It seems only fitting that we celebrate Valentine’s Day by featuring two members of the Citi Habitats family who are partners in love and real estate. Kilby and Marizete Browne are co-leaders of the Property Hats NYC Team at Citi Habitats, and we were lucky enough to speak with them about their passion for dancing, what it’s like working with your significant other, and how dancing has played a role in their real estate careers.
How did you two get into dancing together in the first place?
I think we danced together before we actually spoke to one another. We first met in 2002 on a Sunday afternoon on the dance floor at a swing dance event at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ. It was the same spot where they filmed the Bruce Springsteen video for Glory Days. When we first met, Marizete had just recently arrived from Brazil and didn’t speak much English, so the international language of dance was all we really had to communicate. We quickly became dance partners, and after several months of dancing in NYC and Hoboken we started dating, and well, that led to our getting married. I proposed to her at the Rainbow Room in front of a swing band on my birthday. I needed an excuse to go out to such a nice place that had live swing music and dancing. We had a 14-piece swing band at our wedding and we danced swing and Brazilian samba. Marizete taught me about Brazilian samba and forró music. She has been a dance instructor in Manhattan for many years. To this day, she still teaches, although we’ve had to limit it to private classes due to our real estate schedule.
How often do you go dancing, and where are your favorite spots?
We used to go out dancing quite a bit to places like SOB’s, Swing 46, Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, Bryant Park, and so many more. Real estate can be a seven-day-a-week job, and now we don’t dance as much as we would like to. We try to take
We love little Brazilian spots like Beija-Flor in Astoria for dancing, and Miss Favela in Williamsburg for a great vibe and Brazilian music. We also dance previewing apartments when we can. If you can dance in a walk-in closet you have found yourself a great place to live.
What is it like working with your significant other?
It has been a big learning curve to work with each other. Work never seems to stop and setting boundaries to keep the real estate talk away when we get home is difficult. The great thing is that we always know that we have a partner who we can trust 100% with a client or a listing. Real estate can be time-consuming, and we get to spend that time together, so it’s really nice.
How has dancing had an impact on your real estate career?
Dancing teaches you partnership skills and social grace. The leader’s job is to make the follower look great and not let any other dancers bump into them. We feel that this is similar to the way we help lead our clients through a real estate deal. It gets bumpy at times, but it can be fun and done with grace when things get crazy. Our personal style also derived from our dancing. I used to wear hats sometimes when I went swing dancing, but I fell in love with the Panama hat when I started doing Brazilian samba performances with Marizete. I loved the hat so much—and the style in general—that I started to wear hats all the time to work. Years later, it led to the creation of The Property Hats NYC Team at Citi Habitats. It all started with dance.
The summer is for classic Panama hats and the winter is for a nice fedora. Our love of swing music also gave us a love of vintage clothes that includes suits, hats, and dresses. We like the idea of a real estate team that mixes an old school style with modern technology and social media. Dance has helped us combine Marizete’s Brazilian side and my American side. We speak and enjoy music in two languages, and that international connection attracts an international clientele. We both worked on Wall Street for many years in NYC, and dancing has helped us offset a serious side with a fun performance side. Real estate can be stressful, but it should be fun. Dance with us to your new home!