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What’s handmade and what’s not

Diary of a Real Estate Rookie

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In her wonderful (and mouth-watering) memoir, food writer Laura Schenone decides to learn to make ravioli the way her ancestors did. As part of the quest, she goes to Italy, to a restaurant in the Genoa area, to learn from Roberto Circella, a master pasta maker. When she walks into his restaurant, La Brinca, she writes, "I am disappointed to see the pasta dough is already made. How much flour and egg did he use? How much moisture?" I sort of feel the same way about my business. The trend in real estate is towards disintermediation, where customers practically buy homes off the Internet and then repent at leisure later. I am fighting this head-on by trying to be one of those completely different agents, very full-service-y in a landscape where people might not even realize they need it. And I am trying to learn this artisan approach at the hands of a master, my sponsoring broker, and it comes so naturally to him after two decades that even though he's teaching me loads abo...