My first six years in business, what I have learned and what I love!

When I got my real estate license in July of 2007, I didn’t know just how quickly the market was headed downhill. Before that time, agents often had more transactions than they had time, and business was good! However, by the time I was getting ramped up, the market had all but dried up. Sounds like a sob story right? Actually, in hindsight, it ended up being a blessing in disguise!

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Starting a new career path is difficult all on its own. Adding to that also learning how to run my own business in a time where there was no business just adds a layer of complexity! My career to that point had been 100% corporate (read: stability), so I had a steep learning curve as leader of my own company. I decided that getting back to the basics was going to be the best route to success, and it ended up to be true.

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The “basics” in real estate consists of really three things – (1) Follow up with prospects and clients; (2) Delight prospects and clients with spot-on service; and (3) Never stop learning. You do those three things well in real estate (in any business, really), and you will set yourself up for success.

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As the years have progressed and business has boomed, I have more irons in the fire, and forgetting about those basics becomes a threat! However, I do my best to stay grounded in remembering what people want and need from me, and sometimes that just means I have to slow down, take a breath, and remember 2007. Staying true to those skills and beliefs has been a tremendous foundation for my business growth and success.

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Real estate is such an awesome field of work (and field of study)! It’s fascinating working with people from ALL walks of life and in ALL stages of life. Sometimes, though, it does feel like I’m more of a counselor than a broker!

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For example, I just worked with a couple who wanted seemingly different things in a house, and I had to work to find that house that make BOTH of them happy and feel at HOME! And, we did it! Just REALLY listening to them, getting to know them, caring for them and remembering their priorities helped us get to the finish line in a happy way.

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Helping my clients stay focused on their priorities and goals is what I do. Home buying or selling can be very stressful; my job is to minimize that stress as much as possible. One of the best ways I can do that (besides educating them on the process) is to help clients stay focused on the end game.

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A home seller who has lived apart from his/her family due to job relocation can get frustrated easily. I can help keep that person focused on the goal – living together as a family again – while continuing to work the process. Staying focused on that goal helps with clearer, more deliberate decisions, which helps the stress level.

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Being a lifelong learner is a must in this business. No two transactions are ever the same.  On one sale, I may learn about termite remediation and that a termite-infested house is NOT the end of the world… while on another, I may learn something new about the short sale process.  Every experience brings something new to learn, which is very cool because I’ve always been a learner at heart.

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The last thing I’ll mention as a HUGE learning over these 6 years is that who I surround myself with is critical. I’ve been very fortunate to develop really amazing partnerships, which are key to being successful.  Mortgage lenders, insurance agents, contractors and closing attorneys are just a few of the core “team” I depend on daily.  I trust my partners to deliver an experience to my clients that is second-to-none, and they demand the same from me. That’s why we click; our expectations are the same for each other, communicated and accounted for!

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Being a business owner is VERY different from life in the corporate world. It requires absolute discipline, creativity, self-accountability and self-awareness. While it can be a challenge and has been challenging at times over the past six years, never once have I looked back or given a second thought to my decision.

This is where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing. I know that for sure.

Here’s to 6 more!

Karen Kitzmiller

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