Carrie McCormick started her real estate career working with developers before transitioning into her own production where she is routinely in the top 1% of all real estate brokers. One of Carrie’s specialties is providing her clients off-market properties (non-MLS listings). She works almost exclusively by referral and answers every single phone call, day or night. We’re glad her clients didn’t try to call during our podcast! 🙂
D.J. Paris 0:15
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the real estate podcast made by real estate brokers for real estate brokers. My name is DJ Parris. I’m your host, and for your things before we get started with today’s show, we wanted to roll out a new feature for upcoming interviews, we’re going to be asking your questions to some of the brokers that we are interviewing. So if you have questions for brokers, and again, we usually talk to top producers. So we have a lot of brokers out there who have questions that they would like a top producer to answer, you can actually submit those questions directly to us either by through our Facebook page, which you can find us by going to facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod or just search for keeping it real pod and Facebook. Or you could go to our website, which is keeping it real pod.com or email us directly at Jen je n at keeping it real pod.com. Today on the show, we have Kerry McCormick, who we just finished speaking with and had a great conversation. She is a top 1% broker and has a tremendous amount of experience. She started on the development side and then moved into her own personal production. And she works almost exclusively by referrals has a lot of funny stories to tell along the way. And also she works a lot of off market properties, non MLS properties, which I think a lot of brokers are always interested in learning how do I get involved. So this is a really great interview and she did a wonderful job. We’re excited to bring this to you now so enjoy
today on the show, we have Carrie McCormick from App properties. Carrie is a leader in the luxury and development market. She has more than 18 years of real estate sales experience along with an unsurpassed reputation of quality, results oriented service and support. She’s made an indelible mark on Chicagoans real estate market and her track record speaks for itself a Chicago Association of Realtors has right Carrie among its top 1% of Realtors year over year. Last year she also earned the struggle Association of Realtors Gold Award and she participates in addition to that participates as a member in the Chicago Builders Association. And besides her many accolades in the industry, Karis is continually rewarded with referrals and repeat business from loyal clients who have benefited from her experience her vast knowledge as a native Chicago and combined with her patient, yet persistent approach to getting clients is getting clients rather what they want makes her an invaluable partner in the real estate process. So welcome. We’re so grateful Carrie, that you’re on the show.
Carrie McCormick 2:57
Hi, I’m glad to be here.
D.J. Paris 3:00
Well, thank you, I know you are incredibly busy. So this is this is very much appreciated. But let’s start at the beginning because you have this 18 year career that is still, you know, continues to grow and build. But how did you get started in the industry?
Carrie McCormick 3:15
Great question. So it goes back all the way back to 1999. And actually, I worked on the development side of the business here in Chicago. I have worked for some of the most well respected Builders here in Chicago and I started with Centrum properties, where I served as their national sales manager. And I represented some of the most iconic buildings like the Montgomery Ward building, the domain building, which was the Montgomery Ward’s catalog house. Sure. And number 10 lofts, and the list goes on. And I worked on so many projects here in the city with them. And I served as an integral member of the development team collaborating on product design, development. And you know, of course, the sales of their properties as well. And then I also worked with a developer here in Chicago called MC Z development, who has also done some incredible adaptive reuse buildings here. And I learned so much about the building process from land acquisition to site planning to architecture and design. It really was a great base for my career. And it was an invaluable experience. And I met some of the most extraordinary people the best in the business, and I still have strong relationships with them. And then from the development side, I launched into my residential sales career with App properties. And the rest is history.
D.J. Paris 4:46
So what what prompted the switch from working with developers to then doing personal production with you know, in the traditional brokerage side,
Carrie McCormick 4:54
so really it was the the market crash that had happened we all went through that In 2008, which lasted several years, so a lot of us in the business had to reinvent ourselves. And because I had such a strong database with working with a ton of people in different projects through Chicago, I had a great base of clients. And I had decided to work with another great company in Chicago, which is at properties going from, you know, the best of the best developers to one of the best residential brokerages in Chicago. And I made the switch, which I absolutely love.
D.J. Paris 5:36
Would you say your experience on the development side really helped you when you started your residential traditional Residential Brokerage?
Carrie McCormick 5:44
Absolutely. So I worked with a lot of builders, who single family home builders who were building, you know, one or two homes, and they loved that I understood the construction side of it, and was able to sell to their clients about, you know, how a home is built, and what to look for, and what’s important. So that did play an important role.
D.J. Paris 6:05
Yeah, and since you’ve been in the business for such time, you know, tough talks about how you, when you made that switch from, you know, working with developers on the development side to then working for add properties working with that properties. Let’s talk about, you know, how did you when you started, was it was it diff? I mean, you obviously had those relationships with developers. But, you know, what do you do so many brokers, you know, attempt to get in the business, whether they have those relationships or not, what do you think you did differently, that maybe other brokers didn’t, and then maybe that made the difference in your success.
Carrie McCormick 6:41
So I don’t know if it’s something that I did different. But when I started the brokerage, with my idea of working with clients, I would do the absolute best job that I could, I focused everything that I had to make sure that their experience was extraordinary. And from there, it just became referral based, you know, one person would have an excellent experience, and they would tell their friends who would tell their friends, and so on. So I would say that I’ve built my business based off of referrals. And I think that client satisfaction is the most important part of my success. And my clients joke to me that I’m always available, I’m always available 24/7, I never miss a call. I, I’m working from the break of dawn to till the sun goes down. And some of my clients joke to me and say, Do you ever sleep, because I’m sending emails at two o’clock in the morning, but that’s what it takes. And I’ve learned that early on in this business, that it just it never stops. And if you’re truly working for your client, you are working all the time. That’s
D.J. Paris 7:53
such a great point. You know, with respect to always being available, I know when I bought a condo, and this was in 2005, or six, and I was not in this business, I was just in marketing with a different company in technology. My broker was my friend. And he had a policy, which he didn’t tell me at the time. But as I think back about it, now, he really did live it, which was he never wanted me or any of his clients to have to call him first. His whole thought was, of course, when we did call him of course, he needed to be available or he wanted, you know, he he felt he needed to be available. But he said I never wanted you to have to call me to ask what was going on. In other words, like, which is a pretty good policy, I feel and I suspect you have that same policy with your clients.
Carrie McCormick 8:41
Oh, absolutely. And the best thing that I the best compliment that I’ve received recently was one of my clients had said to me that are Am I your only client and you know, I looked at them and said, You know, I’m glad you feel that way but actually I’ve got 2028 other clients right now that I’m working with and again I take that as a huge compliment because they felt like I was the only they were the only client that I had. And that just goes to show you the amount of service that that I that I offer my clients and it’s it’s important.
D.J. Paris 9:18
It’s what we have oh my gosh it’s literally the best compliment you could have received
Carrie McCormick 9:22
literally that is that is pressure now but it’s it was a great compliment
D.J. Paris 9:28
and aside from from you always being available and I know that’s the big part of it is making sure that you’re you’re their partner throughout every step of the process. Is there anything else that you do although there might not necessarily be because you know, just being there is such a big part of it. Is there anything else you do you feel that’s unique for your clients?
Carrie McCormick 9:51
There are a few things and you know, going back just to being available all the time, you know is again number one, but I am a true part partner with them in this process. And, you know, because I’ve got 18 years of experience, I know what it takes, I know what it takes to buy and sell a property. And I also have a design background. And my knowledge of staging properties and creating a visually appealing space helps my sellers increase their property value. And my clients love that. And because I’ve been in this business so long, I’ve had time to create a team of professionals that I use, for example, I’ve got my favorite photographer I can always count on I’ve got my favorite inspector, painters, electricians, I’m kind of like a one stop shop. So when they come to me with either buying a home or selling their home, I’ve got all the resources, you know, and I’ve got the best of the best.
D.J. Paris 10:50
Yeah, you never have to say, Gosh, I really don’t know.
Carrie McCormick 10:54
And that’s, that’s the one answer. I don’t like doing. I don’t know.
D.J. Paris 10:59
What What advice would you have for a newer broker, or even maybe not necessarily a newer broker, but somebody who’s struggling or really trying to build their business, you obviously have had so much incredible success. And you’ve earned Of course, every bit of it, is there any any specific habits or behaviors that you would recommend to somebody who would like to be in the position down the road that you’re in?
Carrie McCormick 11:22
Yeah, I would say just, you know, remain social, and network with your sphere that’s around you, you know, your friends, your family, when you go to different events, always have your business cards on you, you know, when I’m at an event or a gathering, of course, I don’t, you know, come out the gate and tell people, you know, what I do and try to pitch my business to them, but there’s always a good way to work it in the conversation. Because real estate is relevant in everyone’s life. And, you know, you just you’ve you find a way to, to introduce yourself and tell them what you do, and stay in contact with them. And that has been it today, it still plays a huge role in what I do.
D.J. Paris 12:07
What percentage of your business would you say, roughly would be referral based versus you going out and seeking sort of new clients?
Carrie McCormick 12:16
I would say 90% of my business is referral.
D.J. Paris 12:19
That is amazing. And again, that is a true testament to your ability to take care of your, your existing clients, because they clearly are, they clearly are think you do enough, well enough job to then of course, recommend you, you know, and I know that you also have worked and continue to work with off market properties, we’ll call them non MLS, for example. And, you know, talk about how you sort of got involved with with pocket listings or off market listing?
Carrie McCormick 12:47
Sure. So off market properties and pocket listings are a huge term here in Chicago. And I got into that, because some of my buyers were looking for a specific property, and we exhausted the MLS, and we couldn’t find what they were looking for. So we started going down the route of, you know, talking with other brokers of what properties that they had coming soon. And it paid off, because I talked with a fellow broker, and he or she would say, oh, yeah, I’ve got this listing coming, you know, it kind of matches what you’re talking about, you guys want to come in and see it. So it creates this exclusivity to my buyers that they love and this urgency to make an offer before this property goes on the market. So that had given my clients, you know, this huge advantage. And of course, I became a valuable partner in the buying process, because I was able to find them a property that wasn’t on the market. And also I belong to a few different off market networks. And it’s, you know, talking with other brokers belonging to these off market networks. And I’ve even done some knocking on doors and sending letters going the old traditional route, you know, my client wants to live on Warband Xia Street and in Bucktown, and nothing’s available, guess who’s knocking on your door?
D.J. Paris 14:10
That’s right. And you can end up possibly with a few listings that way, too.
Carrie McCormick 14:15
I mean, it’s going back old school, but sometimes you’ve got to go back to, you know, some groundwork.
D.J. Paris 14:21
I know, there’s a lot of developers or rather, I shouldn’t say developers, calm investors who, you know, will just knock on doors and neighborhoods and say, Hey, Are you the owner? Would you be interested in selling? And, you know, obviously, those properties aren’t on the market at the time. And so you you’re doing the same thing? And I’m always I thought that is you know, it’s it’s, it’s remarkable. You have to get a bit creative sometimes when the MLS is exhausted. And, and I’m not sure how much you want to talk about the off market networks. But if somebody wanted to get involved, and sort of learn more about hey, in addition to the MLS, what else is out there? Do you have any recommendations of what they might start to do to learn more,
Carrie McCormick 15:02
I would recommend them calling me and I will research all of these off market networks. They are for brokers only. So you have to connect with a broker who utilizes them and belongs to the networks, which I do.
D.J. Paris 15:17
That’s awesome. And, you know, we always ask our people, we interview their funniest real estate experience, and I know you had a one where you had to chase a seller’s dog too. What happened there? Did the dog get loose or
Carrie McCormick 15:34
it was I really wish that we had a video crew behind me because it was one of those moments that you just it’s hard to describe. But you know, I’ll try to paint the picture for you. So I have a listing in the bell school district and single family home and I show up earlier to my to my appointment to get the house ready. I opened the front door and their dog goes running out. And keep in mind I’m in heels I’m in dress in a dress, it’s 85 degrees outside the job, bolts out the front door, no collar, no leash, and I go running after the dog so I’m running down the street as fast as I can because this is my client’s family dog beloved dog. And I’m just worried that dogs gonna leave right it’s just keep running so I am running as fast as I can down the street to try to get the dog. Well the good news is the dog got tired before I did and had decided to just lay down in middle of the street. And it’s a bulldog. I don’t know how much this dog weighed but it was a big Bulldog. He lays down in the middle of the street and I’m trying my best to get this dog out of the street. I ended up having to pick him up. Oh no. And and you know I’m five foot 500 pounds myself and I’m trying to carry this dog down the street who’s probably you know, half my weight and you know, again my goal is just to get this dog back in the house and I’ve got the showing coming and I get the dog back in the house I put him in his cage. And honestly the moment I lock that cage the doorbell rings and I look in the mirror at myself and I’m just you know I’m sweaty and my hair masks and you know my dress is askew and I you know as in true real estate you know form and being a professional you straighten yourself up you put a big smile on your face and you open up that door and welcome that man and you know the showing went great but again if they were there two minutes before it would have been a different story. So you know we’ve got ton of funny stories but that was just my most recent one.
D.J. Paris 17:42
Yeah, and then you would also that is that is really funny. And good timing I guess. Yeah. And then you also told they were talking about to us off off Mike about the control for automated home system and you had sort of interesting experience with that. Can you tell that story to you man,
Carrie McCormick 18:02
I think interesting. So great word so control for and all these automated systems are wonderful technology for the home. It just it’s great and you gotta love all the technology. However you need to know how to work it. So this story is I’m working with a buyer and we’re in Bucktown single family home buyer looking young couple loves technology. So we go into the home for the showing and the sellers agent was there and she was doing a great job of giving us an overview of the home and of course wanted to talk about the automated system of the house you can you know with one touch of a button you can open up your blinds and your your lights and you know the audio system and all that good stuff. So we go into the basement of the home where the theater was and she wanted to demonstrate you know, again, touch of one button, movie comes on lights, dim shades come down all of that. Well when she did that. We realized that the homeowners had left an adult film on his screen.
D.J. Paris 19:04
Oh my goodness.
Carrie McCormick 19:06
So let’s talk about the most uncomfortable situation on a big screen. piped through the home. Of course the realtor is scrambling trying to figure out how to turn it off and what buttons you know all the buttons all the lights are going on and off and you know we decided just to leave the basement and go upstairs and you know look at the rest of the home and let her figure out the system. But again it was a whole home audio system. So the showing was a little uncomfortable walking through the home with this piping, music or dialogue going on during the showing but we made it through the home and it just it made for an interesting showing you put it at that.
D.J. Paris 19:51
Isn’t that funny? It’s it’s you would you would think it would occur to to the owners to maybe put that away Before showing, but I don’t know, maybe they forgot it was. That is so funny. Yeah, we I just I just interviewed of someone else who walked a similar story but a bit different walked in on a couple amorous scenario, which it’s that is not the first time I’ve heard that or the adults have, you know, video was was was playing in television. So it seems to, but it’s certainly certainly happens I guess,
Carrie McCormick 20:32
D.J. Paris 20:34
And but I also want to talk about your, the the school Sparrow project that you’re involved in. So because I know this is something you’re passionate about, and you have an event coming up. So do tell him, tell us about that.
Carrie McCormick 20:48
Yeah, thank you for mentioning that. So I’ve got two kids who went through the bell school system through the CPS system, and I work with a lot of families. And I find that this school system is a big question on a lot of parents minds. So I partnered with a website called school spiro.com. And it’s an amazing website that will help families you know, locate different schools in the city and of course, find real estate that’s in those particular school districts. And I’m also working with another company called Chicago School GPS, GPS, meaning helping you find a school that’s best suited for your your family. So we are hosting a free event in September. For those of you who want to learn more about navigating the school system, we’re going to host it at little beans cafe. And we’ve got two dates to choose from. So if you’re interested, again, it’s a free event. We’ve got a lot of great speakers coming to talk to families about schools here in Chicago and some different options that are available, I would love to be able to send you a free personal invitation for this event, you can call me which I will answer the phone, or you can email me if it’s okay, if I hand out my information real quick, please do. Sure. So my phone number is area code 312-961-4612. And my email is Carrie, C A R r i e, at 80 properties.com. So in addition to the invitation just so everyone knows, I do free home evaluations. And I also do since I have a design background, I can come into your home and give you some design tips. If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, I can talk to you about different colors and trends and just getting your house ready for the market.
D.J. Paris 22:47
Yeah, and I would like to, to, to add to that myself, it’s just sort of all of these, these specialties really illustrate how you go above and beyond what most Realtors provide to their clients. The your expertise in, obviously, on the development side, and then and then obviously with design as well. And then doing the free web, the free seminar information with parents and schools and finding real estate. All of that is way above and beyond what most realtors are even able to provide for their for their customers,
Carrie McCormick 23:26
they don’t, I think it’s important to give back, you know, I mean, we, of course, you know, buy and sell real estate for our clients, but it’s also participating in the community and adding value to what we do.
D.J. Paris 23:39
And I think it’s not coincidental that you’ve been so successful interest in real estate in general, while also providing it with the exceptional level of customer service, and then these additional sort of knowledge pieces. So congrats to you, obviously, you don’t need my congratulations, but it’s truly impressive. And let’s see. And I would just ask if any, any other suggestions you have for people that are thinking about getting into real estate as a profession, or are already in and starting you have any suggestions of what you know what they ought to be doing on a regular basis to build their business.
Carrie McCormick 24:17
So real estate is an amazing job. I love what I do. And I think anyone who’s looking to get into the business is going to love it as well. And like I mentioned at the beginning, it’s really about working your we call it this sphere of influence your friends, your family, and just putting yourself out there. Also, I think that education is very important. So make sure that you you know sign up for any and all classes that are offered. We’ve got some amazing tools to learn. So educating yourself is also very
D.J. Paris 24:52
important. My My friend is actually Rebecca Thompson, who is the Director of Education over at our properties. Yeah, everyone loves Rebecca and, and she she is a great resource as well. But I know that properties they education is a huge, huge push. And obviously they they’ve done a great job with their brokers, including people like yourself who obviously are be having a tremendous amount of success. I think that’s really good advice. And okay, I’m gonna pause for a quick sec. I’m just trying to think if there’s anything else I think we covered pretty much everything. So yeah, is there anything I missed anything else you want me to cover?
Carrie McCormick 25:35
I don’t think so. I’ve got all my apps covered all my topics. How did I do?
D.J. Paris 25:42
Oh, you did awesome. Yeah, no, no, you did great. I’m just wanting to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Um, so I’m gonna then wrap up. I’m gonna plug your Okay, so I’m gonna do a wrap up here. And then we’ll say goodbye. So. So if you’d like to work with Carrie McCormick directly, and she is and she will make you feel like you are her only client. And her expertise speaks for itself. But if you would like to reach out to her, she can be reached, as she mentioned before and Carrie email@example.com Or you can call her directly at 312-961-4612. She does answer the phone as she mentioned, and she’s obviously very lovely. And I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in any capacity because clearly her clients are extremely happy with her. So I know you’re incredibly busy with all of the clients you have. So taking time out of the day to speak to us is greatly appreciated. So thank you very, very much Carrie for being on the show.
Carrie McCormick 26:43
Having me loved it. Thank you