Tell us about yourself
I’ve lived in Chicago for 17 years, and I grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan, which is a place I lovingly refer to as “the Oak Park of Detroit.” I like ice cream and pizza, snuggling my dog, hanging out with other people’s babies and attending book club meetings without having read the book. I spend a lot of my social time going to see live music and hanging out with friends on porches, stoops and in back yards. I am a visual-person and a people-person and a cancer, so everything makes me cry, but usually in a good way. I am married to a drummer and we share our 1965 ranch in Logan Square with our adorable and crabby elderly chihuahua, Biscuit.
Like a true millennial, I’ll now list the people/tags I follow on instagram: #Ihavethisthingwithtiles (where people post pictures of amazing tile), #blackworkersubmission (for pictures of tattoos made only with black ink), @cheapoldhouses (for AMAZING historic homes for sale all over the country), @onetailatatime (because dream-me has about 15 dogs), @smittenkitchen (the OG food blogger), #minimalistwardrobe (because capsule wardrobes changed my life), @vintagebathroomlove (because tile + houses + historic design),
Why did you decide to become a real estate broker
As a kid I really loved dragging my dad to open houses, seeing how our neighbors lived and imagining what it would be like to live in a different house. As I grew up and started thinking about what kind of work I wanted to do, it actually never occurred to me to go into real estate as a broker. I was working in a corporate job and realized that I wanted to do work that would allow me to have a flexible schedule, would be different every day, would indulge my love of design and architecture and would encourage me to participate in my wider community. I also really love working with clients and seeing my impact more directly than in a more corporate setting.
What is it about real estate that you are drawn to:
I have always been very curious about and sensitive to environments and spaces that hold people and their stuff. I love exploring different ways of living and supporting said environments and activities in my capacity to do so. Also, I really like that while it is sales, it isn’t as transactional as past sales jobs I’ve had. Each sale is based on a more long term relationship built on trust and respect. Each collaboration is more like a celebration of reaching a shared goal of a solid financial situation and a home that suits each client individually. Aside from my interest in houses and the day to day of the job, I also find the housing market and the socioeconomic forces that drive it to be fascinating.
Favorite thing about being a Broker
My favorite thing about being a broker is that the daily ins and outs feel natural. I am a person who has an expertise and I go about my day helping people with my accumulated knowledge and experience. It's not a job that I go to and leave from - it's an extension of who I am. It is a career that weaves into my life and makes me feel useful and helpful without feeling imposing or compartmentalized.
What advice would you give someone looking to Buy
Sometimes it is hard for me to make a decision about what to eat for dinner, and deciding on a home is way more complicated. The best thing I can suggest is to spend the time to make a very specific list of things you want and things you need in a home and mark down whether each house you are really considering meets those criteria. When we looked for our house, we made a weighted criteria list and scored each house on each criteria and then each of those scores were weighted based on how important each criteria was…. that is a little extra, I know, but for me it was helpful to make it feel a little less emotional, and I worked at a software company so using a mathematical formula to make my decision for me felt right at the time.
What advice would you give someone looking to Sell
1. Pricing strategy is really important and a property’s true market value will fall in a range of valid prices. A lot of sellers want to push the market and go high “just to see” if they can get it. A good listing agent will come to a seller and explain the market climate and provide data on relevant comparative sales. That data should drive the pricing strategy, not a seller’s desire to make as much money as possible or because to the homeowner, the property is worth more than just money. So this is another situation where taking little bit of the emotion out of the process can ultimately save you time and money.
2. A focused presentation of a property is very important. Each punch list item may seem silly or insignificant but together, if completed, can make the property have a strong presentation on the market. Buyers shop online first, so the pictures matter and unless you have very exceptional taste in home design, less will always be more in terms of how you stage the house for the pictures and showings.
Tell me how you first got involved in with LivingRoom
I RSVP’d to a Co-Op Buyers seminar. I knew I wanted to transition into real estate and I had actually set my goal on specializing in co-ops and artists. One day my husband was browsing facebook, saw the event listing and said, “I think someone already thought of your idea.” So my first reaction was disappointment, which turned quickly into a desire to meet Annie (now my managing broker) and learn everything I could from her. I went to the Co-Op seminar and then reached out to Annie to meet one on one to talk about the business in general. I had a lot of reservations about becoming a broker, but in that meeting I felt like all my reservations went away when I saw an example of someone that was being a broker in the way that I wanted to be a broker: people focused; interested in community, historic preservation, and affordable housing; getting artists into affordable home ownership; genuine and thoughtful about the industry, etc.
What's your first memory of moving to Chicago
I moved here for college at DePaul. I actually vividly remember my parents dropping me off at my new dorm and then when they drove away I remember looking out the window and going down to the street and thinking… “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want, for whatever reason, and I don’t have to explain it to anyone.” But the sense of alone-ness and not knowing anyone else was pretty acute too. It was a simultaneous sense of excitement and fear.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I grew up in a cult…. No actually that’s not true. There really isn’t that much surprising about me. I wear everything on my sleeve, for better or worse.
How do people find you
I am active on instagram (@kateparis) and you can find me on Facebook (Kate Paris) but I’m not very active there. And of course, anyone who wants to reach out to me is always welcome to call or text me at 248-561-5869 or email me at Kate@livingroomrealty.com.