Life comes full circle

By Karen Downs, Sales Representative (Retired), EXIT Realty Central, VA

EXIT Realty Central and EXIT Realty Empire Associates both have a special place in my life! In 2010, after flipping approximately 70 houses on my own (before HGTV made it popular), circumstances lead me to get my real estate license in Virginia. I was serving as President of the Tidewater Real Estate Investors Group, and Kimberly Plourde, the Broker of EXIT Realty Central, was among our membership. While many firms were pushing me to join their firm at a 50% commission split, Kimberly approached me with a whole new concept… Why not be around a firm that treats everybody equitably, allows you to surround yourself with the quality and integrity of people you enjoy, and gives you the opportunity to not only enjoy a 70% commission split, but also have the opportunity for residual income?

And then she told me that the Founder of EXIT Realty Corp. International, Steve Morris, was going to be in the market just a few weeks later. Steve gave a presentation about the EXIT Formula that so resonated with me… Residual Income!! In April 2010, I signed with EXIT Realty Central. Between the time I joined in 2010, and the time I unexpectedly stepped away from active real estate in July, 2019 (I moved to my hometown to care for my terminally ill mother), I had sponsored approximately 50 people into EXIT Realty.  While not all those people had the commitment or direction to stay self-employed, I had enough recruits of caliber/determination to be able to grow my residual income strong enough to purchase multiple vehicles in cash, take five family members to Fiji for three weeks on the vacation of a lifetime, buy an RV about two weeks before Covid-19 (you have to laugh at that timing 😀 ), and just decide that I could and should take the time and energy to spend with my mother before she passed away… and RETIRE very early!!

Around April of 2019, one of my friends introduced me virtually to her Arbonne Rep, Lisa Grassi Bartlett. Lisa was a year behind me in high school in a rural area.  She saw on Facebook that I was a REALTOR® in Virginia and mentioned that she had just gotten her New York State license. I immediately reached out to connect her with EXIT Realty Empire Associates for an interview. As an Arbonne rep, she definitely understood the benefits of residual income! Lisa understood the big picture, signed on with EXIT, and before the end of the year she was already top Agent of the Month, at least twice, and she continues to rock real estate in the Clifton Park/Glens Falls, NY markets!

And at this time, she holds another special spot in my heart.  Lisa’s father, who was in his 90s, passed away recently.  While doing a full-time Arbonne business, figuring out a full-time career at EXIT Realty, and continuing with a tremendous amount of community volunteerism, Lisa had her father living in her home and was providing daily caretaking for him for years prior to his passing. He took on the role, ever so happily, of her assistant.  He knew the route every day, made sure the lockboxes and signs were in the car, and that they had a quality outing together.  The flexibility of lifestyle and relationships that is afforded through EXIT Realty is unsurpassed!! Blessings when we least expect it, if we take advantage of the opportunities that are afforded to us each day!

Today, realizing the journey that Lisa has been on and her recent loss, I reached out to see what support she needed. I think she gave me a gift in return.  The biggest appeal for me of joining EXIT Realty was the opportunity to earn residual income, but with having so many responsibilities on her plate the last few years, she hasn’t figured out how to incorporate a regular effort to gain sponsors. Soooo…. I am going to roll up to her office to help her plan systems for growing her sponsoring income … and she will have the “thrill ” of meeting my three spoiled dogs! LOL.  To me, this is life coming full circle! When you present quality people with genuine opportunity, lives can be changed!

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