New Beginnings, New Opportunites for Karen Houghton!

By: Karen Houghton

New Beginnings, New Opportunites for Karen Houghton!

Tags: New Beginning, New Challenge, MY Journey into Real Estate 

 

 

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do”
Steve Jobs- Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Apple Inc.
 
What a difference a year makes... and what a great year it has been.  It was this time last fall when I found myself sitting around the bonfire at our cottage on Sturgeon Lake[1] with my amazing husband Kirk and our boys Kaelen and Oliver.  One of
the things I like most about autumn is that it gets cool enough to enjoy a daytime bonfire[2]. It was at this moment Kirk said to me something that he and other family and friends have asked me time and time again. You really need to get into real estate.  What is holding you back from doing this?
 
The Back Story[3]
To begin...it is probably worth noting I come from a real estate family.  My Dad, Ted Houghton  got his license in 1984 and just recently hung up his hat to spend more time with Mom doing fun activities at Wilmot Creek and abroad.  Dad is after all 76 years young, not a shabby age to retire.  During the great run of the 1980’s my Mom, Dianne got her licence and joined him at Re/Max.  They made quite the team, however the late 80’s arrived[4] and my Mom decided to go back to doing what she previously did.  Fortunately for us, my Dad weathered the late 80’s real estate storm which also gave me the opportunity to see firsthand this business isn’t all champagne and roses.
 
Now back to me and the bonfire where this adventure first got some traction.  My career....actually, my whole life up until this point had been spent in the financial services sector.[5] I was employed for many years with a financial services company. I then joined a performance improvement company as VP Relationship Management.  The company specialized in training solutions for you guessed it...financial service companies.  I loved working for a smaller company and this role helped me build the relationship skills I have and are known for today. 
 
[1] Some of the best decisions can be made at the cottage in particular around the bonfire.
[2] Bonfires with family and friends at Thanksgiving are truly the best.
[3] Trust me it is worth the read!
[4] The housing market crashed and mortgage rates went through the roof.
[5] I decided to go to the bank where I had my first account in Whitby, filled out the application and spoke to the Manager.   They hired me when I was 17...literally my whole life! I don’t think banks hire people that young anymore.
 
 
Not only did I have to build a pipeline of relationships with Managers and Executives from these gigantic companies[6], once I did get their attention I quickly needed to earn the right to articulate what I could do to help them solve their problems and improve performance. 
 
In this role I got to handle all aspects of the relationship, beginning with the initial assessment, putting together a recommendation, presenting the proposal, negotiating the contract and end to end oversight for all deliverables. [7] All of these functions made this role interesting and unique.  It also made me appreciate the value of asking GOOD questions, truly listening and building lasting relationships.  
 
Fast forward to 2008… like the real estate bubble in the late 80’s there was a financial crisis that reared its ugly head. I learnt a lot from working in consultative sales in the financial services sector during this period and decided to start my own business in 2012 offering performance consulting solutions to...you guessed it financial services companies.  I enjoyed running my own business and the varied projects which worked into a full time role with the last financial services company I consulted with.  It really has been a great role. I have the opportunity to make a considerable impact to the organization, work with wonderful people and I truly enjoy what I do.  Despite how great all this sounds I decided to still take the plunge to pursue my greatest passion and interest real estate.   
 
It had been a little while since I was in school and I have to tell you I LOVED the real estate program.  I logged a lot of study hours traveling back and forth on the GO train from Whitby to downtown Toronto and my friends and family at the cottage can vouch they saw me spending many an hour on the dock preparing for the next exam. I set a goal for myself to be done all courses by my birthday in July.  I achieved my goal ahead of schedule!  I sure did have something special to celebrate this year in addition to becoming another year older.[8] I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to be done and for the practical learning to have begun!  Big shout out to my family, namely Kirk and my inner circle who knew I was pursing this passion of mine and who provided great support and encouragement through it all!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
 
While I was quietly taking the real estate courses I was also doing a lot of research on different real estate companies, trying to determine the best path for me.  Do I go out on my own? Do I join a team? What company best aligned to my goals and aspirations knowing the failure rate of new real estate agents is upwards to 80%[9]  I needed to make my decision wisely.  I knew I wanted to align myself with a quality brand and was driven by wanting to shorten my learning curve.  Finding the perfect partner, team and company ended up being a very clear decision for me.
 
I am THRILLED to be part of the Re/Max Hallmark First family and Living Durham team.  I could not ask for a better partner and mentor then Jeff Montaigue.  Jeff and I are both Whitby kids, went to the same high school, have similar circles of friends and just happened to become cottage neighbours in the beautiful Kawartha Lakes a few years ago.  Jeff was one of the first people I reached out to get advice about the real estate industry prior to signing up for the first course. We were already friends and I valued his opinion and perspective.  I knew Jeff was a very successful agent with the majority of his business derived from word of mouth recommendations and repeat past clients.  Having been in the business for over 17 years Jeff has a wealth of experience and is a fantastic negotiator on behalf of his clients, I have seen it first hand and this is a key skill set that sets the competition apart.  
Jeff’s relationship approach to business very much aligns to how I want to develop and grow my business and we see each other bringing unique attributes and skills to the partnership.  This will only make us stronger and deliver more value to our clients.  Jeff has been and will continue to invaluable in building my knowledge and expertise in this industry.  Several months ago Jeff and I agreed to partner together and have been planning this new venture together ever since. 
 
If you have made it this far…thank you for sticking with me[10]. A key goal of mine over the coming months is to continue to nourish the relationships I have  made through my business and personal networks and to make new meaningful connections through listening, engaging, providing valuable content, insights and information that will motivate you to keep reading and watching.  When your work fits who you are so well, you stand out as being uniquely capable. This is my long term plan and what a journey it will be!  
 
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

 
[6] Who have professional “gatekeepers” to keep sales people away. I get it.   Some sales people you don’t want to engage with.
[7] Amazing skills to learn that transfer amazing into the residential Real Estate market. 
[8] The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. - Madeleine L’Engle
[9] This statistic is just awful and I definitely want to be in the other 20%.
[10] Seriously…this blog was a long one.  Thanks for sticking with me.  I promise future blogs will provide valuable content and insights.