Karen Ranquist has been not only a top producer for the past twenty years, but an involved top producer! In addition to earning a spot in the Berkshire Hathaway Hall of Fame, she’s also served on many boards and helped shape the Chicago broker market. We’re honored she took an hour out of her schedule to talk about how she got into the business, what advice she has for brokers looking to increase production, and the importance of giving back to the community.
D.J. Paris 0:14
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real. The only podcast made by Chicago real estate agents for Chicago real estate agents. My name is DJ Parris. I am your host through the show. And I forgot to mention at the beginning of last episode that we have officially crossed over the 30 episode mark. And we’re so grateful and excited that people are interested to keep listening to the show, our audience keeps growing, we keep getting more people to interview. And we’re also grateful, of course, to those top producers who graciously give their time to share with you their story of how they started in real estate and have grown their business to today and in hopes that you can take something away from that and help your own real estate practice. A couple of things to mention for 2018, we see very big things for us and a couple of changes or additions rather, we’re going to continue Of course with Carrie McCormick, we do a monthly episode called the Monday market minute. It’s the first Monday of every month where Carrie talks about here’s what brokers need to know about the market. And she answers your questions if you’re ever curious, what you’d love to be able to ask questions of a top producer Kerry’s 18 years and veteran top producer. And she she does that. And then also we’re going to be doing another regular episode once a month buy from Eric workman and this is what brokers need to know about investing. And Eric is a top producer as well, exclusively really working with investors and doing his own investments. So he is going to be doing a regular episode, we’re gonna recording our first first one next week. So we’re really, really excited to bring Eric into the studio as well for that. And also, please continue to share this podcast with other brokers that you think could be interested in learning what top producers do tell a friend and also send us your questions. Right. So we’ve gotten a lot of great suggestions from our brokers, which helps when I interview brokers I ask those questions and or ask them to carry and so please continue to send those to us. You can find us on Facebook at keeping it real pod and also our website which is keeping it real pod.com We’ve got a few more episodes to go up before the end of the year. Today is a fantastic interview that we did with top producer, great person Karen Rehnquist. I’m really excited to share this with you here in just a moment. And then lastly, we’re doing we now have a sponsorship opportunity. So you’ll hear an episode or rather an advertisement here in just a moment for a one of our sponsors. And if you’d like to sponsor an episode, just let us know and we’ll tell you how that works. So thanks so much and onto our interview with Karen.
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Okay, today on the show we have Karen Rehnquist. Now Karen started her real estate career in 1997. Prior to that, she worked for five years as a licensed social worker and Chicago Public Schools. She became a full service agent in 1999 and was instantly recognized as Rookie of the Year at her initial company. In addition to being a broker with now she is with Berkshire Hathaway, a coding we should say BHHS coding ruble off Realty Group. Karen is also the primary real estate broker for a highly regarded builder of custom properties in Chicago. Karen’s expertise lies in working with contemporary single family homes, condos, row homes and new construction projects throughout the city. Karen has been an annual Top Producer over her 20 year career she is in the top 1% of producers in Chicago Association of Realtors, and her current individual production has ranked her number 73 As of September 2017. And this was pulled from the MLS and also published by Chicago real producers magazine which I happen to have a monthly column in that magazine as well. So shout out to Chicago producers magazine. She was also just recently inducted into Berkshire Hathaway’s Hall of Fame, which is a very big deal because they are I don’t know if they’re the largest real estate company in in the country, but certainly one of the top two or three care Aaron has also been featured in Crain’s Chicago, social ces interiors, curved and Chicago magazine for her real estate opinion, she has remained active in the community, including serving for over five years on cars Grievance Committee. And also she was a former vice president of the Women’s Council of realtors. So Karen, thank you so much for your time.
Karen Ranquist 5:22
Oh, TJ, thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here. And thank you for that great introduction. I really love what you guys are doing with this podcast. And I feel like it just fills a void for a place that realtors can share tips and ideas and things like that you don’t you you don’t have the opportunity to really hear from other realtors in this in this light and about their practice. Well,
D.J. Paris 5:47
that’s the intention. And it’s so funny, because just yesterday I got a, a message. I think it might have been through Facebook, but it may have been an email from a Berkshire Hathaway agent. And they, you know, just out of the blue and unsolicited message saying how much they love the show. And here we are. And I think you’re the first Berkshire broker we’ve had on the show, and I’m sure we’ll have many more, but we are so happy to have you on the show. So tell us about how you got started in real estate.
Karen Ranquist 6:15
Gosh, it was so long ago. But I would say while I was a social worker was obviously a very demanding job. But in the mean, in the summers and some evenings I was working on rink was had some projects out in the suburbs, and I started doing just some stuff out on the weekends and kind of morphed into doing some of the closings. And I really had this like natural affinity, this this, I really enjoyed doing sales and being with people helping people. And, you know, one thing led to another and the timing was just right, we had started a project in the city and I was wanting to become a full time agent, I got my license, I moved over to a large company that provided me with some great initial training, some great mentorship. And we took our you know, our first project, it was a building on in, in East Village and at 839 Hermitage, our first kind of city project, kind of the rest is history as far as building a niche for that type of property. And and, you know, growing over the years in in new construction, and the sales aspect of it was just so it was just so fun for me.
D.J. Paris 7:33
Yeah, it tell us a little bit about how, you know how you’ve changed your business over the 20 years? What have you seen change?
Karen Ranquist 7:42
And yeah, I bet. You know, I feel like, oh, go ahead.
D.J. Paris 7:48
No, tell us what you’ve seen change. And it’d be you know, well, let me give it a bigger context. So I know coaching and mentoring is really important to you. I know you mentioned you have a coach, which I love that somebody with as much experience and successes as you has a coach and what I find is almost everyone I interview who are they’re all top one percenters for the podcast, they all have coaches too. But But talk a little bit about, you know, what advice, what you’ve seen change and what you coach and mentor brokers who may be newer to the business, you know, throughout your experience that you’ve seen, you know, is more meeting more relevant today than ever.
Karen Ranquist 8:25
But definitely, I mean, all those things. I mean, I think when I started it was, you know, it was kind of before the big building, boom, and we were able to kind of get our feet wet start with some smaller buildings, really did some resale at the time had, like I said, I had some about three very strong agents that helped me guided me in the very beginning, I came in with a girlfriend who was her and her husband were buying and selling a place and she trusted me to to kind of hit the ground running. And I quickly paired up with an agent that had actually sold our first house that we had built in the city. And you know, under her kind of guidance and mentorship, I was able to really service my my first two deals very well which being at that open house led to meeting a client and so on and so on and so on. So, you know, I think initially it was just gathering information and then building that new construction arena was was so strong for me, I mean, it it’s very different than than a resale transaction because with the resale transaction you can see feel and touch and you know, you can really go in and tell people what they need to do. And you know, well, staging wasn’t as big as it is now but you know, kind of learning from the very beginning truly from the ground up and you know, a new construction project can be two, two and a half years from from start to finish. So, you know, it really is a fun full time job in itself, but also being able to fill in, you know, fill in some of that with, with the, with the resale business with the buying and selling. I think if you’re asking more like what are what is kind of happened over the years, you know, so many different things from from then and, you know, as the market continued to grow and everything was just so great. And then all of a sudden it wasn’t. So I think one of the things that really kept all of us that that are, you know, that are still around, was sticking to the basics, you know, going back to two hard knocks, sales tactics, and I think I’ve heard you on some of the podcasts talking about writing letters and working your sphere and your contacts and stuff like that. And, you know, I think you you just always have to you always have to, to, to go back to that and go back to cash, I’m kind of losing my train of thought about it. But you know, it’s hard to go from, like, the very beginning to to now but I think, yeah, I think to get through the harder times and, you know, continue to be successful in the business. It’s, it’s taking the things that you learned and, and being able to really guide your client to making the right decision. You know, it’s it’s a huge decision. And it is such an emotional transit transaction. It’s the biggest thing that most your clients will do in their lifetime. And they’re entrusting you to such a such an important thing that, you know, I find it so important and valuable to be the best resource that I can for them.
D.J. Paris 11:46
Yeah, and what advice do you have for newer brokers aside? Obviously, you know, we talked about fundamentals and always coming back to the basics of you know, okay, working your sphere of influence, meeting new people staying in touch? What advice do you have for brokers who are newer, who really want to specialize? Because I know you specialize? Let’s talk a little bit about your special because we talked about it a little bit where you do both resale and and new construction or in development? Can you talk a little bit about what the breakdown is in your business? What percentage of the time? Are you working with developers or, or the public? Can you talk a little bit more about?
Karen Ranquist 12:24
Sure, sure. So you know, in the beginning, I was as we were growing the development business, it was probably close to 5050, as which gave me a great basis and starting ground for how the real real estate, you know, a seller or buyer transaction is going to work and how to really learn the ins and outs of that aspect of the business. But at the same time, as we were growing the new construction business, it kind of naturally progressed into kind of moving from the large company, I went to a company that only worked on new construction, I kind of brought our construction there, gathered as much information from my as I could from from that broker, he was so gracious and wonderful. And then it really kind of again, naturally progressed into just working on my own with our, you know, with our rank was prior to product, I would say that for a very long period of time, though, I think I was on my own for what, nine years almost. And I did almost all of our new construction business with my resale really starting mostly to be our past clients, and then some other small developers as well. So really a long period of time of 75 to almost 90% of new construction, and always trying to get in, you know, some some resale there. But the 2008 happened 2009 happened, everything slowed down. I was able to really draw upon the relationships and people that I had been working with and keeping in contact with and having a little more resale of business at that time to kind of sustain things and was also a time where I thought I could really use some more support and that was when I moved over to Berkshire Hathaway, which was about seven years ago. So kind of last year, your main question being the advice to a new broker and all those things you know, sticking to the basics I again I’ve heard you talk a lot about that the art of even writing a letter and being in touch with people and you know, making it your own you know, everybody can can be on social media and send out eblasts and mailers but I tried to really make it personal like I will scour the internet and gosh, you know, for instance, I had these great clients, they were such such great people and I sold two houses for them and they had this incredible home one of my favorite homes in Wicker Park and they had this like, you know, kind of like in the 70s where you had like a pit in a lower pit, but it was just it was so amazing I have a couple of it on my you know, pictures of it on my, my Instagram, but I, you know I’ll find on on like dwell or something on another site, I’ll see something else I’ll see something similar and just thinking of them and just sending them a text, you know, be it like midnight going, Gosh, I can’t help myself, this just makes me think of, you know, of your place and how much I liked your place or, you know, I have somebody that lived in a building that was 100 years ago, it was a bar and I found a picture of their house as a bar and I’m like, Oh my gosh, I have to send you this so so you know, constantly touching out to those clients that do you have, it’s such a intense relationship for such a period of time with these people. I mean, you you know, you really like miss them after the transaction is over. Because you really go through so much with with these people that you you know, you they become your friends, they become people that you think about and, you know, everything like like keeping up with the year that a year that goes by and then the next year that goes by and kind of you know, birthdays, birthdays, just everything you can do on a on a general level. But I really feel like if you can find those special things about those special clients and and and think, you know, you’re really I’m thinking of them if I see something on social media, I’m like, I’ve got to send this to them or just a random article, I’ll screenshot it and I you know, I hope they appreciate it and kind of get a kick out of it. And we can have a little laugh about a you know, funny story that happened in the transaction or something like you know, like, the place that used to be a bar or something really unique like that make it make it really personal to me is something that that is more my style. Kind of transitioning to the other part of your question about advice for a new agent, there’s so much technology and I I am I’m on board it is amazing it is what we can do and find and see for our clients and and how the the market is moving. It’s just just amazing. To start back literally when there were books they used to um that old where you’d like flip through them for the for you know, I mean it was it to what we have now and it is just truly just just incredible and
D.J. Paris 17:21
now it’s moved so much from you know in what Karen’s referencing is the MLS used to not of course be online and there were books and you would have to go typically you’d go to a real estate office and look through all the homes for sale and and that’s transitioned of course to the MLS being online but now it’s even sort of beyond just being because it’s crazy don’t even need you tend to see the MLS right like clients do not need brokers to get access to the MLS but
Karen Ranquist 17:48
they’re not you know they need to get access to the right information and ended up kind of you know us the the real estate agents I think you know, there’s there’s no secret to this business, any real estate agent that’s successful works nonstop anybody that there really is no secret we all have a different style we all have a different you know strength or a reason why we hook up with the people that we hook up with but but but but but there is no secret I mean it really it is all about hard work and you know it you know a client can find something on a site but is that the most current information is it is it you know, I have an amazing client that I’ve done a bunch of transactions with that I just I like her you know, she’s just so much fun and such a great person and I you know, really enjoyed meeting her as a client and just maintaining a friendship with her. She you know, she’s like and she has a lot of she’s in a big business and very well known and you know, has a lot of contacts and when she thought of this dear friend of hers, she’s like Karen you know everything there is to know about schools you have two kids you’ve been in the city forever you have to work with this friend of mine and I just was so touched that she you know in in having so many contacts and and people that she knows that she’s like you know not only knows that I would really really really take care of her friends so well but that I can offer this insight to being a mom in the city with two kids and how to navigate and being a working professional with the ins and outs of what it’s like to you know start with your kid and 18 months out you know I’ve been in the city my kids been in the city their entire life so so something like that to me it’s just you know, the referral basis is where the majority of my businesses and to have that past client refer me to this client it just it means so much to me as an agent and just reminds us that we you know we all have our strengths and things that we can bring to the to the transaction and to our clients and I think it’s really important just to focus on what what you know the best so you can be that best that best partner for your client and and you can’t find that online and and I don’t think you’ll ever be able no matter where the internet and social media goes there’s, there’s things we know about each city block and each park and each, you know, where you can have dogs and where you can’t and where you know how many steps it is. Anyone can tell you how many steps it is to the train, but we can tell you what I can tell you what restaurants and, and how far away the Starbucks is, or the stands doughnuts. And it’s just a service that I think makes makes us kind of kind of internet proof. And in that sense,
D.J. Paris 20:25
agreed. And I think it’s nice to know that clients can access a listings without a broker, because then it’s like, Okay, now what do they do with that information? And that’s where the broker gets to come in and really shine to say, okay, true. These are, you know, it’s not under lock and key anymore to see the the database of available listings. But here’s what to do with that information. I’m here to guide you through every step of it. And I think that’s, that’s particularly useful, I’ll share this just happened in over the Thanksgiving holiday last week. So my parents are they have a home in North Myrtle Beach and they’re trying to it’s a condo, they’re trying to sell it and they’ve been trying to sell it forever. And it’s, it’s, they’ve gone through a number of Realtors, my parents are very easy clients. But for whatever reason, it’s just the markets, not very strong out there and whatever. But my dad was saying, because I was curious. And I said, Oh, who’s your realtor now? Because they’ve gone through several of them over the over the years. And, and, and he said, Oh, it’s so and so. And I don’t remember the name. But he’s I said, Oh, do you like him? Is he doing a good job. And he’s, he said, he goes, I’ll tell you the one thing. And over the years out there, my parents have used like five different realtors. And he said, The reason I like this guy, everyone is basically telling him, Okay, here’s the right price. And that’s all pretty universal with the brokers he’s worked with out there. But he said, what this guy does is whenever there’s a showing, because my parents aren’t, aren’t there, they don’t live there. So it’s this remote sort of situation. He he, the broker, the listing agent, this, this gentleman will make a really big deal to contact and continually hound, the broker representing the buyer after the showing just to get feedback. And we all know that m read, the system sort of sends that automatically a lot of times brokers don’t fill it out. And you know, it’s that information is kind of oftentimes by the wayside. But this broker makes it a point to really like keep calling and saying what’s your client think we want feedback to, to make improvements and changes. And then he relays all of that information to my dad. And I mean, it’s a simple thing that more brokers probably ought to do, but my dad thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. Because he goes, nobody ever did that. Nobody ever told me, here’s the feedback we got, we’re getting. And it’s always little cosmetic things like oh, we, you know, we noticed the paint was a little chipped in this one room. And my dad’s like, this is great, because I didn’t have this information, you notice,
Karen Ranquist 22:49
and I’ll try to be very honest with this with with show, you know, when I’m representing the buyer, because I would want you know, I appreciate that as well when I can get, you know, if I have three realtors say, you know, Karen, we, my client loves the house, but it just, it’s just priced too aggressively or, you know, it’s too open or it’s too this or it’s too, you know, it’s it’s very, it’s very important to me, I think to get we you know, we don’t have a crystal ball we can we can go through CMAs and work on past sales. And, you know, the market is, especially in today’s market, it’s so ever changing, it’s so it’s so unpredictable on some, in some senses that to get feedback, actual feedback from your, you know, your colleagues is so important. And you know, it kind of leads to the relationship we have with our colleagues and how how vital it is to me. And again, I’m also thinking of like, what advice to give to a new agent, you know, this relationship of kind of aligning yourself with other successful brokers, and what do they do in their practice that makes them successful? And, you know, what can what can we learn from from them that we’re not doing and what can we offer them as as as advice because we don’t, you know, we all don’t know everything, and each person can offer some insight that that maybe we didn’t think about or we might have overlooked or whatnot. So, you know, I feel like I have, you know, just for instance, like I so respect and admire to women, you know, they’re just your friends and for many, many years, you know, Ivana accouterment COVID and Sophia Copus. And I, you know, if I’m having a really hard time with something just to have the ability to say, you know, what, do you guys think of this price? Or what do you think of that and, and hopefully being able to reciprocate a little bit to them, and really just say, Hey, how is this working for you? I’m trying this new thing on a website and have you had success with that or, or whatnot. And I think too, you know, even with this podcast, I think it’s so great because we don’t know I mean, there’s there’s some things work better for others and some things just aren’t as successful and to hear what other you know, agents that that you respect and admire their business to be able to have them share that with you, it’s just so important and means so much to me to be able to have, you know, the relationship with with our colleagues. I mean, because that nobody in real estate knows how, how many hats we wear, and how crazy this business gets and how many different things we have to do for our clients except other realtors. So to approach a transaction, you know, not adversarially but but but but with it. Of course, it’s such a weird relationship because we represent the sellers and buyers, we’re on opposite ends, we may be at opposite even if we’re in the same company, it’s it’s, it’s such a weird variety of relationships and different, you know, lawyer personality and inspectors and no situation is the same. But, you know, if you can kind of go in with, you know, a feeling, you know, I know this agent and I know how they are going to do the best they can and, and work, you know, have that camaraderie and assurance that the agent’s going to be a professional as well. It just makes everything else so much more pleasant, because we know, in any transaction, something crazy is going to happen. And, you know, to try to remain calm and supportive. And, and and, you know, just to get along is is crucial, I think to these transactions that are never easy. They’re never easy. Well, let’s
D.J. Paris 26:20
Yeah, let’s talk about some ways people can get involved with the community because obviously, not everyone works at a large firm. And not everyone works at a firm where there’s a lot of collaboration or over
Karen Ranquist 26:33
the course, of course, I worked on my own for nine years. And I struggled I needed that, that that camaraderie I needed that and I think you’re, I have a feeling you’re gonna lead into something like WC er, or one of these other great networking organizations that that can provide that.
D.J. Paris 26:50
Yeah, to talk about some of the organizations that you’ve been a member of, and in the benefits you’ve received, like, for example, Women’s Council of Realtors, yeah, you
Karen Ranquist 26:57
know, especially when I worked on my own it was it’s, it’s a hard it’s a hard it’s hard to not have, you know, I just I love being at Berkshire and you don’t let me check with my managing broker. It’s just such a, it’s such a wonderful thing to, to have that I didn’t for all that time. And, you know, I really craved being with other agents and getting their knowledge and support and the networking. So I did two things I did join W CR I gosh, I can’t even remember what led me there. It was years ago, because I started as a member for a little while and then I went into a different position. I think it was with membership because we were really starting to try to you know, turn things around and get get more members this is this is a while ago, and then I kind of moved that into to Vice President and just found that the networking the relationship with the other members and and of course the programming the programming was great the people that would come in and talk about what they did with their business and bring in a lender and current trends and staging and a million different topics but and and that they were hosted in different like, you know, development offices or different offices in different places throughout the city that was like, you’re getting so much in an hour and a half or something like that, you’re getting the networking and a training, and you’re and you’re getting to view a cell center. So it was it was a great experience to be a part of it. And it’s such an important counsel to have an outlet look for us as agents to be able to, you know, to talk to one another.
D.J. Paris 28:35
Yeah, there’s there’s a lot you know, there’s a number of these types of organizations Women’s Council of Realtors, which by the way, is like $100 a year, it’s the best $100 you’ll you’ll ever spend. I agree something like that. I don’t think it’s much more than that. And then you know, there’s the there’s the YPN, which is if you’re a car member are actually they have the YPN and all the different boards, whether your main street or car, Northshore, Barrington era, they all have the Young Professionals Network, and those are amazing as well. And you don’t have to be young, I’m certainly not young. I’m part of it. And but all of these places are was so funny, as before we started recording this, Karen and we were talking about some Karen was nice enough to have listened to some of the other episodes. And probably she listened to get it to get a sense of the show. But also she’s like those are some of her friends. And I suspect it’s not just because top producers all hang out together. I suspect there’s a little of that. But Karen’s just really, you’re really, really involved. And I think just as a nature, I bet you probably know 75% of the people we’ve interviewed for this show, and it’s not because there’s a special secret club of 1% producers, where you all hang out on the weekends. But you’re just you’ve been around for for several decades and you’re really involved in the community. You’ve also been on cars. You’ve been on boards at Chicago Association of Realtors,
Karen Ranquist 29:50
yeah, I worked with the Grievance Committee for a number of years and that was just such a great board and such dedicated people and it was a tough board. You know, I got it. I learned a lot lot on that, but it it, it was really a great learning experience and the people that were involved were, were really wonderful and people that I see out you know, he Do you have a special relationship with them, I’ll see them at a showing or at an event or somewhere and you’re, you know, you kind of have a special fondness for, for the time that you spent or serve together at on a board it is a it is a really, you know, it’s an important thing to do. And I think you get a lot out of it, as well as putting, you know the little what you put in, I think you certainly get get more out of it. And, you know, certainly a great place for new agents to start and, and meet other agents, it’s so it’s so nice and in your buyers, you know, like when I when I go to showings or when when Realtors come to a showing of mine and we have a relationship or a camaraderie and a general comfort with one another when we’re doing the showing it just the buyer feels feels feel sad and can say like, if some you know, the biggest compliment is if I come with a with a buyer to a showing, and the agent says you are in great hands with Karen. I mean, it just that means so much to me that that, uh, you know, another real estate professional can can say with with, you know, hopefully sincerity in front of my client that, you know, she’s gonna take care of you and and, and I, you know, I feel the same when when I have people come to my listings, and it’s just that I’ve had a positive relationship or transaction or interaction with that agent. And, you know, it really is all about the relationship. And that’s what this business is, I mean, you know, you can have people that are in jobs, where they’re negotiating all sorts of money and all sorts of different deals and, and so many different things. And, and, and it it’s a different, it’s a different transaction, I mean, what you do in in, in other negotiations just isn’t going to kind of be the same as what you’re going to do when you’re buying and selling your own piece of property. There is absolutely an emotional component to it.
D.J. Paris 32:04
Yeah, and the other thing, too, is, and I always like to make this point about, you know, fine getting involved with the community and and really learning from realtors, obviously the show is is about talking to two top producers and asking them what they do. But I just want to make the point to the audience that I mean, aside from character who I met, I think I met you prior to this podcast even happening, I don’t think the podcast was even existed, which was you know, it’s only been around several months now. But but but when I met you is just very, very briefly, but aside from that, I think maybe only one of the other people we have about 30 episodes, one of the other people I knew the rest we just reached out to and said, Hey, would you like to be on the show? And would you be kind enough to share some time to talk about how you became successful. So if you you know, if you’re a broker out there who isn’t connected as deeply into the community, and you maybe you don’t have as supportive of an environment where your office or it’s not a big network? You know, the reason why I’m able to talk to someone like Karen, is we reached out to Karen and said, Would you be happy to? Would you be grateful enough to or we’re very grateful. But would you be generous enough to devote a few minutes to talking to the public and she cared? Obviously, it’s extraordinarily kind to do. So but so is everyone else that we’ve interviewed. And these are just people we reached out of the blue. So I just want to make a point that if you’re a broker out there, you’re like, Well, I don’t know anybody in the industry, get involved go to the Women’s Council of Realtors, even if you’re a man go to the Women’s Council. Yeah,
Karen Ranquist 33:28
it’s definitely yes, definitely, that’s a good place to
D.J. Paris 33:32
go to the YPN events reach out to these top producers. And not all of them will have time for you. But some of them will. And you’ll be absolutely surprised and shocked at how few how few times do these top producers even get asked for advice or help it is they’re they’re very busy with their own business, but they don’t get as many requests. I don’t know if Karen, you may be the exception to that. But I don’t know how often people come up and say I’m brand new, you know, would you get to give me a few minutes of advice. I’m obviously you’re doing that here on the show, but it’s um, it’s surprisingly easy. People are very kind.
Karen Ranquist 34:08
Yeah, and they are I mean, people people are I mean, there are I think that, you know, you go through so much as an agent and you you know, you go through so much as an agent and you you just if certain parts of transactions, you can just kind of go oh, well at least, you know, I know that aid, you know, this agents going to do the best that they can and that’s really all you know, it’s really all you can do. But just to have that that relationship really makes the you know, it really makes the transaction much more much much smoother, much more enjoyable and honestly at times more tolerable because sometimes things can get pretty tricky when we when we do this this business this business is is it’s tough business and it’s it’s good to have to have allies and you know, kind of going back to having, you know, colleagues that you can, can can lean on and count on for support and, and, you know, kind of going outside of your comfort zone and reaching out to other agents, like you said with these newer agents to, to, you know, approach a more experienced agent I did, when I started, I’ll never forget the people that helped me. I mean, even when I was navigating, you know, the most basic things and, and now, I mean, I, you know, I’m not the greatest on technology, and I gotta ask, you know, I have to ask people all the time for help, and it is really, it is important to, you know, to help each other out. And, you know, I think one other thing, too, you know, on the, on that new agent thing that, and we’ve talked a lot about, like, you know, how amazing the internet and technology and how much it’s changed from the very, very beginning. But, um, you know, it don’t forget, you know, not just going back to basics, but so much like, is on a text message or on a this or that, or, you know, we have to if we’re not going to meet face to face everyday, but there’s so much to be said, for just picking up the phone and talking to somebody because we all know that emails can be misconstrued. And God knows a text message is even less personal than that. And that we’re also busy, but just, you know, if we’re negotiating or finding out information, you know, just pick up the phone, let’s just talk about it. Because there’s so many more things that we can, you know, we can figure out together on the phone or in person than just a quick text back and forth. So it’s, it’s very, you know, it’s great to embrace technology, but we also can’t forget about what, you know, what, what, what really connects us. So, you know, that would kind of be my, my last piece of advice if we were talking about a new agent, and what you know, and what to do.
D.J. Paris 36:42
Yeah, I think I think you’re so right about that. And you talked at the beginning of when we were at the beginning of this conversation about really looking for those personalized connections, where are pits of information, where it’s like, oh, they had that they had that in ground tub, you know, that 70 style, sort of walk down into a bathtub. And I saw another picture of one so I’m going to send it out to my client or I know my clients, you know, their, their daughter is starting first grade and that’s probably a really stressful and hard time for you them to you know, see their daughter off to school or whatever, it might be anything personalized, where you can have that reason i i Always I’m going to I’m eventually going to have a podcast episode called nobody wants to read your newsletter. And it’s more than just a tongue in cheek but nobody wants to read your newsletter but what they do want not that you shouldn’t have one and that’s fine if you do but in addition to having a newsletter it’s like pick up the phone and call them and see how they’re doing and ask them about their lives and remember their birth
Karen Ranquist 37:48
year I mean there’s you can’t do that with with every client but there’s you know, there’s there’s clients that you will be in contact and then there’s there’s there’s different you know, different kinds of ways you can reach out to people on a broad sense to you know, tell people in a certain area that you have a new listing or to give statistics on a certain area that somebody would be interested in but but these people that have bought and sold with you and people that have referred you and people that you know that that are you know a source of business for you you you want to you know it’s fun, I mean you love it it’s a great way to connect with people and and you know, kind of think of a funny story that happened with you guys or you know, if you like to you know to work out and I’ve heard another one of your agents talk or one of the agents at talk talked about that and you know, it’s funny I going back when you and I were talking earlier I’m going to jump really far ahead and hopefully we can kind of go back a little bit more to kind of the nitty gritty with like the the marketing and other things that I just love and kind of fill in that like what might make me different as an agent but but um you know, one of the things as far as like, ways to touch out with those people that are important to you or source of referral or business or whatever I have after all these years I have been an independent realtor, I’ve had assistants I’ve worked with other agents as as as partners. But but as far as a team, I’ve really never established that and, and and boy after 20 years of you really just can’t do it all. I mean, you really can’t and to you know balance my kids and some sort of a social life and whatnot, it is you know, there is something to be said for for for bringing somebody on and you and I have a mutual friend in in in Sook who has joined my team with me. And you know, just last night we had an event for her, where she invited her her some of her closest people to kind of say, Hey, I’m in real estate now. And let’s make this fun. We had it at a gallery in the in the west loop, this amazing woman and I could give her information as well, that does jewelry design, and she was kind enough to open up her studio to us. And then we had another dear friend of souks, who is a makeup artist and hairstylist that did a presentation a small presentation for all of us on like, literally how to use the makeup that’s already in your bag. And it was just such a great fun night and such a great way to you know, get people together kind of say, hey, you know, Sook is taking this transition, she’s working with Karen, you know, I have this long history in the business, and couple it with some wine and some some food. And, and this, this just like, I learned so much about how to actually put on makeup, it was really, it was just a great night.
D.J. Paris 40:59
Yeah, those events are so wonderful. And I think, you know, are a lot of brokers, you don’t have to spend a fortune doing them either. times, a lot of times, you can, you know, you can reach out to partners like lenders or attorneys, or, you know, title companies who will actually help subsidize some of these events too. And so if you’re a new broker, and you maybe don’t have a huge budget to do client appreciation events, or you don’t know exactly how to set these up, like you have resources,
Karen Ranquist 41:30
really like use your friends. I mean, it was great for for her friend to be able to, you know, she wasn’t there to sell anything by any means, but the product was worse so and they kind of sold themselves. So same thing with the jewelry. I mean, one of the you know, women somebody bought this beautiful ring from the gallery and, and then, you know, I definitely bought some makeup last night. You know, I was definitely not her Stacy’s intention, she was really there just to kind of teach us a few tricks and how to make the stuff we already had in our purses, and in our bags, work more and it’s just, I mean, we were there were lots of questions and it was just a you know, a really small but but I’m just a great little way to kind of kick off the holidays and introduced, you know, Sook into A into this new, you know, endeavor for her with me. I
D.J. Paris 42:19
love it. Let’s talk a little bit about your team and some you know, and we’ll finish up with you know, tell us about how you’ve now you know, it’s not just you anymore, you now have you know, you now have a team I’m talking a little bit you talk a little bit about that and sort of, you know, what
Karen Ranquist 42:35
we’ve known each other you know, for for a second I’ve known each other for over you know, over 20 years and it really was through the business when I was at the small development company, she was there as well. And you know, we’ve just kept in touch and been friendly for years, but she brings years of styling and fashion and graphics to to to the table and a whole different database of people that we can hopefully you know, guide and help in their real estate transactions. So it’s really exciting for me like I have, you know, been doing so many things independently that have probably and I’m sure most likely limited. My ability to even grow further and faster. And you know, it’s so exciting that even in just such a short period of time, and getting all of our systems together and systems that I’ve kind of always had in place but never really really really organized and took advantage of to the to the full extent and you know taking all this information that I have and all these amazing you know architectural photographs of past projects and taking her creativity and graphic background to you know, really show people what we can do. I mean I’ve always been about real estate to me you know, it is a passion, the architecture and the design and I can appreciate all different kinds of styles and price points and whatnot but I I just want people to really like where they’re at you know, I want them to be really excited and you know, it’s always been like it’s not I’ve never really looked at at it as how do you say it like I don’t really look at it as just a home you know, it’s just like it’s like an extension of who the person is. And even if it’s somebody that doesn’t even realize it to you know kind of be able to get in there and and be out there with this this client and see them responding to a property and helping guide them to to what what ultimately ends up being their home and having that ability to kind of read between the lines and and help them get there is so you know is so important to me and you know on the app and on the sales and I do a lot of representation of sellers a lot of our past I mentioned our past buyers and I just love that I love getting into someone’s home and now having soup you know really helping me style a home you even you know even better than before and getting it ready for the, you know, for photos and kind of stealing a word from from Ivana, I kind of like having all these tools in my toolbox, and, you know, adding a new resource to to help us, you know, get our buyers and sellers in the best position they can be in is it’s really exciting. I mean, we’ve just, we’ve worked so hard these last few months, and I just can’t wait to see, you know, to see where we go from here. Yeah, I
D.J. Paris 45:28
think that one thing that comes through and really everything you’ve said, and this is a testament to you is that you care so deeply for your clients. And I think that it as a realtor, as a broker as our listeners who are mostly realtors, that your client should feel that way about you that they should feel that wow, my realtor cares about me and is connected and gets it and understands what I need, and takes really good care of me. And I think that really has come through and probably ever, I suspect your clients would all say that.
Karen Ranquist 46:04
Oh, I hope so. Because I really do, you know, I love that I am not good at paperwork, but I love being out in the field. And I love like, you know, helping people just find that place. It’s like fitting in the puzzle pieces and, and and, and then helping them come up with strategies and ideas for marketing their home. I mean, I you know, one of the things I love about where I’m at at Berkshire is I was afraid that after all the years of being on my own, and our marketing when I worked with the rate all of our rank was projects, our marketing and the style and the beautiful way we could present our product was so so very important to me. And I wanted to really be able to keep kind of a part of me, but get the support and encouragement from a full service brokerage, which I wish I certainly have. And, you know, I feel like just even our marketing team really gets, you know, gets me and can take these these great photos and, and things that we can bring from my resale business and my my new construction business and the marketing is, it’s so important to me to just make this person’s home as as as interested, you know, as cool and the marketing material that we put out just to really make it so unique and so specific to them, that you know, I’m just so happy that, that I have the tools that I can continue to do that, you know, to do that for my clients and really think outside the box, you know, I mean, just who are we marketing to and just just all sorts of ideas, just you know, like, who do you know, mailers and creative ideas to have a party at somebody’s house with with just this thing with Stacey with the makeup like, you know, I have a new construction house coming up and we’re gonna, you know, bring in a local restaurant, we’re gonna do a post drywall party and bring in like, have it be like a daytime thing and bring in all sorts of different you know, fun things that uh, you know, people can come by and walk through the house but, but just you know, have some pizza from the neighborhood pizza place and put in just just just do like, you know, tying in all these different things where it’s so much more than just having your listing on the MLS, it’s just having the creativity and the ability to always think about ways to get your, your clients home marketed and seen by by other eyes, I mean, having a database of tons and tons of realtors to send an E blast to in case they missed it on the MLS and, you know, using social media and using just all these, you know, creative outlets to get your client’s property seen by eyes that they may not, that may not have seen it otherwise, that that’s a really, really important part of, of what I hope I can do for my sellers. Yeah,
D.J. Paris 49:00
well, let’s talk about if there are any, any buyers, sellers, renters, or even developers who are interested in working with you and your team, what’s the best way they should reach out to you?
Karen Ranquist 49:12
Oh, they can call me on my cell phone at 77344763607734476360. Or they can touch out to me through you know, Karen rank was Realty Group on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, any way that’s easiest for them.
D.J. Paris 49:32
Well, Karen, thank you so much for your time. I think again, I hope that it’s I’m sure it’s obvious to everyone who listens, but your passion and the fact that you care so deeply for your clients. Which by the way, if you’ve been listening to this podcast, speaking to the listeners, you you’ll hear a lot of that almost everyone is so passionate and cares so deeply. And I suspect that’s not by accident. It probably makes for extraordinarily happy clients and Karen’s perfect example. She works almost exclusively by referral has built this really outstanding business over 20 years and is very well respected and liked. maybe more importantly, she’s well liked to the community. And she’s also really involved. So I think that’s really the recipe right there. It’s, if there is a recipe that might be that might be it. So thank you for sharing all of that with the listen.
Karen Ranquist 50:22
Oh, gosh, thank you so much for having me on. I really, really appreciate you guys thinking of me. Well,
D.J. Paris 50:28
you’re very welcome. And all right. Well, we’ll see you on the next episode. So thank you, Karen.
Karen Ranquist 50:33
Oh, great. Thanks again. Have a great weekend.