Unconscious Competency of your specialized real estate niche- Ex: This is usually the biggest financial investment of your client whether its commercial or residential, you owe it to your client to be well versed, well educated, highly skilled and competent in residential or commercial. The client is depending on you to be the professional. Continually take classes, stay educated.
As a part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katrina Raether, who is a Commercial Real Estate Advisor with EXP Realty in Oklahoma City, OK. She has 23 years of experience in the real estate industry including multifamily, residential, SFR investing, Fix and Flips, loan origination, title underwriting, and commercial real estate sales & leasing including land, industrial, retail, and Oklahoma dispensaries. Kat is passionate about providing commercial corporate space solutions to her sellers and buyers.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
As a college student, I worked as a leasing agent and an assistant manager at a 300+ unit apartment complex off Oklahoma University campus. The complex was in the process of being sold. I learned so much about sales, leasing, occupancy, tenants, maintenance, and the day to day operations of managing a multifamily property. The process of the sale in which most people would find tedious and cumbersome, I absolutely enjoyed it. I knew then that real estate was my calling.
I got married and moved to another town. He started a landscaping company and I started “Paper Dolls” wallpapering service for commercial properties such as restaurants, office suites, and retail business locations. As a new mom, it was the perfect gig for me because I was still learning the local real estate market, vendors, and where I could find my niche in all of this. Unfortunately, I went through a divorce and it was a difficult time in my life and I made a decision to start flipping/wholesaling homes and loan origination. It’s crazy how the most challenging times can be your greatest source of opportunity and strength. I moved my daughter and I to Oklahoma City and I started working for a mortgage company and I learned the business. The market was incredible at the time and I started flipping houses. Back then, you could actually cash out up to 100% of the appraised value the SAME DAY you closed! I flipped a total of 8 houses that year and I’ve never left real estate since then from flipping/wholesaling homes to becoming a residential realtor and now commercial real estate in the last 9 years.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
One of the most interesting stories that I can share from real estate was helping a salon owner with the sale of her hair salon. Her husband had threatened divorce because of the time and stress that she was putting into her business. She could no longer go to the lake, enjoy life, or have weekends off. She was dealing with the daily stress of running the salon while still maintaining her clientele. When I met with her, I remember her crying and letting me know her frustrations.
I know my eyes teared up as well and I could honestly feel her pain. I made it my mission to get her salon sold. She still wanted to stay on and be a stylist without the stress of dealing with business operations and managing stylists. We received multiple offers and we closed approximately 35 days later with the right buyer for this salon. The buyer actually had a brow salon and was looking for company expansion in that area specifically and my seller’s salon was the perfect fit. We all did the “happy dance”! My lesson from this commercial transaction was that no matter what pain, frustration, or “problem” that one commercial owner is experiencing, there is always another commercial property or business owner looking for that same situation as a solution for themselves and their business. He needed her larger clientele, stylists, and daily operations that she was dealing with in order to expand and grow his business. That’s why I find commercial real estate so interesting!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! I have a 12,000 sq ft downtown Oklahoma City commercial building located in the Opportunity Zone. This building is so unique because it’s zoned retail, multifamily, and industrial. The Opportunity Zone allows investors to buy commercial property in these designated areas with tax deferral of capital gains, step-up basis of capital gains, and even full exclusion of capital gains in some cases. This helps people in our community because it fuels economic growth in lower income areas. It benefits everyone! My second exciting project is providing my clients with the opportunity to obtain business credit for property build-out, core capital, and corporate reserves. This gives contractors, mom & pop shops, and small retailers the same credit advantage as the larger corporations.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe what makes my company stand out is that as a commercial real estate agent, I cooperate with all commercial agents and companies nationwide and I provide a concierge, boutique style service to my clients because no client nor business is the same; therefore I cater my services to the particular needs of the client. A story that I can share is when our state and local real estate market changed as a result of bill 788. The use of commercial Industrial warehouse space has significantly increased. A group from Michigan actually called me because they came in to specifically meet with a larger firm but they were only shown properties that were listed with the larger firm. I showed them properties from various commercial companies and also private investors with off market commercial properties.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The phrase “It Takes a Village” is very true. I’m thankful for everyone that I’ve had the pleasure of working with because experience has been the teacher for me in this business. In commercial real estate, I am extremely grateful for Wes Williams and Scott Smith as mentors in commercial real estate and Hollie Kitchens for branding. My story is of me walking the pavement and going into various retail and office buildings “cold calling in person” to talk to any owners that were interested in selling and I was able to meet Scott who provided me with a wealth of information and contact with other business owners. Wes has been completely instrumental in helping me with build-outs, contractors, and investors. I’m so thankful for him.
Ok. Thank you for sharing that. Let’s now jump to the main portion of our interview. The real estate industry, like the veterinarian, nursing, and public relations fields, is a woman-dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20%of senior positions in real estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?
I believe that there are still stereotypes that exist that truly hinder women in obtaining executive positions in real estate. In real estate, especially commercial, there is such a large presence of women in supportive roles of male brokers and male counterparts. There’s usually 1 or 2 females in leadership positions in the larger companies. Commercial real estate tends to be relationship based in terms of positions. If your father, husband, family is involved in the business, there is a likelihood for women to be involved in the company sometimes.
What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?
The three things that can be done are: 1) Women have the confidence and skills to step up, get involved, and use your voice to support gender balance 2) Women, companies, male counterparts empower and invite women to the senior table to support greater gender balance. It can be extremely intimidating when you walk into a room filled with just men and very few women. I think it’s hard for women to feel “uncomfortable” and step into that space. 3) Unconscious competency- Leadership is learned. Companies should offer incentives, leadership classes, etc for women to know that they have the right and the ability to be in senior positions. It’s definitely not the lack of candidates, it’s the lack of women being confident and knowing they belong in the senior positions. Empower and Educate!
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
In my opinions, the biggest challenge that a women executive has to face is that they have to “qualify” themselves to be there. As if to explain why they got there and have the right to be there. That’s why it’s so much easier if it is because of family dynamics, because it allows a female to have an “established” power as to being accepted in that position.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?
The three things that excite me about the real estate industry are 1) New emerging technology in commercial real estate which has been so antiquated. 2) Opportunity for more women and minority brokers in commercial real estate. 3) New senior career opportunities for women in commercial and residential
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest? The 3 things that concern me the most about the real estate industry are 1) Lack of diversity in commercial real estate 2) Lack of women leadership in commercial real estate 3) Lack of male talent in the supportive roles in real estate industry or the imbalance there of; What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?
My advice is for leaders to empower and educate their team to thrive. An effective team can thrive without their leader because of effective systems in place and the confidence that the leader has instilled in their members to perform effectively and congruently.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
As a “Real Estate Insider”, my 5 non intuitive things you should know to succeed in real estate are: 1) Unconscious Competency of your specialized real estate niche- Ex: This is usually the biggest financial investment of your client whether its commercial or residential, you owe it to your client to be well versed, well educated, highly skilled and competent in residential or commercial. The client is depending on you to be the professional. Continually take classes, stay educated.
2) Focus on the needs of your clients and not your own- Ex: Listen to the client. Even if they are not sure of what they really want, after you spend quality time with your client, you will know. It’s about providing solutions for your client.
3) Stay ahead of the market. Know your data and market trends. Look ahead. It’s our business, we have to! Ex: A good hockey player plays where the puck is but a great hockey player plays where the puck is going!
4) Be supportive and empower your fellow agents. Ex: It’s still a small localized community. You cannot do this business alone. We are all in this together.
5) Be Genuine. Be Yourself Ex: There’s enough fakes and knock offs. Just be YOU.
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most good to the greatest amount of people right now in 2020 it would be: My anthem for 2020. Regardless of race, political affiliation, gender…ALLBC- Acknowledge People, Listen to People, Love on People, Be Genuine, & Care.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!