Kate Waddell

Kate Waddell • Lifetime Client Relationships

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Do you stay in touch with your real estate clients after the sale? Kate Waddell does! Kate is not only in the top 1% of all Chicago brokers, she’s in the top .01% of all of Sotheby’s International Realty! In our discussion Kate talks about the value of relationships and how specifically she continues to reach out to her clients. This is part of the reason Real Estate Executive Magazine named her one of the the 100 Most Influential Agents in Chicago!

Kate Waddell can be reached at 773.517.2666 and kate@kateproperty.com.

Sothesbys International Realty


D.J. Paris 0:16
Hello and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real, the only podcast made by real estate agents for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris. I am your host. And we have a great show today with an interview with Kate Waddell. And by the way, have you ever listened to one of our episodes and thought, I wish TJ would have asked the guest about X, Y or Z? Well, here’s your opportunity to for me to ask those questions. So once a month, Carrie McCormack and I host an episode where she gives her state of the union what’s going on in real estate she she goes through the numbers about what’s actually happening in Chicago real estate, but also answers your question so she is a top top producer. So here’s how you send us your questions you can go to our website keeping it real pod.com all of our episodes are there there’s also a contact form you can submit your questions Carrie will answer them on the show or go to our Facebook page which is keeping it real pod and lastly, please keep telling other brokers about this show are growing at a fantastic rate thanks to you passing this along to other people in your office or at other firms brokers you know that you feel could benefit. Also if you have somebody you want us to interview you can drop us a line and let us know who that is and we will reach out all right on to our interview with Kate Waddell.

Today on the show, we have Kate Waddell, Kate has consistently been a top producer since her real estate career began in 2006. And I don’t want to gloss over these numbers. These are super, super impressive. She has been named a top 1% broker by Chicago Association of Realtors every year since 2009. She’s a senior vice president of sales for Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty and always in the top, not 1% but point zero 1% of all brokers in the company. In the summer of 2016, Kate was named as one of the 100 most influential agents in Chicago by real estate Executive Magazine K was a member of CRF marketing, which was the number one sales team in the city from 2006 until their transition to Jamison in 2008. She has also sold high end luxury and new construction condos for resident residential developer at the start of her career at Kate has been interviewed as an industry expert for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago agent magazine. She has appeared a number of times on television venues including NBC five with Marian Brooks and the talk purse. Oh, and so Kate is a Chicago neighborhood expert focusing in all of the major neighborhoods here in the city, as well as also the North Shore and western suburbs. Kate specializes in transitioning her clients into an out of the city. Her thirst for knowledge has made her extremely well versed in Chicagoland market. personal referrals continue to be Kate’s main source of business, and she takes her commitment to our clients seriously with a proven record for negotiation, and a drive to succeed. Kate has consistently sold her listings in under average market time netting her clients highest possible price. Kate listens to her buyers needs and wants and then finds them their dream home. All the while making the process straightforward and also fun. Kate is conscientious a team player and works aggressively on behalf of her clients always in the spirit of win win. Kate graduated with a master’s from University of Illinois. She began her career in elementary education teaching for five years. Kate is actively involved in supporting Lakeview Food Pantry as well as edge Alliance. Those are charities she is passionate about. Thank you, Kate, for being on the show.

Kate Waddell 3:50
I am thrilled to be here. Thank you so much for having me, DJ, I love what you guys are doing.

D.J. Paris 3:55
And you also had a radio show too in your past? Yes, yeah,

Kate Waddell 3:58
I was I was part of a radio show for five or six years. And we had a lot of fun. It was on Saturdays, we would just kind of jump on the air and talk about kind of what was going on in the market at the time. And that kind of went on through like 2009 through you know, 2015 or so. And, you know, we saw kind of the the lows lows of the market and as the market started to rebound, so it was very interesting. It was a good time.

D.J. Paris 4:28
That’s awesome. And you’ll have to rate me on my elocution and diction. But let’s turn off. Well, thank you. I’m not doing awesome, but I appreciate the feedback. No, thank you so much. And let’s talk about how you made a pretty radical shift from I’m guessing you’re a teacher and then have moved into real estate. Can you tell us about Yeah,

Kate Waddell 4:50
yeah, exactly. So I upon graduating from school, I was an elementary school teacher out in the western suburbs. For a few years, and I really enjoyed it, you know, my entire family has a background in education. And it’s such a great, great profession. But I always had this kind of nagging, nagging pole coming from the sales world. And I think that’s in part due to my father, he’s in sales. And I just always wanted to try it out. And so I had an opportunity to jump into a career in real estate. And I took it and, you know, can’t believe it’s been 10 years, but it has, and here I am, 10 years later, and I couldn’t be happier with that decision. It’s a perfect, perfect career for me. And I’m thrilled to be able to help help people kind of move in and out of homes.

D.J. Paris 5:45
Yeah, let’s talk about when you first started, those first few years are tend to be difficult for everybody, even top producers, or at least more difficult than the now and and so you came in and a few years in you, obviously, the the market really changed it collapsed. And and here you are still. So can you talk about how you sort of survived those times and even thrived into

Kate Waddell 6:09
apps? Absolutely. I appreciate that. Yeah, I came into real estate in 2006, still kind of teaching part, you know, doing real estate part time. So really, I started full time in real estate in 2007. And I was fortunate enough to have a contact who connected me with Chris sphere, who was at the time, the number one real estate broker in the city of Chicago, and I was fortunate enough to go work for him. And so from 2007, you know, for a couple of years, I worked for Chris fear. And I truly learned everything I know, through his team and through his coaching and I really kind of had to start from the bottom because, you know, came in in oh seven, and then the market crashed in oh eight. And I so I just never really knew a great market. I kind of came in right when things were going down. And so you always you always had to work extra hard. You had to think outside the box, you had to get creative guerilla marketing the whole thing. And, you know, it really has served me well. Because here I sit 10 years later, and people say to me, you know, Hey, Kate, what’s your secret? What, you know, what are you? What do you got going on? And I say, you know, there’s really no secret. It’s just hard work. You have to work hard, you have to do right by your client, you have to do what you say you’ll do. And all those things. Really, I learned through probably the worst market crash that Chicago has seen certainly or the country has seen, you know, in those, oh, 70809 years. So it worked out for the for the better truly.

D.J. Paris 7:44
Yeah, I guess if you can survive through the toughest downturn in the market, and in recent history, it’s everything else is is certainly easier to an extent. And I think, you know, you I know you put a huge focus on the relationships you build with your clients. And can you talk a little bit about maybe how you see that as an AI, oftentimes, brokers aren’t always able to sort of specifically say what they do differently than other brokers, because I know you’re, you’re hyper focused in your business. But can you talk a little bit about your process when you work with with clients?

Kate Waddell 8:21
Yeah, absolutely. You know, my, my philosophy has has always been that, you know, this is about the relationship for me. And so when I’m meeting with people, I’m talking about, you know, the fact that in a few years, I don’t want you to say, oh, yeah, we hired some gal to sell our condo on Southport, and we really haven’t talked to her since, you know, she did a great job. But you know, we haven’t talked to her since that’s just not how I operate. Right? So it’s, it’s crucial to me to develop a relationship with my clients, that that turns into a lifelong, you know, mutually beneficial relationship. So, you know, it’s just, it’s so important, you know, when someone is selling a home, when, when I’m, when I’m taking a listing, and somebody is selling a home, it’s an emotional situation for them, because often attached to that home, our you know, a lot of memories and, you know, home is where we’re, everyone’s lives are centered. And, you know, it’s where people, you know, spend most of their time and spend most of their time with their families. And so, you know, making sure that this isn’t about a sale, you know, it’s just not how I roll at all. So, you know, it’s about the relationship with the client, making sure they’re thrilled, making sure they’re very, very happy throughout the process. And so, you know, in five years, they say, oh, yeah, Kate, oh, we hung out with her. We had a, you know, a drink with her a couple of weeks ago, you know, that that’s more more my style. And, you know, it’s it’s mutually beneficial. Like I said, you know, I met some wonderful, wonderful Pete Pull through doing my business this way, it’s not, you know, just a transaction for me,

D.J. Paris 10:05
ya know, all of all of that is so important. And one of I’d like to drill down just a little bit in at the after the sale experience, because you’re obviously doing a great job with them, the transactions completed. And ultimately, you would like to continue that relationship for, you know, certain number of years down the road when they’re ready for another transaction. What do you do in the interim, you mentioned just, hey, I might go have a drink with my clients, are there other things you’re doing to stay in touch? Because I think it’s so easy to to go? Well, I sold them home two years ago, I’m not totally sure how to stay in touch, like, what can you talk about what you do?

Kate Waddell 10:41
Yeah, for sure. I think, you know, a lot of people will say, Oh, you know, I sold my clients into a home two years ago. So I should probably touch base with them in like, two more years, because people in Chicago move every three to five. And that, you know, to me, that’s kind of the opposite of of how it should, how it should go. I you know, I’m in touch with my clients all the time. You know, if if it’s their birthday, they’re getting a birthday card for me, wedding anniversary, you know, baby gifts, wedding gifts, you know, just important events in their lives, they’re going to hear from me. Because that’s how it should be when when you have something great going on in your life or something not so great, you know, that has gone on, you know, I want to reach out because I care about these people I’ve grown to know these people intimately through working with them. So closely being in a purchase or a sale. And so I want to, you know, just naturally want to reach out to them and say congratulations, or say, Hey, I’m sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time or whatever it may be. And so it’s not a, you know, it’s not a just, hey, you disappear, you know, a couple years later, and then you hear from me a couple years late, you know, it’s just, it’s constant contact and reaching out to people I do three or four times a year, I’ll invite people to come come to a workout with me at different workout venues throughout the city that’s really exciting and fun, and kind of just something different, you know, that we can do that if a broker in the Chicago community, Nick library was doing and I thought that was a great idea. So yeah, you know, just anything I can do to, to stay in front of my clients and make sure they know, I’m available. And I’m thinking about them because I am.

D.J. Paris 12:27
Yeah, no. And you can hear the passion in your, in your voice about how you know why that’s so important to you. And it was it’s really good timing. We’re talking about this because I just put another episode live today. And I gave a Marketing Tip of the Week, which which was writing handwritten notes. And we all know how important or how personal that can be. And I had offered a challenge to other brokers who might be listening to say, hey, take your top 100 clients or friends or whoever people closest to you. And try to write them a handwritten note every month for the next year, which is not easy to do. That’s a lot of work. And then I started thinking, well, what would stop somebody from doing that as aside from the time and the energy it takes is, what do I write each month? And in your case, you know, a lot of information about each of your clients, you’re able to say, Okay, well, that’s so and so’s birthday, or here’s somebody who might be struggling, maybe they’re going through a life transition, that’s hard. Or maybe their kids are now off to school for the first time and are coming home from school or graduation or, you know, some major milestone event in their life. I think if you’re doing a really good job for your clients, and clearly you are you have that information, and it gives you an opportunity to reach out. And also, instead of just saying oh, by the way, if you need to, you know, help buying or selling a home, I’m always here, you now have a real personalized reason. And the good news too, I think, for brokers that decide to put that sort of time and to really get to know their clients is it’s not a crowded field. There are not a ton of other brokers who are willing to put in that kind of work. And it’s, you know, it’s truly remarkable and, and you know, you are you really have done so incredibly well in your career. And you talk You’re welcome. I mean it’s it’s really impressive. Can you talk about you know, other other ways you think maybe you differentiate, you clearly see? Yes, come and go. What do you think you’re doing? Definitely.

Kate Waddell 14:20
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, it’s always so exciting. When there’s new brokers that are joining real estate, a gal by the name of Carissa wolfman joined my group about a year ago, she actually was a former teacher, she taught in Chicago Public Schools, upon her graduation from college and then decided that she wanted to jump into sales. So it’s so exciting to see people like that. And I’m always happy to meet with people and I do it often. Just to offer, you know, any amount of tips or advice or hey, here’s what’s working for me or, Hey, I’ve tried that and that necessarily hasn’t worked, etc. Um, So I, you know, I love to do that, and I love to see new people succeed. But you’re right in that, you know, there are people that kind of come in and out of this business. And I think, you know, part of that, I mean, I don’t, I don’t know everything, of course, but part of that might be, you know, this business is hard work, you know, it’s, it requires a lot of a lot of work and a lot of willingness to put yourself out there and really go above, above and beyond for your clients. So, you know, if you’re willing to do that, I think you can be very, very successful. One, one way in which I’ve, I’ve kind of done that is through a lot of self development. So, you know, my managing broker is a guy by the name of Jim Miller. And he also is a really good friend of mine. And he is incredible. I mean, he does the most amazing training through this other BS office in Chicago. And, and beyond. I mean, he goes, he goes all over. But the training that he offers to this other these agents, I have just taken so much advantage of, because it’s awesome. So, you know, taking taking as much self development as I possibly can, I think that’s definitely helped me up my game a little bit. You know, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve. I’m looking for feedback from my sellers, from my buyers. Hey, what, what did you love about our experience? What didn’t you love? What can I do better than next time? And really, I think, you know, a big a big piece that Jim Miller has taught me is, you know, the five people that you spend the most time with the five people you surround yourself with the most. That’s kind of the sum of who you technically be calm, right? Sure. So, you know, looking around and kind of deciding, who can I spend time with and who can I learn from, I’m always looking to learn, I mean, just being a former educator, I’m, I love to learn. It’s kind of innate in my body. And I, you know, I’m always looking for ways to improve. So who can I you know, who’s doing better than me? Who in the home in the market is crushing it? And what can I learn from it? I saw you interview Josh Weinberg, you know, a couple weeks ago, he’s one of my favorite people in Chicago. He’s incredible. He’s talented. What him and Tommy are doing, starting their new office. It’s just awesome. Right? So being able to learn from people. It’s huge. You know, I think I think it’s worthwhile.

D.J. Paris 17:35
Yeah, one of the speaking of Josh, one of the things that I really thought was a great idea was he starts every morning with his team, and they go around in a circle. And they have to say one thing they’re really grateful for in their lives could be any unbelievable. It’s such a simple, great idea. And I can’t imagine what that does to someone’s mindset, it’s a great way. And at the end of the day, they have a similar ritual where they sort of do that again. And then they’re also able to say, Okay, well, we’re gonna donate X amount per day, to charity. So they have genius, genius.

Kate Waddell 18:08
Leaders, they’re innovators, they’re doing, they’re doing huge things. And you’re right, it creates a mindset of how to go about your day. And that transcends to your client, right? Before, you know, before I meet with a client, I sit for a second and say, okay, you know, take a second, you know, whatever I’ve got going on, you know, whatever outside noise is going on, just put it to the side, because right now, the person I’m about to sit down with is the most important thing, right? So and you carry that mindset into that next meeting. So it’s huge, so especially when we’ve got all this stuff going on, you know, between Puerto Rico and Mexico, and Vegas, and Texas and Florida, I mean, there’s just so much devastation, so trying to keep a positive mindset, and focus on your clients happiness, kind of keeping that at the forefront of my mind is, is important.

D.J. Paris 18:59
100% agree, if there was one tip, you would give a brand new broker who just got their license, and is, you know, eager to get started, what would be your sort of number one tip on what to actually do day one?

Kate Waddell 19:13
You know, I think, you know, again, I’m gonna pull from my thought leader, Jim Miller, but creating a database. So you’ve got to create a database and you’ve got to start working that database from day one. So think of everybody you know, that you know, is important in your life or that could potentially be making a move, be it you know, when you’re starting out, you might do some rentals here and there. So be it be it wanting to rent or or eventually buy or sell at some point, but getting them into a database and working that database and that’s, you know, the birthday cards in the in the touch points in the inviting the, you know, workout with you or whatever, you know, whatever it may be just letting them know you’re thinking of them at all times and that it has to be authentic, right. It can’t be It can’t be nonsense. But creating a database, I think is, is really, really important.

D.J. Paris 20:07
Yeah, and a lot of times for new brokers that that is so, so true. And a lot of times people say, Well, what do I do with my database? And my thought is you if you can write everyone a handwritten note, because I’m a big fan of this, but it’s some somehow communicate to every person, every person that you just got your license, and you’re excited to either work with them or anyone they know. Brian Buffini, who I’m sure you’re familiar with the Oh, yes, yeah, he’s kind of great expression that because a lot of times people get their license, they build their contact list, and they go, I don’t, I don’t really want to, you know, pitch my friends and family. And in what he says is, your contact list is not your client list necessarily. These oftentimes, and when you’re first start, you don’t have a client list anyway. But these contacts, these are the people most wanting you to succeed. So maybe they become, they become your advocates, right? So these are the people that you say, hey, look, if you ever need help, I’m here to help you. But tell everybody, you know, and they’re the ones most likely to do that. And so I think that’s great, as I’m shocking how many people? And again, I don’t blame them, I think it’s they’re not taught this in any of you know, their licensing courses, for sure. Right. Right. They’re not taught Oh, my gosh, for the first few years, there’s a lot of just outreach that I have to do and putting

Kate Waddell 21:18
yourself out there and yeah, you know, not hiding that you’re a real estate broker, you know, you have to tell like, sing it from the rooftops? Absolutely. Yeah. It’s, it’s daunting, you know, it can be intimidating, because you think I have no experience, how am I supposed to, you know, so I think it for somebody brand new, it’s important to align yourself with an expert in your office that absolutely kind of mentor you. And, you know, I have a mentor to this day, no question. I have so much to learn.

D.J. Paris 21:43
Let’s, let’s not let’s let me just read, I don’t want to gloss over that. So you are a top 1% broker in Chicago, in the industry. And in your own company, you’re at a top zero, you know, one on a 100th of 1%. You are literally at the top of the top. And today you have a mentor, I think that’s so important.

Kate Waddell 22:02
Yeah. Because I’m never, you know, I don’t want to stop learning. And I think I have a lot to learn, you know, and I have a lot I can improve on. And that’s why, you know, I asked for feedback on every single deal I do about probably 7075 deals a year. And on every deal. I asked my client, just tell me how it went, tell me, you know, did you did you have a good experience, be it in person, you know, at the closing or on an email follow up later. But it’s important to improve? Right? And there’s no question I can get better at this. There’s no question that I can keep improving. So I you know, I definitely have a mentor. And that person is very, very important to me, and so helpful. In upping my game, as I say,

D.J. Paris 22:48
Well, I think you have said it all. And that is a great a great place to, to, to exit out here. Because I think that that you what you’ve said is so valuable to new brokers and even not people who are not necessarily even new, but you know, like yourself, you still you still have a mentor, you’re still getting feedback. And even if brokers just added a feedback loop into their process is that you would learn so much from the stuff you’re afraid to hear. It would help you immensely. There’s so much that we don’t know that we do that oftentimes our clients can clue us in and say well, maybe you know there’s something you can work on. And it really just makes us a better so but I also want to make sure people know if there’s any buyers or sellers out there that are interested in working with Kate how they find you. By the way, Kate’s website is Kate which is with a K Kate property.com. And Kate

Kate Waddell 23:41
Yeah, and you can reach me anytime on my cell phone which is 773-517-2666 or email is Kate at Kate property.com

D.J. Paris 23:53
Awesome. Well, thank you, Kate, so much for your time. You are incredibly busy. We appreciate you taking a few moments to speak to the listeners.

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