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Meet Kourtney Murray of Kourtney Murray Real Estate

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kourtney Murray.

Kourtney, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I jumped into real estate head-first after college. In order to be successful in any industry, I strongly believe it is important to fully understand the fundamentals of the field. To this end, I began my career in real estate at a small boutique brokerage in the Ukrainian Village as an administrative assistant. From there, I worked my way up to becoming their Marketing Manager and later their Content Manager, overseeing and implementing marketing strategies for over forty Brokers and their listings as well as creating and designing the company website.

During my time as the Content Manager, I was diagnosed with Lupus the day after running the Chicago Marathon (boy, did that really put life into perspective). It was then that I had my “lightbulb” moment and knew that it was my time to grow my own business and become a full-time real estate broker.

When looking to start out on my own, I immediately gravitated towards @properties. The youthful, trendy environment really allowed me to flourish into an agent I wanted to be while also being around people who would help me grow. Technology and social media is also a huge component of my business, so having the caliber of marketing and recognized presence of @properties was a no brainer.

I obviously can’t forget to mention my husband and best friend, Jim. That wonderful man has stuck by my side and been my biggest supporter regardless of every odd being against us. Instead of running away when times get tough, he was the one showing me who I could be in this industry. Without him, there is no story.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Getting started in the Chicago Real Estate market is challenging enough given how over-saturated it is. Getting started after recently being diagnosed with an incurable, chronic illness is borderline crazy, but I’m glad I did it.

As one often does during trying times, I did a lot of soul searching. I ended up throwing myself into my business, because I believe when you find yourself in a tough situation, you have to force yourself to succeed. Failure is not an option in hard times.

There was a 4-5 month period when my husband and I had to live with my folks in Hawthorn Woods due to severe rain damage in our condo. It was the summertime (peak real estate season), and I was driving over 100 miles every single day and working countless hours. Some nights I was stopping at my clients’ homes at 9pm to pick up checks, and other nights I was driving newly relocated Chicagoans around the city so they’d be more acquainted with their new surroundings. I was doing anything and everything to ensure my clients’ happiness and then some.

The more clients I helped the more I was able to find myself and grow my business into what it is today. It’s made me into an incredible human being that I did not know I was capable of becoming…

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’m really a jack of all trades–I’ve worked with everything from $1,000 rentals to selling entire developments. Last year, I teamed up with the Delrahim Group and sold over $9 million in real estate doing mostly residential and some commercial transactions while also ranking in the Top 10% of Agents in Chicago.

I’m known for educating my clients. Growing up, no one taught us how to really “adult,” especially when it came housing, so I love being able to bridge that gap. To that end, I am currently running a seminar called Sip & Learn: Home Buying Edition for first-time homebuyers. We hang out at a cool space, offer beer and pizza and educate first-timers on all of the ins and outs of buying a home or condo…all for free!

In the fall, I’ll start conducting similar seminars at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (sans adult beverages) on renting in Chicago for the first time.

To add, I’ve also been teaming up with one of my colleagues, Graham Allen, to create YouTube videos on Chicago’s real estate market, and debuting this fall, I’ll begin a YouTube series called Sip & Learn, where I’ll focus on educating clients on other aspects of real estate. The more you know, right?

What were you like growing up?
I don’t think who I was growing up is nearly as important as where I came from. My dad is the definition of the American Dream. My father immigrated to the US from India when he was 18 and went from making fries at Burger King to now being an internationally awarded Senior Vice President of Risk Management at a Fortune 500 company. My mom, the cutest little southern belle, left her small town in Missouri, packed up her car, and moved Chicago to find her dreams. Clearly, both are go getters.

I was an only child to two very strong and determined people, so failure was never an option for me. Growing up the motto in our home was “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” a phrase that has carried me into my adult life.

With the cards I’ve been dealt, I can’t say I’m anything like the little girl who grew up on Windsor Place. I was very quiet, reserved and shy, but with my father’s drive and my mother’s charm, I’ve become a force to be reckoned with. These days, I’m an empowered woman who’s never met a stranger. The one thing that still holds true to my young self is I’m an absolutely terrible liar, which is great when your business is based on honesty.

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Image Credit:
VHT, skyline photo.

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