As a 40+ year veteran of Real Estate sales & management, I find myself still working, but with the aid of a crutch! Impossible you say? Would you hire a real estate agent with a crutch? Well, hold on, I have
had one of my best years yet, with the aid of crutches! Okay, I don't show many two story homes any more, because my "speciality" has become one story homes in the community of Summerset where I live. Thank goodness, great planning on my part! :-) Believe
it or not, I am doing "my job" better than ever. Of course, I have to give credit to "my Jim", he does my photos, signs, ads, etc, he is the best assistant ever! Maybe I'll need to change my blog title to, High Heels to Crutch??? I just read about a Coldwell
Banker agent in Hawaii, that is successful AND 96 years old.......woo hoo, there is hope for me! Anyway, people hire me for my knowledge, experience & great marketing strategy, and not how I walk!!
you may be asking......what the heck does Karen do? Well the key to that, and my success, can be answered in three words, "personal diplomacy" and "experience"!
Generally speaking, most people don't really
understand what a "good" agent actually does! What differs from me and most other agents? First and foremost, and this sounds crazy, I learn to really love, understand, and care about all my clients. I never compute how much or little I stand to make. I never
sign a contract then disappear. My first concern is the job at hand and keeping my clients happy! That means finding them the perfect home or marketing their home, to a successful closing, where everyone is happy. How do you do that? Constant communication
between you and your clients, and all parties involved in your escrow....not your assistant......YOU! We live in such a fast, high tech world that people often forget the personal touch!
So why the
crutch! (Sometimes both crutches) I have severe osteoarthritis , started by two badly broken ankles in my youth and a horrific auto accident in 1985. (On my way to close an escrow and my back was injured and I had a broken neck, car totaled, note, not my fault,
truck came across divider and hit me head on ) most of my "old"Coldwell Banker associates remember the story that while I was on a gurney, in the emergency room, and before I was treated, I insisted on calling the title company to dictate a rent back agreement.
This darling couple signed their papers then came straight to the hospital. I'm dedicated, for sure! Fortunately for me, there are far worse types of arthritis. Mine is a combination of simply lots of wear and tear and , oh my this is painful, old age, (but
then I remember the 96 year old agent, and I feel young). anI am kind of a bionic , I have 4inch bolts in my ankles, fusions, knee replacements and hip replacements!! My left hip was replaced twice! That surgery kind of "did me in". It was three years
ago and had dislocated twice, requiring ambulance trips to the hospital. During one episode, they used general anesthetic to get it back in and I developed blood clots in my lungs. Another time my entire left leg "blew up" and I spent 6 days at
John Muir Hospital. After the hip was replaced, I had 5 separate pelvic fractures. It was a tough year but I persevered ! Now I need additional fusions just below my ankle....fooey!! I also have stenosis of the spine. It all sounds
awful, but you know......it can always be worse! I learned that very early in my life.....(another story to come).
So why do I work? Many reasons, the money, ( no huge retirement fund), the excitement,
my clients, I love it, i do a great job, and most of all, other then my loved ones, Real Estate is my life! I truly love it, take pride in it, and my clients become friends forever....truly! That is the magic for me!
You probably accept everything but " the money"! We all know real estate agents just pull in tons of money......right! Wrong!! The general public has no clue to what it really costs to maintain a real estate career for 40 plus years. First of
all, getting in the business is really tough! Every appointment with a new client is a "full blown job interview" All the studying and cost just to get a license. Then the car and clothing expenses! When I started in the 70's in Illinois, my then husband
John, made me save so I could buy a car and pay cash, before I could get a car to use for real estate. So I had to drive him to the train every morning, EARLY, and pick him up in the evening. After my first 6mos in the business he was furious with me
and said, this is a stupid business you're in, all the money goes out and nothing comes in".Then I had to buy clothes, suits in all colors! We real estate agents pay all our own expenses, including signs, business cards, advertising, postage, MLS dues and
fees, etc., etc. Our commission is then split with a co broker, then again with our own Broker. We pay our own health insurance and have no profit sharing, and "if" we decide to retire, we are responsible for our own retirement income.......no
pension, no company contributation! In addition we pay for our own car expenses, lunches & dinners with clients, and on and on!!!! We are available 24 hours a day and I actually plan my vacations and surgeries around my clients needs. Now that's
service, if I do say so myself!
So why do I do it? It is my passion! My clients are my passion! When I get those words, "we decided to work with you Karen", I light up like a light bulb inside,
really! Then I am off and running , with Jim at my side! I certainly couldn't do it without him to assist me in so many important ways!!! We make an incredible team, if I do say so myself.
Thru the years,
I have gone up and down stairs "on my butt" ( because I couldn't touch my foot to the floor because of the first fusions), used a wheel chair, walker and crutches, all while being a top agent in the the San Jose area.........and that is before we moved to
a retirement community. Shoot, we have been here for 12 years and I am just using a crutch for the most part, so I'm doing great! People hire me because I'm really good at what I do! I know the business inside and out! I know how to predict, and solve problems
before they become an actuality! So my dear friends locally, please keep me in mind, if you know of someone needing my services.......please go ahead and tell them, "she walks funny, BUT, She's really good at what she does....crutches and all" :-) :-)
PS: My real estate web site is easy: karenlong.com