Agents filled the office, chattering like old friends, every seat taken. Kari Begovich strode to the front of the room with a smile on her face. She called everyone to order and began her weekly meeting at the Chase International Carson Valley office.
Getting into real estate.
Kari’s route to real estate was rather unconventional. After her parents divorced, her mother needed to sell the home and hired a friend to represent her. The agent came over one day with an offer. Kari joined the meeting to supervise.
The woman seemed old-school, sliding the contract over and using 1990’s tactics to get Kari’s mom to sign. Kari was not impressed. She thought she could do this job better, so she went out and got her license.
“I started 23 years ago at a small franchise in Gardnerville,” said Kari. “I sold for a few years, then moved to a company specializing in property management. After the downturn, I began helping tenants make the transition from renters to first-time home buyers.“
Making the move to Chase.
In 2013, the market shifted, and prices became less affordable for her first-time homebuying clientele. She heard Chase was opening an office in Minden and thought it offered the perfect opportunity to move up, knowing that she needed to increase her average price point.
“Chase offered an incredible reputation,” said Kari. “With them I knew I could sell everything across the board and get into the luxury market as well. So I made the move.”
Once Kari settled in, she found that she enjoyed mentoring and coaching some of the other agents in the office whenever they needed help.
Agents outside the company were amazed that she did it all for free, pointing out that she was training her competition. But that line of reasoning didn’t make any sense to Kari. Why wouldn’t she help someone else in need?
“I decided to get my broker’s license in case an opportunity did arise with Chase,” said Kari. “The company was growing, so it seemed possible. I obtained my broker’s license in 2014, was offered the manager role in January of 2015, and I love it. I absolutely love it.”
Adjusting to her management role.
Kari found her transition into management to be fairly smooth. She was fortunate to have an experienced office administrator by her side, along with tremendous support from the Chase leadership team.
“My learning curve was pretty fast,” said Kari. “Sue Lowe and Eric Crosby were incredibly helpful. My first year, the office maintained production and picked up a couple of new agents, but in the next two years, that’s when we experienced some tremendous growth.”
She admits it took time to learn how to be an effective leader, but now she knows her agents, the technology and the business.
“I’m able to focus on elevating our agents even further,” said Kari, “helping both experienced and new agents get to where they dream of going in their businesses and lives.”
Leadership by listening.
In the beginning when agents came to her with questions, Kari told them everything they needed to do. Then a colleague pointed out that she was doing all of the work for them.
“She suggested I step back and ask more questions,” said Kari. “So now when an agent comes to me with an issue, I wait to see what their thoughts are. 99% of the time, they’re on the right track. It might just be a tweak in the verbiage, or it might be a consequence they didn’t think about.”
Kari has seen good results. She has an office full of experienced agents who come up with their own ideas, make solid, professional decisions and provide excellent client service.
Training begets success.
Kari loves Chase Academy and recommends her agents go to as many classes as they can.
“The training opportunities at Chase are incredible,” said Kari. “We offer listing mastery classes, tech tools training, social media strategy and so much more.”
Kari firmly believes that contract expertise is the backbone of the business. She offers contracts training classes three times a month in her office, so that agents can service their clients with confidence.
“We have agents from Sparks that drive down for these classes,” said Kari. “I have agents who drive up to Reno for Eric Crosby’s contract classes, too. They’ll pick up something he said—it never contradicts, but it might be a better or a different way to do something. So we’re swapping agents back and forth, but that’s one of the great things about Chase.”
Experienced agents often sit in on her classes. They enjoy contributing to the discussion and sharing how they may have done something differently. Kari’s agents love to help, which is very much part of the Chase culture, giving back wherever possible.
A culture of abundance.
Kari’s been at a couple of other companies in town and seen first-hand the various types of office cultures.
“The first kind,” said Kari, “is where everybody’s a competitor. People are closed-off and don’t share what they’re doing. You keep your nose down, do your job, be the best and make all the money. I’ve experienced that culture, and I didn’t fit in very well with that at all because, like I said earlier, I just wanted to help and share.
“Then there are other companies that have a decent culture. Agents are still competitors, but they’re tolerant of each other, and a little bit nicer.”
But when Kari moved to Chase, she experienced an open, collaborative culture like she’d never seen before. Agents in the office freely helped each other, shared negotiation strategies, covered open houses or even watched someone’s kids for a colleague who needed to show property to clients.
“They always pay it forward,” said Kari. “They’re always covering each other and making sure that everybody has what they need to be successful in business. They don’t measure it by money. They measure it by life success for all.”
The right stuff.
When Kari looks for agents to join the office, she seeks people who want to make it a full-time career.
“I want people fully engaged,” said Kari. “If they can’t be full time now, I want them to have the intention and desire to phase into full-time. Without it, everybody’s energy goes to other things in their lives, people aren’t fully present and energy drains. So my goal is always to find a person who is full-time or that can be full-time, usually within two years.”
As long as candidates are serious about a career in real estate, almost any kind of person can be successful.
“I don’t have a specific personality type that I’m looking for,” said Kari. “I have engineer-style people and I have the party-style people. They all fit into the office.”
The group dynamic.
Primarily she looks for people who will complement the group she already has. It’s a good group, and they’re all very open, so it’s not hard for new people to integrate.
“The main thing,” said Kari, “is they have to want to help people.
“It can’t be about the money. People see right through that. Occasionally you run into an agent who’s having a hard time, and you see it. When that happens, we bring them back into why they’re doing it—to help and serve the clients. Everybody in the room will help to bring them back. It’s all attitude.
“So they turn their mindset around, and guess what? I don’t have anybody in the room struggling. They’re killing it right now, and they share in their successes. It’s super cool.”
For Kari, the most gratifying part of her job is seeing the moment the magic happens for an agent. When everything clicks—that turning point when everything comes together for them. She sees the difference in their lives and careers, and to her, that’s the best thing.
“I love working at Chase,” said Kari. “I am 100% confident that I’ll be here forever.”
Kari is looking for a few good agents to join her team. If you want to uplevel your business while living a life you love, please reach out.