What started out as a mere hobby later transformed into a thriving business for Larissa Cleary.
The Kingston native and her business, City Brokers LLC, was one of six contestants at the inaugural NEPA Sharks competition held last Friday at The Woodlands Inn. The event featured a $5,000 grand prize and was hosted by Golden Mile Funding and the Times Leader Media Group.
Cleary said her hobby of property investment turned into a business when she became pregnant with her son. Looking for a job that allowed for flexible business hours, Cleary landed on being a realtor.
“Real estate seemed like the most realistic move at that point, since I needed little education, I already had investors I knew, contacts in the field and I went on to get my real estate license,” she said.
Her decision paid off quickly, as Cleary won Rookie of the Year at her firm, as well as Times Leader Realtor of the Year honors in 2016 and 2017.
From there, Cleary began to think of creating her own company. The decision was finalized in 2016, and after enrolling in some brokerage courses, the doors of City Brokers LLC opened a year later. She said the decision to create her own business was largely due to wanting to think outside-the-box.
“The major reason I opened was for the freedom to be able to express our differences. Working in a large company, we were forced to fit into the box that they had called a system, and anything outside that box was very difficult to make out-of-the-ordinary transactions happen,” she explained. “We do lots of out-of-the-ordinary things and we (do) not fit the mold.”
City Brokers handles everything from rent-to-own properties, owner financing and more. Cleary enjoys showing tenants important aspects of finance, such as how to improve credit scores, or helping someone who thought they’d never have a chance at homeownership.
The company also plays a heavy role in the business side of realty, including connecting investors locally and overseas to area properties, community development and even property management. One thing Cleary strongly believes is turning the idea of a thriving downtown Wilkes-Barre into a reality. And she’s set on playing a role in that transition, along with her two new co-partners.
“We absolutely love our area and the three of us specialize in Wilkes-Barre in particular and the surrounding areas,” she said. She adds that her business has already played many roles in numerous downtown revitalization projects.
Cleary is planning on opening a second location locally as well as in Florida.
Although The Baut Studios walked away with the cash prize during NEPA Sharks, Cleary said she would have used the money to help complete her website and invest in more marketing.
To contact City Brokers LLC, call 570-550-0477.