The beauty of becoming a real estate agent is that a wide variety of professions have transferable skills that aid in a successful real estate career. When Kathryn Festen was burnt out working for 30 years in banking as a branch manager, she was able to use her mortgage and client relations knowledge to her advantage as she made the shift into a real estate career over five years ago. “It was an easy transition,” Festen comments. Real estate was something she followed, and she jumped at the opportunity to move into a career where she operates as a solo agent, serving a broad radius of the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.
While Kathryn is still on the newer side of the business, she attributes at least 70% of her business to referrals, and is just now starting to see repeat clients come back looking for their next home. Festen keeps a strong line of communication open with past clients. “Oh my goodness,” she laughs, “they probably get sick of me!” Festen sends out a monthly newsletter, a bi-monthly magazine, and LoLo gifts to past clients in order to keep at the top of their minds. The LoLo gift is a great tool, as it is an emailed coupon for a local business — not only do her clients receive something useful, but Kathryn is able to highlight the services of a local business. Aside from reaching out to former clients, Festen markets her listings on multiple social media platforms, and contacts other real estate agents to make them aware of her properties. She will also drop postcards in the listing’s neighborhood to spread awareness of the property. Her tactics have proved successful, as her sales volume last year alone was $8.2 million, which is impressive as a solo agent.
“I’m sure you’ve heard other agents say this, too,” Kathryn states when asked about her favorite part of the job. “It’s one of the biggest financial decisions an individual is going to make, and to be a part of helping them make that decision… it’s a great feeling.” Community involvement is another way that Festen enjoys helping others. Not only has she gotten involved with Habitat for Humanity, but is highly involved in the Dundee Township Rotary Club. Kathryn is responsible for spearheading a scholarship program with the Rotary Club that has already provided over $1 million in scholarship funds for students.
Outside of her real estate business and busy community involvement schedule, Kathryn is an avid walker. She walks about 8.5 miles almost every day, using that time to decompress, as well as tend to her mental and physical health. She also enjoys reading in her spare time. Festen is a busy grandmother of six, who is very active in her family life. In the near future, she hopes to increase her volume of sales to over the $10 million mark, and wants to continue to focus on building her business by staying in contact with existing clients on a regular basis and reaching out to potential future clients.