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Meet Kelly Bastman – From Lemons to Lemonade

Today we have selected Kelly Bastman to take her interviewShe is the Broker/Owner Of Bastman Properties, Inc.

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

No one saw a global pandemic coming, and even fewer saw real estate thriving as a result.  Our business after slowing briefly at the beginning of the shutdown then tripled in sales in the second half of 2020.  So far in 2021, we are pacing towards the same numbers.  Our agents follow the NAR guidelines for showings and luckily everyone is healthy and has had the opportunity to become vaccinated.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?

When I got out of the Navy in 2000 I started selling my plasma to save up enough money for online real estate school.  I had a one and two-year-old at the time and it took me several months to get it done.  I got VERY sick after a cross-country flight to visit my family, so I definitely do not recommend selling plasma then flying anywhere – apparently, it’s quite important to one’s immune system.  Nevertheless, I became a real estate agent and Rookie of the Year in my first office.  Defeat was not an option.  Fast forward 17 years, one more kid, a cross-country move, and a side career of a media company to survive the great recession; I became a broker and opened my own brokerage.  I love owning my own company and wearing all of the hats.

How does your company innovate?

Education!  I thrive on learning and being a consummate student of the industry.  The education never ends, whether it’s driven by policy change, a difficult client, or the desire for a new certification.   Innovation is a necessary by-product of increased knowledge.

How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

We are one of the lucky ones who were successful despite the pandemic.  Real estate learned quickly to cope with new showing policy, documentation, and new physical rules (masks, booties, hand sanitizer, etc) to be able to keep the industry moving while being socially responsible and safe.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Real estate can be cyclical and a ‘feast or famine’ type industry.  When the business is plentiful, my greatest challenge is to balance home and work life.  I lost my dad, a real estate developer two years ago.  He was wildly successful and someone I looked up to immensely.  I can feel him around me urging me to remember to spend time playing and enjoying my family, otherwise what is all this work for?  I have some very fun hobbies, so taking the time to go play is what recharges me.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

NAR and CAR and our local boards give us tons of tools to use to manage our transactions and keep in touch with clients.  I’m a big believer in using what is given to us and not having to fit in some box because a huge company says we have to to be successful.  You’d be surprised what you can accomplish with email and a newsletter that you manage yourself.  Personally, I love mail chimp.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

When the market is good, everyone gets their real estate license.  I don’t worry myself about new agents – the experience I have and the level of service I provide is incomparable.  Real estate deals with huge amounts of money and the biggest asset that someone may ever own, it’s not the time to trust cousin Larry with the task.  I don’t cut my own hair and I don’t do my own taxes – you get what you pay for.

Your final thoughts

I have been very blessed and have worked very hard to become a top producer.  The support of my family and the love of my community make this work very enjoyable.  I have my wife to thank for her unending support, even though she has her own successful career.  “Make no small plans, dream no small dreams.” -George Ellery Hale, builder of the world’s largest telescope, 4 times.

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