Show Notes

On today’s episode, host Dan Lesniak speaks with Karen Hall, Principal Broker with @Home DC Metro. Listen to Karen talk about the unique needs of military families, how she found her niche, and the difference between marketing and branding. Dan and Karen also discuss the pandemic, and focusing on what you can control as a means to achieve success.

Episode Highlights: 

  • Karen’s husband was in the military, and when he left and they bought a house, they had a horrible experience that inspired Karen to sell homes herself and give clients a better experience than she had.
  • She started her own brokerage called @Home Real Estate in Alexandria, VA.
  • They have about 12 agents right now and do all their marketing and “help-desking” for them.
  • Because of her family’s military background, she has been able to market herself as a military relocation specialist and work with a lot of military families.
  • Focus on who you authentically are as an agent.
  • Initially, before Karen knew a lot about marketing and before social media was everywhere, she bought a bright yellow Hummer and put her business decals all over it and it got a lot of attention.
  • Karen has been surprised to find that a lot of younger agents don’t realize that marketing and branding are two different things.
  • Marketing is an activity you do, but branding is who you are, and it’s something the community decides.
  • Karen has brought back the cars as a branding tool.
  • You have to not only be diligent about maintaining relationships, but also about leveraging your sphere of influence to grow your customer base.
  • Working with military clients, you have to understand that their definition of home is completely different.
  • It’s important to know which lenders really understand VA loans; lots will say they work with VA loans but don’t really understand the nuances and the processes.
  • Everything, down to how many homes you look at in a day, is different with military clients.
  • During the pandemic, a VA loan with a military client is actually a more solid financial guarantee for lenders than a regular civilian job.
  • Last year, Karen did about $10 million in transactions, but this year she’s hit that number by August.
  • Karen attributes her success to investing in herself as a businessperson. 
  • Mindset is also important, and Karen has seen the pandemic as nothing but opportunity.
  • Now, farther into the experience of the pandemic, Karen is more fearful of the new normal, but focuses on controlling only what she can control.
  • Karen’s biggest piece of advice to a new agent is to set your sphere of influence strategically as your base. 
  • The biggest challenge for Karen has been that she’s always felt like the person in the room with all the answers, so she’s struggled to find someone who she looks up to as a mentor.
  • Karen’s biggest piece of advice for a real estate investor right now is to find off-market connections.
  • When she’s not working, she’s doing CrossFit or hanging out with her dogs.
  • In five years, Karen hopes to be helping grow other people’s success.
  • Karen works in Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland, and Washington DC, and specializes primarily on military families but can help anyone, and has a specialization in home renovations.

3 Key Points:

  1. Military relocation is an important real estate specialty that requires specific knowledge and relationships.
  2. Real estate is a business that’s all about relationships, so think about your sphere of influence strategically.
  3. Focus on controlling only the things you can control.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “Newer agents get in, and the number one mistake they make is trying to be a jack of all trades. They try to be everything to everyone.” –Karen Hall
  • “You start with something, and then you have to be consistent and diligent about the relationships of it.” –Karen Hall
  • “You may not be able to attend events right now, and conferences, but can certainly still invest in finding mentors and leaders and people that you look up to.” –Karen Hall
  • “When you feel like you’ve got a whole wall in front of you, just focus on one brick.” –Karen Hall

Resources Mentioned: