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Life and Work with Karen Ranquist

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Ranquist.

Karen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I received my MSW from Loyola University and was a school social worker for the Chicago Public Schools for 5 years prior to becoming a full-time realtor. Around that time, I started working on some new construction projects and found myself drawn to the energy and excitement of the real estate new construction industry. As time went on, I found I was doing more and more in real estate and new construction. We started our first project in the city and after that one was finished, it was a natural transition for me to move full-time into real estate – focusing on smaller modern boutique style new construction projects in West Town and Lincoln Park. I worked nonstop from that point on mostly working on our new construction buildings from 2000 to the present. The largest portion of my business and what I’m most known for in the industry has been in modern new construction single family homes and smaller boutique style architecturally- focused projects. Over the last few years though, my focus has shifted into a more diverse property type in the resale market. I have worked with first time buyers to seasoned luxury single family home buyers. I feel my years of construction background sets me apart from many realtors and can help guide my clients from a first time one – bedroom condo purchase, to a large luxury single family home

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The real estate market is not for the weak at heart! It is a fluid constantly changing and evolving market that is never easy or smooth but always challenging, rewarding stimulating and never boring! I have been a realtor for over 20 years and there have been countless ups and downs along the way. Starting out, I hit the ground running utilizing my sphere of influence – friends, family – anyone who wanted to talk about real estate and I worked the new construction market from the initial acquisition of a parcel to the closing of our new buyers and everything in between along the way I have learned so much and continue to learn every day. When I started my career three veteran woman realtors took me under their wings and each shared with me their successes, failures and years of advice. I hope that I have and continue to model their kind teachings as I work with and help new agents that come into the business. The bumps we have suffered along the road have made us more seasoned and better prepared to help our clients and make this daunting process less overwhelming and more successful. The real estate crash hit us all hard and being able to survive and thrive in today’s market took many years of rebuilding, refining, etc. You need to go back to the basics and be the best that you can be at your job. As we came out of the crash taking valuable lessons and implementing them into your practice is how we have been able to move and grow as an industry and survive the regular ups and downs as well as the trying crash and rebuilding times we have endured since 2008.

Please tell us about Karen Ranquist Realty Group Berkshire Hathaway Koenig Rubloff.
The largest portion of my business has been in modern new construction single family homes and smaller boutique style architecturally focused projects. Over the last few years my focus has started to shift into a more diverse property type in the resale market. I have worked with first time buyers to seasoned luxury single family home buyers. I feel my years of construction background sets me apart from many realtors and can help guide my clients from a first time one-bedroom condo purchase to a large luxury single family home.

In the last year, I have successfully closed 13 units at 1615 N Burling selling the vast majority of the units prior to even breaking ground. I was involved in this fantastic project from the initial conception and worked with the developers, architects, and buyers for almost 24 months to sell all the units through closing. I have been named a 2018 Most Influential Residential Real Estate Broker by Crain’s Custom Media, a 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Hall of Fame Member; a 2017 Chicago Association of Realtors Top 1% winner and a Berkshire Hathaway Platinum Award Winner for a number of years.

Also, after a 20-year career with a main emphasis on new construction I have been most excited about re-igniting my resale business and growing my sphere and farm moving into a much more active and successful resale business. this has been very rewarding and satisfying I have taken on a business partner and a new assistant to help grow my already established business. Knowing that you can’t do it all alone, even after all these years, has helped me realize it’s never too late to change your business model in order to become more successful and learn how to grow in new ways. This has helped to increase my overall volume but also better serves my clients to have more attention and direction and organization. Implementing new systems has been a huge factor in being able to take on more work and adding another person has already started to pay off in more business, more efficiency and better service to my new and existing clients. My diverse background and years of experience doing new construction and being architecturally-focused projects set me apart from many agents. Innately seeing things that others may not see and reading between the lines with my clients.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
I find that having a mentor outside my industry is very important. Someone that has had a strong career, is an entrepreneur and has contributed to the community. My colleagues are also great mentors and very accessible when I need advice. In our industry, it’s very important to have colleagues you can count on to bounce ideas and things like pricing strategies and all the many complicated things that go with a real estate transaction.

I continue to look to agency professionals and close colleagues for advise and support and that has helped get me through the ups and downs of our industry.

I also feel networking is an imperative part of our business. We need to communicate and go out and meet with other agents to remain current and know what is happening in the industry.

Sharing my successes with other agents is also very important and I value the same from the agents that can help me with ideas on how to improve my practice.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Chicago Home Photos, Marty Peters Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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