Kelly Gaitten: My Story

·October 16, 2023·From Kelly·4 min·

It was a difficult lesson: learning to rely on myself. It took courage, confidence, and a combination of all my learned skills. All of my challenges from the past brought me to where I belong.

When you’re not sure who to bet on, bet on yourself.

“We’ll go into business together,” my Dad would say. It was an idea that motivated me for a long time.

When my Dad returned from his military service to his small town he decided to pursue big dreams. He was an entrepreneur at heart and started his own electrical business. Then he started buying real estate. Then he became the mayor. He made his first million at the age of 40. My siblings and I had the importance of a strong work ethic instilled in us from an early age.

We also learned the most important thing about running a business: the people. If you do right by people, they’ll do right by you. If you don’t…the opposite is true. You should always do your best to take care of others.

The business I was supposed to go into with him was real estate. The plan was for me to become his partner and help manage the properties we purchased. Then those plans changed.

My father passed away when I was 22. It hit me hard. The support of the rest of the family has always been incredible, but we were all feeling the effects. My mother was a widow at 45 with three children, picking up his business where he left off. She still runs the books!

Back then, the idea of beginning a journey into real estate on my own didn’t have the same appeal. Instead, I entered the corporate world. With it came stocks, money, and exciting opportunities. I started out working with engineers, then joined Freddie Mac as an assistant in secondary mortgage market underwriting. Eventually, I was recruited to AOL, becoming an administrator for the top executives.

At first, it was exciting and fast-paced. I liked tackling the challenges and employing my problem-solving skills. Surely this is what everyone wants, right? At the end of the day, it was all so…impersonal, relationships were flimsy and short-lived. It was a far cry from my plans of working with people in real estate. The corporate world was losing its shine.

One particular day, I decided to rethink things. I wasn’t finding my work fulfilling, and I hadn’t been for a while.

I switched gears and joined a custom builder as his VP of marketing. After some time there, I reactivated my real estate license to help him sell land. From there, I was recruited to work as an administrative assistant for a top-producing real estate brokerage. After all this time, I still got into real estate in the end.

That didn’t mean it was easy. The broker, who I now consider a dear friend and mentor, was absolutely ruthless. On one especially bad day, I returned home an emotional wreck after being reprimanded at work. Quite simply, my feelings were hurt. I’d had enough, and I quit!

It was a big moment for me. I remember saying, “I’m gonna bet on myself.” I worked at several brokerages, building my business and utilizing the lessons learned at my original brokerage company. I eventually landed at my current brokerage as the top agent and top 1% nationally.

I was able to find success by carrying all those lessons with me—what I learned from my dad about putting people first, how you can lose in your work and come back stronger than ever, and that the best person to bet on is yourself.

I’m staying in real estate for the long haul. It’s a business about people, that’s why I couldn’t stay away and why I never wanted to leave.

I’m proud to have built a business. I’m even prouder that it’s one I care so deeply about. This is an emotional line of work, and I don’t think I would have lasted if it weren’t for my empathy. I see myself as a counselor for many of my clients. Yes, being an agent involves technical and legal aspects, but navigating people is the real challenge. That’s why this is such a rewarding job because I understand that my clients are the cornerstone of my business.

I believe in delivering positivity. Sometimes, that’s posting a picture I took of the sunrise—a hobby of mine—and other times, it’s sending a contact a personalized note. The photography of a home is an aspect I especially enjoy in my work too. The photos of a property can weave an entire story.

When anyone is in need, I do my best to help, whether they’re a passing acquaintance or an old friend. I look forward to doing that for you!


Kelly Gaitten

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