In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry. This week, it’s Northern Virginia broker Karen Wenner Cooper.

In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.

Karen Wenner Cooper

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Consistently applying yourself is the surest way to a rewarding real estate career, argues Northern Virginia broker Karen Wenner Cooper, owner of Platinum Group Real Estate at Pearson Smith Realty.

How does this top producer and founder of Empowering Women in Real Estate, a networking group with more than 8,300 members nationwide, keep moving forward? By coming from a place of yes.

Here’s a recent interview I did with Karen.

How long have you been in the business?

2019 marks my 17th year in business. I got started somewhat by accident. I was being laid off (for the second or third time) from my position in the pharmaceutical industry, and my choices were to accept a position out of state or stay here and try something different.

At the time, I just happened to be buying and selling a home FSBO (for-sale-by-owner), and I was the person explaining the contract to everyone, reviewing the (limited) comps that I could find online and in the newspapers, and otherwise managing the process.

I loved it and thought that just maybe there was something there for me — and there was.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years my team, the Platinum Group Real Estate team, will be the No. 1 real estate team in Virginia, and my passion project, Empowering Women In Real Estate, will have reached 100,000 women in the industry nationwide.

My day-to-day focus will be on helping women to grow successful real estate businesses on their terms.

What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?

Long-term, sustainable success comes from not being afraid to try new things. Or rather, being afraid and trying them anyway!

How did you learn it?

Every single time I have made the biggest strides and gains in my business has come from this lesson: from day one getting started — going from years of being a salaried employee to a full commission position in a brand new industry, to my experience in growing and developing my team.

Each time I was comfortable in my “old ways,” but I pushed through anyway, and those changes brought me more joy, more growth and more success than any other times in my life.

What advice would you give to new agents?

Put yourself out there, and be consistent. If you want to succeed in real estate, then you must be willing to go outside your comfort zone in pretty much every area. Take any and every opportunity that comes your way.

Rental leads? Yes. Show properties to buyers an hour-plus away? Absolutely. Open houses? For sure. Every single opportunity, connection, meeting [and] showing will help you to gain invaluable experience.

Even if you aren’t paid much (or anything) right away (and you won’t be), these experiences will get you where you want to be. And then, repeat — again, and again, and again.

Nothing is gained in this business without consistency. You can’t expect to show one house, send two postcards, post three social media posts, sit four open houses and expect things to happen.

It is in the repetition of these activities that you will get better in what you do and how you do it, and [then] you will see results.

Are you an agent with a story everyone can learn something from? Reach out to us ( We look forward to featuring more of our best agents and brokers in a future edition of “Lesson learned.”

Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook or Twitter

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