The success of Portuguese-American businesswoman Michelle Pais has earned her a television show in the United States of America (USA), a platform she plans to use to show the world the best that Portugal has to offer.
At 43 years old, Michelle is already a household name in New Jersey, the state where she consolidated her career as a luxury real estate agent and where she founded the company “Signature Realty NJ”, which employs about 500 real estate agents in eight offices.
Her success in the real estate business, combined with a great deal of ambition, led to the creation of the television show “24 Hour Flip”, which premiered last weekend on the US channel A&E, in which the entrepreneur, together with her husband Jonathan Steingraber, shows complete house renovations – done in just 24 hours – and with mostly Portuguese teams.
In statements to Lusa, Michelle Pais admitted that she thought it would be impossible to renovate in this record time.
“The idea of selling houses and renovating them in 24 hours was the idea of my husband, who is not only my partner in real estate, but also an investor. He had been buying, fixing and selling houses since he was in his 20s. Then, about six years ago, he became very frustrated that the process took so long,” Michelle explained.
“He came up with the idea of doing it all in 24 hours. When he told me, I thought he was crazy, that there was no way to do that. Maybe no one in the country has ever had the idea of finding a house, buying a house, and completely renovating it in just 24 hours…but he did it with 50 houses and here we are,” he said.
Michelle Pais, who describes herself as “very hardworking, determined, ambitious and passionate about what she does,” asserts that the innovation of the program, which employs about 50 people, has been the key to its success and she is already dreaming of bringing the format to Portugal.
“God willing, one day we can also go to Portugal and start renovating houses in 24 hours,” said the entrepreneur, who has sold more than four thousand properties in her personal portfolio, mostly between $1 million and $10 million (€940,000 and €9.4 million), but has already reached $17 million (€16 million).
But real estate was not always on the horizon for the Portuguese-American lawyer.
To pay for her studies, Michelle Pais got a job as a secretary in a real estate agency, and it was not long before she made her first sale, which happened to be to a Portuguese man.
From then on, he knew that his professional life would pass through the sector, adding up to almost 22 years of career.
With her roots in Carregal do Sal, where her parents are from, Michelle divided her childhood and adolescence between the USA and Portugal. The fact that she has never lost touch with her roots has led her to want to be surrounded by “Lusitanian” workers in all the projects she takes on.
And looking to the future, the entrepreneur is already working on her next project, which will combine her passion for decoration and design with her pride in being Portuguese.
“At the moment, I’m working on launching [a project in] another sector, and it has to do with home products, ‘design’ and ‘lifestyle’. This is another passion that I have. I love ‘design’, I love everything that has to do with houses, so it’s a project I’m working on and I think the launch will happen before the end of the year,” he told Lusa.
“It’s called ‘Pais Life’ and, as it happens, most of the fabrics for the beds and pillows will come from Portugal. I’m very proud to be Portuguese and to be able to bring a little bit of Portugal to the United States. Everything is of the highest quality. There is nothing like Portugal in textiles and ceramics. I am very proud and very happy to represent Portugal in the United States,” she said.