BERKELEY − After more than a decade working in auto sales, Marc Guay decided he needed to transition into something that would provide a firmer foundation. “I got into car sales while I was in college and spent my 20s selling exotic makes like Alfa Romeo, BMW and Mercedes-Benz,” he remembers. “By the time I turned 30, my wife and I were starting to have kids, and I felt it was time to get serious about a career, which is what led me to enter the field of residential real estate.”
Far from a random transition, Marc’s family background provided a pertinent precedent for his change of livelihood. “Both my parents were involved in the real estate industry,” he says. “My mother sold residential real estate in Berkeley for many years, and my father started as a contractor before going into commercial leasing and development. Not only did this give me a familiarity with the industry, it also gave me a well-rounded perspective, since they each handled a different aspect of the business.”
After 26 years, Marc says his real estate career brings him more satisfaction than he ever got from selling cars. “With real estate, I get to be involved in people’s lives in a much more positive way. I enjoy building partnerships with my clients, advocating for them and working to obtain successful results on their behalf. Plus, I’m not stuck on a showroom floor—I have a lot more opportunities to get out, whether showing properties to clients or facilitating open house events.”
A lifelong resident of Berkeley (where he lives with his wife, Maria), Marc says he appreciates the city’s cutting-edge character. “It’s a very exciting place to live and work. In addition to the vibrant diversity and entrepreneurial opportunities, we’re on the forefront of culture and technology, so we’re never out of touch with what’s happening at the moment.”
Outside of work, Marc enjoys being out and about in the Greater Bay Area. “I really like to travel around and take my time to enjoy the diversity of the landscape and scenery,” he says. “I also like playing golf—it’s great exercise and I find it very relaxing.” Additionally, Marc takes time to keep up with his and Maria’s two grown children: Spencer, who lives locally and works as an artisan, and Curtis, a member of the U.S. Air Force who currently resides in Japan.
In regard his professional career, Marc says it’s important to establish realistic expectations and strive to exceed them. “I see a lot of realtors overpromising and then under-delivering. While that may bring success in the short term, it tends to have an adverse effect in the long term. That’s why I make it a point to do the opposite—under-promise and over-deliver.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Marc says he’d give back to his community. “I’m currently the president of the Berkeley West Lions Club, which has given me an opportunity to participate in a lot of civic activities and charitable projects. If I was able to retire tomorrow, I’d devote more of my time to those types of altruistic ventures. Of course, I’d also like to play a bit more golf!”