Every week we share a story with you from someone who’s found their freedom with United Country. From buyers to sellers, from brokers to managers – everyone in the United Country family has a story. Today’s post is about Karen Richards, owner/broker of our office in Mountain Home, Ark.
In the spring of 1997, my husband, Curtis, and I sold our irrigation farm in Alberta, Canada and loaded up our two dogs and set out to see the world in an RV. Over the next few months, we traveled through 22 states. Several times, we drove through the Ozarks on our way to Kentucky, Louisiana or Mississippi.
It had always been our intention to return to Montana, which is where we met, and where our daughter was attending college in Great Falls. This would keep us in the U.S. but would still be close to family and friends in Canada.
Then, as we traveled through the Ozarks for the fourth time, Curt said, “What do you think about the Ozarks?”
I said I thought he was crazy! We would be 2,000 miles from anyone we knew.
But . . . long story short, we bought 100 acres with a house, even though we wanted 40 acres with no buildings!
After six months, I got tired of communing with nature, and my husband, who was a U.S. citizen, headed back to Canada for six months to take care of business – leaving me with 100 acres five miles from town, on a gravel road that ran through, not over, two creeks that you needed four-wheel drive to drive in and out of.
I had to do something and I had always loved land, so I went to real estate school. I hated school and sulked a bit, but I finally wrote and passed the licensing class, much to my amazement. I thought, “Great, now to get to work.”
I went to see the local broker we bought our land through and he agreed to take me on, put me in an office and let me sit. After a week of looking at houses in town, which to this day is NOT my forte, I received a letter from United Country in Yellville. They were looking for a new agent and had gotten my name off the commission’s new licensee list.
Of course, this list didn’t tell them that I was a dumb Canadian new to the country.
I set up an appointment to see the broker, Billy Baker. And bless his heart; he didn’t know what to think of me! Here I was, never sold any property except for our own and didn’t know a soul in the country, never mind the area. But he was so sweet, he didn’t know how to tell me no.
He said, “Come on in. Here is your desk, your phone and oh, by the way, here’s a stack of confidential [buyer leads from the home office] that nobody wants to work.”
So I worked them. Every day. For weeks. Mountains of them. Old ones. New Ones. Wal-Mart bags full of them. Other agents felt sorry for me and even gave me theirs.
In those days, we didn’t have them on computer; they were mailed out to the offices. Every day, Billy would mail bags full of letters – one to each and every name.
I made my first sale in six weeks. It was under $10,000. Within six months, though, I had closed over a million dollars.
Billy said he’d never had that happen before, so he signed me up for Associate Power. In the eight years I was with Billy, I was in the million dollar club every year. In 2004, I was 4th in the nation for listings. Not too bad for someone who didn’t know a soul!
This was all due to the United Country program providing the leads and tools, as well as an excellent broker who took a chance when, really, anybody could have told him it was a dumb thing to do.
In the summer of 2006 the United Country office in Mountain Home came up and all the planets seemed to be aligned, so I moved over here. [Today, Karen is the owner and broker of United Country – Three Rivers Realty in Mountain Home, Ark.]
I credit Billy Baker and United Country for giving me the opportunity to strike out on my own and learn the business of real estate. Great people make a great company!
If you’ve found your freedom with United Country, please send us your story to be featured in a future blog post!
We recently launched a new recreational real estate search engine with Ducks Unlimited, the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats.
Located on the Ducks