Kristie McDonald is perhaps one of the savviest businesswomen we've ever featured on I Want Her Job. As a top Realtor for the Portland area, she built her business working primarily with buyers and then grew into construction last year, which she says has become her forte. Although she's been in the business only four years and started unaware of what comprised a 'good market,' she learned by hitting the ground running. She is involved in resale, foreclosures and listings, but 80 percent of her business is now related to new homes as she works with the No. 1 builder in the east county of Portland.
When she's not making a sale, fixing a 'housing crisis' or conversing with clients over wine, you can find her dancing. She loves belly dancing, in particular, especially when it's set to a techno beat. She loves anything that stirs passion within her and is always game for new experiences. She sounds like someone we can all look up to!
Hit the ground running and make everyone else keep up!
How did you discover your current job?
While working at R2C Group as the assistant to the CEO, Tim O'Leary, I worked a few private real estate transactions, and I was quickly hooked. Real estate brought it all together for me -- sales, marketing, contracts, organization, people and networking. When I was little I would stick my head in my dollhouse rooms and pretend that I lived there. Homes and how people dwell in them interest me!
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
Every day is random and much of it is chaos. Especially in new construction, there are so many factors that can emerge daily on each site. I started a book of quick, daily entries that include things like, "there is a woodpecker outside of my home -- what can you do about it" to dealing with exploding electrical boxes caused by homeowner's runaway cars. These types of things are frequent in a few of our neighborhoods. Each home construction, the homebuyer, buyer’s expectations for the three months of build, etc., are all different.
I help match homebuyers to the builder through plans, pricing and their location. I act as the hub of the wheel during the build, assisting our team, the builder, other agents and homebuyers. I’m always directing questions and finding solutions through the appropriate spoke of the wheel. I work closely with the appraisal process and lenders to assure that we will make it to the finish line and bring closure with the purchase. I really enjoy assisting the builder and establishing a process that helps the wheel turn quicker and with greater ease. My role is executive assistant, Realtor, marketer, manager, sales rep and speaker all in one! (I do recognize the need to hire for some of those roles soon!)
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my job (aside from fabulous paychecks that I work so hard for) is the team I'm surrounded by! Where else can you find yourself amidst great looking, hardworking guys that are buff and employed?! (Sorry girls, the builder and his right-hand super already have amazing wives!)
The most challenging part of my job is the pressure that comes with it. With the many roles I carry the most important one is keeping sales in the works. That great looking crew I already mentioned depends on the Realtor to keep sales moving. We have approximately 25 homes being built at any given time; this means continuous marketing, home matching, networking and long hours of hard work to keep the guys busy and employed.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
I have sacrificed a lot of personal time away. Turning off the phone and tuning out for longer than a few hours at a time is difficult with so much going on. Time off still requires that I catch back up with work, so until I can relinquish some control to others I’m trusted to do a great job and learn the process and product inside and out, and I will continue to blend my personal life and work throughout my day. I do warn my clients that if we connect after 9 p.m. I may be under the influence of a glass or two of wine!
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
EVERYthing is an opportunity, and everything connects to something else; looking to see how that something else can benefit you or someone you know is severely important to growing successfully. I look for avenues, opportunities, even keywords or phrases that may connect to something somehow. Helping connect others to others builds an amazing network, that over time, becomes your foundation to learn and grow from. A strong root system keeps the tree grounded, alive and thriving!
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
I don't see any challenges. If a female sees herself challenged, because she is female, then she has already set herself up to lean on excuses and/or not meet her own expectations.
Who are your role models?
Tim O'Leary of R2C Group, Michelle Cardinal of R2C Group, and Robert Frisbee, formerly of Electric Lightwave
What are some of the rules you live by?
"Once the mind commits, the universe conspires to make it happen."
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Don't make up reasons why you can't get started today. Set a list of goals for the day and get 'em done! Don't let insecurities, excuses and particularly love affairs get in the way of what you can achieve. Hit the ground running, and make everyone else keep up!
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I want to become the local expert on all new construction and head up a team that I can count on to carry us through constant changing, but impeccable systems that will allow me step back and enjoy life, family and travel more.