Today we talked with Kari Gutierrez, an award-winning real estate agent in Chandler Arizona. Kari has been helping her clients buy, sell and create their dream homes here in the valley for about the last 20 years and has become one of the best in the business.
Literally in the top 1% of real estate agents. She is a wine connoisseur and gives a few tips to understanding your drink in today’s show. If you’re interested in what it takes to make it from the starting line in real estate to the pinnacle, you will not want to miss this show!
Welcome, Kari Gutierrez to the throne room. Welcome. Thank you for the invite. She is the church camp’s best hiker in the 2011 manga salsa. Mango, mango, mango. Like the fruit mango salsa. Award-Winning champion. And he just happened to be a two-time, you know diamond winning real estate agent top 1% agents and me so I mean little accolades here and there a few things.
How are you doing this morning? Excellent. So the first question I have for you is how did you get from Kerry 15, 20 years ago to now being one of the top real estate agents in the valley. Mm. It’s a long and winding tale, let me tell you. Let’s go. Might be a three-hour tour too. When did I get licensed, Stony?
2000. And I started working with you in 2013. So it’s been almost 20 years that I’ve been in real estate. So I moved here from the Midwest just before then. So the late nineties when my first child was born and I was looking for something to do that didn’t require me to be nine to five, that could make a decent amount of money for my time away from my family.
And I had several people say to me like, I think you’d be a good real estate agent. And I said, Oh, all right, well, let me think about that. And that was kind of what started the journey. I think it probably came into my consciousness in the late nineties, actually, when I was pre-med motherhood. And then it just kind of got confirmed through several different events.
So that was the beginning. Then, the genesis. Okay. So 20 years now. Yeah, Have you had any struggles along the way? There’s been a few. There’s been a few. So of course balancing life and career and, you know, family and career is always a struggle for women, probably for men too. But I don’t know that because I’m not a man so there’s been a few things.
Initially, I tried to, you know, marry my experiences from other lines of work and bring the best of those things into a place where I could help my clients. See what it was that they were looking for. Trying to help them look for the properties that most meet their needs and then also help my sellers see how to best present their property.
What were the two previous professions that you were combining your talents from, so too? So a couple of things. So. In the nineties, I worked for a university and I took care of their student records to prep them, and make sure they had all their prerequisites for the degree major that they were going into. That was a school of nursing there.
So they had to do all the, you know, physiology and biology and biochem and all those things and make sure that they had done all the checked all those boxes before they could do their clinical. And then just immediately prior to joining real estate, I was a stay-at-home mom. So all the caring and nurturing of emotions and managing that for little switch on, if I’m super honest, doesn’t change very much.
When you get older, you still have a lot of emotions to manage. So you’re saying all those people buying and selling houses are pretty much as little kids pretty bad stuff. And it feels like that sometimes. Like you need a home, you need someone to hold your hand when you’re going through an experience that you haven’t been through before.
When has there been a real estate transaction in your recent past that has really challenged you? You had a family of nine. There were seven children and worked with Mom primarily because Dad was at work most of the time. And so they were trying to buy a house here in Mesa and finding a property that was large enough for all of them was challenge number one.
We had a few, you know, a decent amount of properties to look out for them. They were at a price point that would accommodate that. But honestly, the biggest one, one of the challenges for them was scheduling, because you could imagine a mom of seven negotiating on her side. All of those schedules and getting into properties at a time that worked for all of them were a challenge.
They had a couple of financing challenges along the way. So we found the perfect house. We did all of our inspections. We were right up to the place where they were ready to close and there was a job shift that made financing not work at that moment. So then we kind of went back to the drawing board with that seller.
We were able to hold the deal together, but we put in place a lease with a purchase at the end of that year. So we were able to account. We were able to accomplish that before the year was over, but in order but negotiated with that seller that they would have that time. So I want to know something personal.
Yes. For you personally, what has been the hardest thing about real estate? You’ve mentioned schedules. Real estate agents. As far as I’m concerned, we’re bankers hours only. We don’t only have never had banker’s hours. So if you ask my youngest daughter, that has been the greatest struggle, is that she felt like I was gone way too much in her junior high school years, which, you know, maybe I was I don’t know that I could have been gone any less were I working a different job or had a different career path.
At that point, I chose real estate specifically so that I could choose my hours. But they didn’t always equate to a nine to five. So I could pick her up from school every day. I could be at horseback riding lessons and dance lessons and recitals and things like that. But it all also meant that I worked weekends and I worked evenings.
So if you were going to recommend this profession to your daughter, what would you tell her? Would you advise her? Scheduling advice would be to put it in the calendar as these are work hours and these are non-work hours, you do have to schedule in time that you’re not going to work otherwise. It is possible to work all the time.
And I found that to be true early on. So then I would have to protect the times that I knew I didn’t want to work, such as horseback riding lessons or, you know, whatever kind of events that my girls had going on. So one of the reservations that I’ve always had with working with young real estate agents is how can a young person be informed enough to educate me on the biggest financial purchase of my life?
Really? Mm-hmm. So how as a young agent, when you started really young, how were you able to earn the respect of the people you’re working with? A lot of times it was over-preparing, asking a lot of questions of somebody who’d been in the business longer than I had researched, you know, data points, those kinds of things.
So that and understand them well enough that I could articulate them to a client when I’m sitting in front of them. That was my strategy. Maybe that’s a middle child thing, right? Overprepare for all the things I don’t know, I don’t like to be caught off guard with anything. So but I think that is a good strategy, especially when you’re young.
There’s a confidence factor. If you believe that you can do it then you’re going to convey confidence to your client. If you don’t believe that you can do it, then they’re not going to believe it either. Like, you have to believe in yourself first. Can you fake it till you make it? I mean, to an extent, maybe, but you do have to know the information that you’re presenting.
So if you’re uncomfortable all with that, well, number one, it studies and learns all the things really is what when it comes down to you initially and partner with somebody who you can ask questions of when you don’t know the answer. So you never want to provide false information. But if you are unsure, I think a good response is that is a great question.
I’m going to research it and I’ll get back to you. So you recently just received the Diamond Award, which is the top 5% of agents in your brokerage. You’ve also received accolades from the magazine here, Macy’s being one of the top one percenters. Now that you’ve reached this point in your career, you’re respected, you’re renowned, and you’re doing really, really well.
Congratulations, by the way. What’s next for you? I think passing on the knowledge that I have two younger agents, I am part of a team. And so some of that is masterminding it with a lot of newer agents. So I enjoy that. I enjoy the teaching aspect of it. So that could be the next logical step for me.
Is to mentor other agents, and start kind of a micro team. I don’t know if I want to I don’t know if I want one of those done. But we’ve touched on time has reached has to reach this level of success, giving you more time or just still taking more time away from you through the last you know, 20 years of real estate, I’ve been able to develop processes that helped me shorten the amount of time that I’m spending on every transaction.
So it’s a little more it’s more seamless I’m not I don’t forget. Thing is, it’s not a one-off here and there. There’s an actual process to doing a listing or staging a house or taking a buyer on tours so that buys back time when you have a system and a process. I don’t have children at home anymore, so there is the opportunity for me to work different hours, which is nice.
I can form my career more around, you know, maybe more bankers hours. I still do weekends and evenings as necessary, but there are fewer weekends and evenings that are necessary. Okay. So with this extra time that you have, what makes Kerry tick? What do you do for fun? Like what are you working for? Oh, gosh.
Well, I just spent a week on a tropical island in the Caribbean, and it was fantastic. And I have to do that again. So and again and again, again and again. I just sent an article I was there with my brother and his family and I just sent him an article yesterday that I read about being in nature is good for your mental health and it’s like scientifically, scientifically proven.
So I said, here’s the scientific proof that we need to spend more time on tropical islands. Right? I wouldn’t complain at all. That’s where I’m at. Do you prefer the tropical island or the pine trees up in the cabin? Mountain woods? You know, both are amazing. Travel for me is an opportunity to disconnect from all the things like, you know, the phone and the computer and all that you like.
I don’t want any of that with me when I’m on vacation. But the primary impetus to spend time with people that I like, without the things right, without the screens in front of us, anything, anything without a cell phone is amazing. So you just went to which island did you go to on air? It’s the Dutch Caribbean, just right north of Venezuela, south Caribbean.
Whoa. And it came back with rum so I could be a pirate, but it’s so. So you like going to islands because of the rum? Yeah. Well, I feel like if you’re going to be in the Caribbean, there should be rum involved right there. It feels like that’s how it should go down. Like, if you’re in Mexico, there must be tequila.
Involved Those are stereotypes. But I don’t know that I’ve ever gone to Mexico. And not at the time. Right, exactly. This is. This is what we do. So do you do in or so there was more entertaining than I thought it was going to be for probably we had a whole house? We’d run out of our boat, and it was right on the water, which was fabulous.
Like, everybody needs to sit right on the water for half of a day for part of their vacation. Like, that should happen. But we also did a scoop. We call it snorkeling. Snorkeling. I didn’t go, like all the way into the water snorkeling. Saw all kinds of fun dories and corals and eels and my knee-sallow baby octopus.
She was super excited about that. I didn’t see that it was too small for me to see, I guess. I don’t know. There was saltwater in my eyes and you know, I asked my brother, he because he’s a master scuba diver and like the ever get like, how do you keep the water from getting in your eyes is like, yeah, that’s just part of the thing.
That’s just how it is like, oh, I don’t know if I like that plan. But we also took a tour kind of like north and circled around the island. That way they have a distillery and they actually make their own liquor out of like a cactus that grows on the island. With exciting and they and they make rum.
They make a bunch of different varieties of rum right there at the. Yeah, right there on the island. And sadly, the bottle I brought back with me is mostly gone. And they do not ship to the United States. So I’m going to have to go back and have to go back to the island to get more rum, which is why I’m going to continue selling real estate.
So honestly, at this point in my life, it kind of fuels my fun, pays for my family, and fuels my fun. Any other islands on the to-do list all the islands. My son-in-law is from Puerto Rico. So I think I probably should go there at some point. That is something that I’m considering.
Like I need to figure out how to sell real estate internationally. I made a couple of connections when I was in Bonaire, so now I need to go with my son a lot to Puerto Rico and find someone to connect with their God. So anyone out of the country who knows about buying and selling foreign real estate, preferably on the water?
Yeah, water would get rich out if we’ve got a buyer or anything in a wine region. Why don’t you just be in Napa Valley in April and April? It’s beautiful. I saw the cutest little house. It was about mm. I don’t know if it was 600 square feet. I’d be surprised looking at it from the front. And so I of course pulled up my Realtor.com app to see what it cost.
$500,000. Like right around the corner, there was a two-story with a garage and it was 2600 square feet for 2.4 million. Wow. So you do like to travel? I do enjoy it. I feel like variety is the spice of life there. So, I mean, I’ve been in the desert for a long time. 20 plus years, probably, probably closer to 30 if I, because I, my family came here in the eighties and then I left for a bit and then it came back.
So it’s been a long time. One of the things I happen to know about you is that you are one step under being like a Somalia when it comes to wine. Is this true?
I’m a wine enthusiast or I think that’s probably as high as we want to go. Okay, so, so not quite wine scientists, just wine enthusiasts. So I brought you something. So we were in an, I don’t know what it was. What kind of stores were they sell fancy stuff like some fancy wines and such a wine store well, we’re fancy.
So we were, we were walking then and you pointed at one of these bottles of wine. You go, Oh, that one’s really nice. Oh, yeah. Well, I remembered it was this one. Oh, my very first love. It wasn’t 20, 20, but it was this, this wine. Well, tell me about it. Oh, okay. So I know it’s been a while since I’ve had this one, but I remember it is just very nice, and it was a very light red and it went really well with all the things I was eating.
That’s what I remember. It was good. It was a good sipper with a movie. It was late at night when my girls were little. Do you know how to taste wines? Don’t I? Do not actually. All right, so let’s. Well, I mean, I guess I do. I just drink it I know how to taste wine, how to drink. Oh, yeah.
No, I do not know how to taste wine. I just drink it. So I just kind of glug that in there because we don’t have an aerator. That’s one of the things that you can do to wine to change the flavor profile. It kind of opens it up. Red wine is very usually very dense and complex, and you want to get a bunch of air bubbles in there so you can do the whole spinny thing.
So you’re spinning it to get air bubbles in it. Yeah, to get to have air pass over the surface of the wine. So then it infuses oxygen into the wine itself, which I get so no, we’re not chugging, so we’re going to taste it here. Cheers. Oops. Cheers. Okay, so first you’re going to smell it. It’s kind of earthy, like tobacco.
It’s me. So you’re going to look, you’re going to smell it, you’re going to look at it so you can see it. You can kind of tell the body of your wine based on how it sticks to your glass. Things you can say about wine and about your wife. Nice legs, babe.
Oh, cheesy wine jokes. Okay. And then you’re going to. And then you get to you’re going to sip it. Is this where you get to make the noise? Like you can? So always the first does that better for you anyway? No, my. Okay, so actually that, you know, 80% of taste is your smell. So sometimes in your tasting, if you swallow and then you exhale through your nose, close your mouth, exhale through your nose, you kind of get different notes of what you’re tasting.
That’s weird, right? This one’s nice. It’s not super heavy, but it’s nice, like acidic a little bit of like it’s a bright, bright on my top part of a like a wine group where you and some people get together on a regular basis. And basically, each brings something and you talk about it. I mean, that’s kind of just a typical Friday night, but yes.
So a couple of years ago, I joined a group of ladies who it’s part of a direct-selling wine company and we host parties and we taste a bunch of wines together and talk about how to pair them with foods and how to store them. And so if I wanted to pretend like I knew what I was talking about, what sort of lingo is attached to these nice legs?
Yeah. So we can call them teardrops or we call them legs coming down from the top of the wineglass there tells you about the body of the wine. So if they come down super fast, it’s a light-bodied wine. If they come down super slow, then, you know, it is a medium or full-bodied wine. So what is this one?
Medium to light. Yeah. So on. It is kind of on a scale from, you know, skim milk cream kind of in there, if you think about it like that. I had no idea this was the thing. Yeah. So you talk about the nose, you smell it. So it has a nose of blackberries and tobacco, right? And then you take the sip and then you take to talk about does it sip differently than it smelled.
And then it’ll change over time. If you let this sit out for an hour and then you go back and sip it, it’ll taste different because you have different aeration. You have more oxygen in the wine. So then the molecules have opened up and spread, you know, gotten oxygen in there, and then it tastes different. All the things are so good.
You don’t play a game. Yes. Okay. This is called the cork game.
And we’re going to drop the cork and see if we can get it to land on the end. And whoever gets it to land on the end first wins like drop and stay. Okay. Do you get it? You had to drop it and have it. So it’s got a point. Yeah, like that. Oh, close. Have you ever wanted to know how to make a podcast an hour long?
Oh, oh. And we got that film right. Do you get that? I felt like three the cork game winner well, Kerry, you are an incredibly successful woman, a wonderful mother. I’ve learned so much about wine. You have taught me years and years about real estate. We’re going to put your information at the bottom. So anyone who would like to get a hold of you can get a hold of you and learn more about islands, wines, real estate, and run rum, rum.
You know, I can give good wrecks on rum right now. There you go. Because it’s fresh in your mind, hopefully, especially your bloodstream. Congratulations on being a double-diamond winner. Thank you. I know that it takes years of hard work to get here. Then a great journey, honestly. Is there anything else you would like your friends and family and future friends and family to know?
I think the main reason I continue in real estate because it has its challenges is really the people that I meet along the way that I would never have met in some other profession. You know, there’s been a few points in my career that have been a struggle and that were super challenging. And I’m thinking, you know, so I said, I’m doing this.
And I go back to a nine to five banker’s hours something. And then there’s always a client that comes along that just becomes near and dear to my heart. And they become besties and we drink wine together and it really redeems the whole season for me when I can make those heart connections with clients. So, uh, that is one of the greatest impetus behind my continued success, I think is the connections that I make and making friends along the way.
Well, I’ll, I’ll toast to that. Yeah. So to friends, the family night is a kind of special beer from my work to