Francisco Bay