Bill Olsen loves the personality of older homes. His own 230 year-old house is a case in point. “It was a basket-maker’s cottage. They used to make big baskets for the oyster trade right in my home,” he explains. The reeds for the baskets grew alongside the stream that now feeds the Laurel Reservoir. According to Bill, there is a small town with a gristmill and watermill submerged under the waters of the reservoir.

This is not Olsen’s first home in Stamford. “My family was in real estate,” says Bill. His father loved buying and selling houses so much that the family moved 17 times within Stamford before Bill left home to work as an electrician. “I mostly worked in commercial construction – hospitals and hotels for the most part,” he says. “I was a union steward.” In the late 1970s Bill and a brother joined forces buying and renovating homes all over Fairfield County. Just like their dad. Must have been in their blood.

Olsen’s most recent career began while he was on a trip to New Mexico. “We were in a restaurant in Santa Fe and this guy comes in wearing about 30 pounds of silver and turquoise,” says Olsen. “Then a girl wearing about 40 pounds of silver and turquoise came in and sat with him.”

Over the next few days Bill kept bumping into the couple and soon discovered that they were also from Stamford. The couple, June Rosenthal, owner of Juner Real Estate, and her husband Rolf, own a home in Santa Fe. By the time Bill got back to Connecticut he’d made up his mind to become a real estate agent and work with June.

Bill Olsen has been in the business so long that he’s seen plenty of ups and downs. He’s cautiously optimistic about the real estate market in 2011. Most recently he’s been working with clients moving to Stamford from Greenwich. “You get more house for the money (in Stamford),” he says.

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