We’ve asked Kathie Hooper, a top performing Bean Group agent, a few questions about her extensive experience in the real estate sales business.
How long have you been in the real estate industry?:
What did you do before becoming an agent?:
Transportation planning/policy. I was fortunate after grad school to be able to be one of the initial planners of the MARTA subway system in Atlanta and then went on to be the Manager of Planning and Policy at the American Public Transit Association in Washington, D.C. I also had my own consulting practice when my kids were small for about 9 years prior to obtaining my real estate license.
Why did you choose a career in real estate?:
We moved to Maine and there were no mass transit systems for me to work on. I was bored with my small consulting projects so I went out and got my real estate license on a lark. It turned out to be a great decision for me and a great second career.
What is your favorite thing about the industry?:
Working with experienced, professional agents on the other side, and working with clients who know that selling real estate is a team effort.
What attracted you to Bean Group?:
The Bean Group website and the focus on technology. Also, the support staff is awesome.
What areas do you service, and how do you know the region?:
The Greater Portland region with a focus on Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth, and Gorham, but I will generally go anywhere within an hour of Portland (if you are nice).
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?:
My three children and my wonderful and supportive husband. Family is everything to me.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies and/or what do you do for fun?:
I love to garden, golf, remodel houses, and decorate. I also have a lifelong love of water and am at peace when I am at the beach or a lake.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen during your career in real estate?:
They are too numerous to count and some of them cannot be discussed publicly. I am saving these stories for my book when I retire.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the business?:
Managing my time and trying to balance work/home life. Over the years, I think I’ve finally figured it out.
What’s the latest strategy that you’ve added to your business?:
My daughter, Casey, is my licensed assistant and her expertise in marketing and administrative duties as well as staging many of our listings has helped tremendously. She has been in real estate for 5 years now so it’s not my latest strategy, but she’s my secret weapon!
How many hours a day do you work?:
Depends on the season, approximately 8-10 hours a day in the spring and summer markets, and weekends as well – as needed. I try to keep at least one day free during the busy season but I am not always successful, as I have a hard time saying “no”.
What’s a challenge that you’ve faced in real estate that you didn’t expect?:
Learning to turn down business that doesn’t seem right. When I was new, I chased every piece of business that came my way… even when my gut said “this client will be impossible to work with.” After dealing with a few “bad eggs”, I now go with my gut feelings.
Looking back, is there anything you could have done differently to attain success in real estate sooner?:
I was Rookie of the Year my first year in the business back in 1996 and sold a lot of houses that year. I was exhausted and quickly realized I had to have help to survive. I was a “lone ranger” and thought I could do it all by myself. Very few agents had assistants at that time, and teams were unheard of. Within 2 years, I hired my first assistant.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting out in real estate?:
Don’t try to do it part time and make sure you have the financial resources and family support to throw yourself into the business full throttle. Don’t count on your friends, neighbors, and sometimes even your relatives listing or buying with you. They know you are “green”. Do open houses for other agents and try to meet new people everywhere you go. Ask a more seasoned agent for help. If you are going after business, partner up with someone more senior. Half a listing is better than none and you will learn a lot. I have never made one cold call in my entire career and I am definitely not a “door knocker” type. Do whatever you are comfortable with and what works for you. If you aren’t comfortable, it will be apparent to potential clients. At this point in my career, nearly all of my business is repeat and referral – I just closed my 4th sale today with different members of the same family.