Inman Diaries is a weekly feature tracking the day-to-day activities of America’s leading real estate agents — in their own words over the course of a seven-day week. In our latest installment, Kat Carroll of the reSolve Group in Palo Alto balances the needs of her tech-savvy clientele with the obligations of running her 1-year-old real estate business.
6:15 a.m. My cute 2-year-old alarm clock calls “Mama” and I’m up — the day has begun! I make coffee while he works the early stages of a career in building. Before most people go to work, we’ve already built houses and barns for 10 to 15 animals and figurines.
8:30 a.m. Pick the phone up and sort through the essential messages that require a response immediately. After almost a decade in the business, it has become a lot easier to identify what’s urgent and what can be addressed once I get to the office.
9 a.m. Workout at the gym with my wife. One of my favorite hours of the week! With busy work schedules and small kids, date nights can be hard, but our workouts together are sacred. After crushing some weights and [metabolic conditioning], we grab a coffee and take off to our offices.
1:30 p.m. Team meeting. Since partnering with Adam Touni and Wendy Kandasamy last year to form the reSolve Group, an essential part of our team’s success has been our Monday meeting. We start the week off by bringing each other up to speed on our respective deals and prospects, discuss strategy and plan upcoming marketing projects. We reviewed our 2019 numbers, set our 2020 goals and committed to our overall operating budget for 2020!
8:30 a.m. Review the week in our team’s new project management software. We’ve taken our processes we dialed in last year and turned it up to 11! Every checklist we had from our seller lead process to our buyer close out process is now in Monday.com with the tasks broken out across our team. With the complexity of our jobs as advisors, project managers, negotiators, etc, I believe teams are the future of our business (and well-organized teams will continue to grow their market share!).
9 a.m. The sun is out and it’s a beautiful day in Silicon Valley. Made a last-minute plan to walk “the Dish” on Stanford’s campus with a Compass colleague from a nearby office. She says she has an 11 a.m. meeting, but with the pace I move, we have no problem covering the 4 miles of rolling hills in time. We catch up on our holiday travels, trade notes on upcoming listings, and predict what our spring market will be like.
11:30 a.m. Early lunch with a past client. She’s a serial entrepreneur who wants to do something in the design space. She picks my brain about how we engage with designers and stagers in our process. After sharing her idea, I’m ready to invest by the end of the lunch! I’m continually inspired by the energy, drive and new ideas from the people around us in Silicon Valley.
4 p.m. Meeting with new clients who are ready to buy their first home. I love this meeting as it is such a great way to set the tone for our time working together. Looking across the table you see such a mix of hope, excitement — and sometimes a little fear! We break down the process and educate our buyers so it doesn’t feel too daunting. One partner is a software engineer in San Francisco and the other works in San Jose – we’ll focus their search so their commutes are reasonable. They’re pre-approved and we have their search criteria dialed – everyone left excited about the prospects!
9 a.m. Meeting a painter and floor contractor at our new listing in Portola Valley, a bucolic town just west of Palo Alto. The clients have moved most of their stuff out of this classic California mid-century home, and we’re finalizing the preparation schedule. If the rains don’t us down, we should be on the market by mid-March!
2 p.m. Get an email from a past client who wants to sell. My client runs his own analytics business and can work anywhere. They’re trying to decide whether to go for an off-MLS sale quickly or wait until the end of the school year. I make a plan to come by that afternoon to see what they’ve done to the house since I sold it to them five years ago.
6 a.m. Call with Portola Valley sellers who are in Europe to review the plan to restore their home to its mid-century glory before going on the market. Everyone is in agreement about the course of action — I am so thankful for the trust our clients put in us to represent them and manage the preparation of their home prior to sale.
8:30 a.m. I hop on the Peloton bike for a quick ride before the rest of the day. While it’s a far cry from my past life as a pro-cyclist, as a working mom with two kids, I now take any chance to blast out 350 [kilojoules] when I can!
11 a.m. Meeting with clients to help them decide the best way to maximize the value of their existing home. His bachelor pad is no longer cutting it now that they have a young family. They need every penny to put into their “move up” house this year, so we’re discussing what improvements they should make to their home before selling. Our team has some wonderful data on the ROI for certain improvements at their price point. We leveraged both Compass Concierge and our own team funds to help prepare/improve 18 of our listings last year. Based on our network of trusted vendors, we plan to move them out, paint and make a few other cosmetic changes in order to have them on the market by March for the prime selling season.
1 p.m. I check Monday.com for updates on everything our team is doing. We re-launched a rare vacant lot in Palo Alto’s most tony neighborhoods, Old Palo Alto. We hired an architect to create plans for a visually stunning contemporary home that still blends into the neighborhood. The marketing materials we create present the vision beautifully!
3 p.m. Swing by my past clients house to help them decide the best path forward. They did a great job with their bathroom remodel! They’ve added some real value by replacing the windows. My team can help them execute on the rest of the refresh. We plan to meet early next week to review the comps and sign the listing agreement.
10:30 a.m. Rush out to see three houses on a broker’s tour in Palo Alto that might be a fit for clients, plus one off-market home I just heard about. These particular clients love their house but need more space. They’re execs at Google and another start up, so we preview everything before getting them in to see. The finishes at the off-market home are so tasteful — this will be a winner!
1:30 p.m. Quick team meeting to sync up before the weekend. I update Adam about my buyers’ preferences that he’s taking out to tour on Saturday (my day off!). Our team setup gives me coverage so I don’t miss too much time with my kids while they’re little and ensures our clients still have access to the best agents all week long.
6:30 a.m. Can someone tell my kids about sleeping in on days off? It’s all good — we’ve already
made a plan for a perfect Northern California Saturday in January. After fueling up on homemade pancakes, we’re going to take our bikes to ride all over the paths on Stanford’s campus before heading over to the coast to enjoy the sea air (and some goat cheese!) in Pescadero. Nothing invigorates my soul like the waves crashing on the rocky coast of the Pacific – being outside with my family is the best way to recharge before going back at it next week. I need all the energy and focus I can find to hit our big goals for 2020!
Kat Carroll is a broker-associate with the reSolve Group based in the Compass Palo Alto office in the heart of Silicon Valley. She formed the reSolve Group with partners Adam Touni and Wendy Kandasamy in 2019 to provide comprehensive real estate advisory services to her clients. Following her career as a professional cyclist, she has practiced real estate in California since 2011.
Inman Diaries is a weekly feature tracking the day-to-day activities of America’s leading real estate agents and brokers. To submit a diary, please send requests to Diary@Inman.com.