We spoke with WK Real Estate’s new Executive Vice President Kari Newman about her recent relocation, perspective of the area and role with WK Real Estate.
Economic opportunity. Proximity to family. Quality of life. Cost of living. These are some of the reasons for the global phenomenon known as the “Great Resignation” or the “Great Reshuffling.” Americans continue to quit jobs in record numbers, driven in large part by the global pandemic, as they opt for other opportunities they feel will bring them more flexibility, happiness or money. 11% of Americans moved in 2020 and over 20% more Americans plan to move in 2021. Colorado was the sixth most popular state that movers gravitated toward during the pandemic.
Whether it’s across state lines or just across town, moving and adjusting to a new community is never easy. A trained, experienced real estate professional can help make the process go smoothly but how does it go when you have an entire real estate company at your disposal? That’s the edge that Kari Newman and her family had when they moved from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Boulder when Kari joined Boulder County’s WK Real Estate as their new Executive Vice President.
Kari oversees strategic planning, works closely with WK’s staff to fulfill organizational needs, and is responsible for all in-house professional development and coaching for WK’s 90-plus broker associates. The Daily Camera spoke to Kari about her recent and ongoing relocation experience, to get a newcomer’s perspective on what it’s been like to relocate and get settled in one of the most popular communities in the country.
The running joke in Boulder is that no one here is a native. Everyone has a story about what brought them to the Boulder area. What’s yours Kari?
We discovered Boulder when family members moved to the area about four years ago. My brother-in-law left a successful corporate career in the Midwest with the goal to own his own business when he turned 50 years old, and he did it in Boulder! He purchased Parallel Path, a digital marketing company that focuses on health, wellness and lifestyle brands.
Boulder was a huge draw for them and for us due to the culture of innovation, active outdoor lifestyle and great food and music.
My husband and I visited Colorado over the years to ski and spend time with family, and he had the vision of moving here a few years before I did. I remember the first call from him and our adult son saying that we should move to Boulder. I was not opposed to the idea but it was always a “someday” idea. Then one perfect, sunny, sixty degree day in December we went out for a bike ride and had this “ah ha” moment. We thought, why wait to move? We want to enjoy all this area has to offer while we are still young and healthy, so we decided… let’s do it now!
Over the years my love for the mountains surpassed my love for the beach. For me, the mountains bring an active lifestyle, one I’d like to live every day, while the beach is for lounge chairs and little umbrellas in your drink.
Was there something more than the lure of the community that compelled you? How did you end up at WK Real Estate?
I spent a huge part of my career at Charles Reinhart Realtors in Ann Arbor, Michigan, one of WK Real Estate’s partner companies through Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. I’m passionate about the local independent business model in real estate and WK Real Estate is the largest such company in Boulder County.
When I had my first conversation with WK’s Broker/ Owner Dan Kingdom. It was initially scheduled as a brief chat, the conversation turned into a two hour meeting as we discussed the possibility of my joining WK. That initial conversation with Dan was so comfortable and easy, and he seemed truly excited for us to experience this community that is so very important to him and his family.
Meeting WK’s Founder Lew Kingdom and his wife Sally made a huge impact. Lew’s genuine passion for the business is inspiring, as is their commitment to the local community. Lew is still involved in the leadership at WK and Sally was active for so many years, holding important board positions with the local school district, the YMCA, and other organizations.
We agreed that I would join the company mid-summer and we arrived in Boulder the first week of July.
How has your family adjusted to the move, and has there been anything that surprised you or was unexpected?
Michigan, where we moved from, has more than 11,000 inland lakes. While Colorado claims less than half that number, the abundance of water and green space was an unexpected surprise. Colorado is a land-locked state, so we thought the landscape would be dry and arid. Our family continues to discover and enjoy many creek and stream-side trails that are so easy to access, and we love the Boulder Reservoir. Our favorite things about Colorado so far are the abundant sunshine, no humidity and thankfully no bugs!
We arrived in the summer and we have enjoyed lots of outdoor activities and that really helped with the adjustment. My husband is an avid cyclist, and our 24-year-old daughter has done dozens of hikes already including a 14er. Hiking is her happy place and has really helped her embrace the change. We look forward to welcoming our son out west soon when he relocates with his fiancé for new career opportunities and a healthier lifestyle. Despite the hassle of the actual move, unpacking the pods and all of the other logistics, we were really looking forward to coming here and it has exceeded our expectations!
The real estate market in the Boulder/Denver area has been pretty crazy, even before the pandemic. How is this market different
from the one you came from? Has being part of WK Real Estate given you any advantages?
We sold our beautiful house in Michigan for half of what a similar house would sell for in Boulder County. Despite knowing that, we still chose to come to Boulder. The higher housing costs didn’t sway our decision because of the historic, stable appreciation and the opportunity to participate in the growing market. Boulder has been in the top three on the SmartAsset.com list of best markets for growth and stability for the last seven years. Boulder is a great investment!
We are having to compete as buyers in this market just like everyone else. We recently made a strong all-cash offer, with no contingencies, and a generous earnest money deposit, and we still didn’t win the bid. The winning offer was $80,000 over the asking price. We’ve learned we just have to be patient.
Despite being an executive at WK Real Estate, I am going through exactly what our clients are. Even as a real estate “insider”, it’s just a tough market for everyone. We saw this same competitive market environment in Michigan, sometimes up to 45 offers on one home, but it was in a lower price range.
There are a lot of good real estate companies in the Boulder area, and someone with your experience and skill set probably had a lot of choices. What made you choose to join WK Real Estate?
I mentioned before that I came from a local independent company that is a partner to WK Real Estate. That made the choice easy, but the first thing I noticed as I got to know the company was the way Broker/Owner Dan Kingdom and his staff put the agents first. Dan got this cutting-edge mentality from his father, Founder Lew Kingdom. WK constantly curates, invests in and supports new tools and systems. And they do it to add true value to the agents’ business, not just for the sake of having new shiny objects. Similarly, they are great at evaluating and making tough decisions if things don’t work.
The second thing that really impressed me is how the entire company, agents and staff, work as a team. The word “family” is used a lot, but that truly does reflect the environment at WK. The agents help each other find properties for buyers, share information about the inventory, and are constantly pinging each other with tips, resources and best practices. No request for help goes unanswered. It is very collaborative and “open door”, which in my years of experience is unique to find in real estate. For agents, the atmosphere, combined with the long time support staff, is a huge competitive advantage. For clients, it means there is a cohesive and dedicated team working really hard behind the scenes for you.
Finally, building teams, and coaching and supporting agents is my forte and passion. I love the experienced veteran agents that make up WK’s strong foundation, combined with the huge crop of emerging agents that bring new ideas and enthusiasm. There’s a reason WK Real Estate is the 21-year perennial winner of “Best Real Estate Company” in the Daily Camera’s People’s Choice Awards, Boulder County Gold. WK Real Estate is the best of the best.
In the end I asked myself not why would I work at WK, but why wouldn’t I?
Visit WK Real estate online at www.wkre.com