Kate Kelley

1. Tell me about why you chose to go into real estate and explain your process to getting to where you are now.

Growing up, my mom was a financial advisor and my dad was in construction. As a kid, I lived in the same town, but we moved through eight or nine houses. We would flip a house every three years and then move again. As I got older, my mom taught me financial literacy. I learned to value investments over savings.

Fast forward to age 21, I was working at a restaurant in Boulder, CO and I saved enough to buy a condo in Superior, CO. My whole buying experience was not ideal. I had a lot of questions and there were limited answers. I got tired of hearing “that is just the way it is.” So that was the final kick I needed before deciding to start real estate school. I did not want any other buyer to feel the same way that I did when I bought my first home. I am very passionate about educating my buyers.

I have had my license now for five years and I love the work I do.

I think there is a really exciting shift in the real estate industry right with younger agents. The real estate industry used to be like an old boy’s club. This old mindset is about beating the industry competition by puffing your chest and getting the client. But the younger agents don’t look at it that way. I don’t see other agents as my competition, I see them as my colleagues. If I have a listing, I expect them to bring me a qualified buyer and they expect the same from me. It is really exciting to see that the younger generation of real estate agents has this collaborative mindset.

2. 2020 Colorado Young Professional Network (CYPN) of the Year – congrats! Can you tell me about how your career brought you to this achievement?

I was shocked to receive the award. I did not even know I was nominated.

I think standing out in the industry is all about getting involved. I think right now with all the technology, everything evolves so quickly and agents can seem so robotic. People are craving authenticity during this time. The best way to show authenticity is to do things you are passionate about. I am always encouraging my colleagues to get involved, both inside and outside the industry, in what you are passionate about.

Tell me about your experience with volunteering? Why is it important to you? Why should it be important to all real estate professionals?

I love seniors, so I volunteer with Meals On Wheels as a driver. The best part is that I can sit down with these seniors and listen to their stories. There are a few positions you can volunteer in. I personally like being face-to-face with the seniors, so I go on a route and deliver around 15 meals. I volunteer at least 2 times a month but try to do one route each week. Not only do I get to give back, but these volunteer opportunities make me feel good.

I feel like if you have an opportunity in the community to do something good and you have the bandwidth for it, then it becomes your responsibility to give back. If you are able to make money and do well in this capitalist society, I think you have a responsibility to do good with the money you are making in your community.

3. Can you explain some of the leadership roles you have taken on since starting your career?

I joined Women’s Council of Realtors North Metro Denver in October of 2017. I quickly became the secretary of that club. I then moved on to becoming the membership director in 2019 and was pushed up into the president position halfway through the year.

In 2018 I was elected to the Boulder Area Realtor Association Board Of Directors. It was not something I even had on my radar. I was nominated by Lisa Wade and did not feel qualified. She mentioned that they needed more young people on the board. Now I am sitting at the table making decisions with people who I admire in the industry.

In 2020 I was with the National Woman’s Council of Realtors for their annual leadership program. I was one of 17 people from across the country who graduated from that program last year.

4. What are your goals/plans/directions for the future?

I want to find a work-life balance in the future. Right now, I am very grateful to be busy. I am so grateful to be able to work through a pandemic. It has just been a little crazy lately.

I also want to get involved in advocating for housing affordability in Colorado. This is such an expensive place to live and the term “affordable housing” has a stigma. We need to shift the conversation. Realtors will never be able to get the cost of lumber and labor down, but we can work with our elected officials to help streamline the application and approval process for affordable housing in local municipalities.

5. Since starting your career in real estate, what have you found most rewarding and most challenging about your career?

The most challenging part of my career was getting my business up and running and gaining my clients’ total trust. It was a challenge figuring who my client base was. A part of me being able to build that client list was by me living authentically and getting involved locally.

The most rewarding aspect of this career is getting people into their new homes. I have been able to help people build wealth through a real estate portfolio. I specifically remember talking to a husband and wife who grew up in unstable households because none of their parents had been homeowners. They both shared that they had changed schools every few years because their parents needed to find a new place to rent. So they bought a home so that they knew their kids would not have to switch schools. I loved being able to help these parents be able to provide a stable educational experience for their kids.

6. What is your advice for anyone just starting out in the industry?

Stick with it. It will happen if you stick with it and work hard.

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