Valery Neuman Shares Tenets of Success

Women in Business keynote speaker talks of being a survivor, seizing control of her life



Valery Neuman speaks May 14 to the audience at the inaugural 2013 Women in Business awards event by Palm Springs Life at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert.

Jim Powers

There are probably few times in her career when Valery Neuman has said the word “No” to a client interested in buying a house.

But there she was, telling a client that he did not want to buy a house she suggested he and his wife go look at purely for the purpose of seeing its interior

“He called me that night and tells me, ‘I have to have that house’,” Neuman recalled. “I said, ‘Oh no, no, no. You can’t have that house. It’s $2.8 million.’”

Originally, the client had indicated to Neuman that he wanted to upgrade from his $600,000 home to $1 million. He wound up buying the home.

That was Neuman’s first transaction 21 years ago. Today she is one of the Coachella Valley’s most successful high-end real estate professionals. She has closed in excess of $1 billion, and in the past year she was asked by HOM Sotheby International Realty to open an office in Old Town La Quinta.

Neuman shared that first experience during the inaugural 2013 Women in Business awards event by Palm Springs Life at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert.

Her job puts her in touch with people often during key moments in their lives – new job, retirement, losing their job, or even death. The recent economic downturn reinforced the tenets of the job to her: put the client first, know your product and do everything you can to help.

“I had calls from every walk of life and everyone was affected,” Neuman said of the downturn. “They were losing their jobs. There were large businesses whose credit lines had been revoked. I knew I had to do my part. Most of all, I had to listen.”

Neuman entered the real estate field after spending time in the aerospace manufacturing industry first in a family business and then one with her husband, Don, in Orange County. The tragic death of Don’s son in a snowboarding accident created a tidal wave of change that brought the couple to the desert.

“We came not really knowing what to do or how we would make a living,” Neuman said. “My husband said, ‘I picture you in real estate’. Real estate? I don’t even look at homes on weekends. I don’t go to open houses. I know nothing about it.”

Not much has stopped Neuman from achieving her goals. As a child, she grew up in a Dutch family in Canada with a brother who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Moving to the U.S. didn’t change the dysfunctionality of her family and at the age of 16, Neuman knew she had to seize control of her life.

At age 16, she moved out of her parents house, skipped her senior year of high school but still managed to graduate, attend Cal State Fullerton and met her future husband.

“Through these experiences, I became a very strong person, a true survivor,” Neuman said. “My father would always tell me you choose your destination in life. You can dream to be what you want to be, and it’s all up to you.”

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