James Ziltz

Tenfold Returns

James Ziltz is a firm believer that hard work and dedication are the keys to achieving your goals. "You get out what you put in," he says, and his life is a testament to this philosophy.
“This [idea] has proven itself to me tenfold in business, in relationships, and most importantly, in myself,” explains James. “Every single aspect of your life takes work, but the best part of life is seeing your work play out and make an impact on your dreams.”
James’ passion for real estate can be traced back to his childhood. "I grew up in a construction family and always had an interest in property, houses, and entrepreneurship," he says. "I not only wrote out checks for my dad to sign, but also balanced the checkbook (this was pre-online banking). I took great pride in the accuracy of the financials."
This passion continued to develop during his college years as he worked for a real estate investment firm while earning his degree in marketing and finance. By his final year at the University of Illinois, though, he knew he wanted to transition from real estate investment to sales, and saw becoming a REALTOR® the perfect option. "It was a way for me to continue my love for real estate and property and have unlimited potential in business," he says.
James began his real estate career in 2010 and quickly discovered that starting as an individual agent, especially at a young age, wasn't for the faint of heart; James had to work hard to earn the trust of his clients. "I was essentially asking people to trust a college kid with one of their biggest financial decisions," he explains.
He also faced skepticism and doubt from some of his colleagues. One veteran agent even quipped that James wouldn't get his first listing for years. But James used that comment as motivation to prove himself: within the next sixty days, he’d landed his first listing, and in the next ten, he'd sold it.
The experience helped James realize that he needed to focus on the one thing that couldn't be argued with: data. To build trust with clients and earn their business, he became an expert in market data, staying ahead of the curve and using the information to his advantage. He also understood the importance of utilizing his knowledge of the market and his marketing expertise, as well as having a strong marketing plan that can be tailored for each client. 
In the years since, James’ pursuit of a career “in control of my potential,” has unquestionably paid off. Also known for his commitment to collaboration and the respect he extends to everyone, James has become a respected agent in the industry. "Having clients that are truly happy after working together and continual growth through a referral-only business are what I am most proud of," he says.
While long successful on his own, 2024 will see James focus on building a team of agents. He aims to help those agents achieve their goals and expand his brand at the same time. He says he’s looking forward to mentoring and sharing his knowledge and experience and helping others grow in their careers. 
James is a firm believer in sharing the wealth and giving back to the
community—that success is also about making a positive impact in the lives of others—and has been involved in several philanthropic initiatives, but especially those that support children, the fight for equality, and animal welfare. “Face the Future Foundation is a nonprofit that is very meaningful to me. It is dedicated to raising funds and public awareness for multidisciplinary patient care at the University of Illinois Health Craniofacial Center.”
James’ appreciation for community includes the joy of it. He loves living in the vibrant community of Old Town in Chicago where he lives with his golden retriever, Collins. He appreciates the neighborhood's walkability and that it’s close to some of the city's best bars, restaurants, and green spaces. "Old Town really embodies city living with a neighborhood feel," he notes.
And James remains close with his family. They have always been a source of strength, support, and inspiration for him. Growing up, he was especially close to his mother and grandmother, who each played a significant role in shaping his values and outlook on life. Even today, he turns to his grandmother for advice on both personal and financial matters, and their bond remains strong. 
This care for relationships and others is evident in James’ professional life. “I understand that buying or selling a home can be a highly emotional experience,” he says. “While I look at my job as a business so as to be a grounded and supportive presence for my clients, behind the scenes, I invest all of myself [into the work] and pour a lot of emotion into what I do.”
"We [the real estate community] have a responsibility to represent our clients, ourselves, and our colleagues in a way that commands respect within and outside of our industry," he continues. 
With that, and knowing the tenfold returns on the effort and work you put into a dream, James will undoubtedly invest all of himself into the team he will build, and be a true mentor and role model for aspiring agents.