Kristen had an idyllic existence growing up in Carmel with her family with the aspirations and determination to attend an Ivy League School. Then, it being the ‘70’s and an end of an era, “with no lifeguard on duty,” as she puts it, she found herself on her own instead of college bound as planned.
At Highland Partners, we believe that having an interesting life story makes for an amazing Realtor. Luckily for us, Kristen’s journey got even more interesting. She settled in Alameda and worked in the travel industry. She enjoyed being “on vacation for 18 years,” but always considered the East Bay her home. As Kristen puts it, “the Bay Area has so much juice--the incredible restaurants, the diversity, the weather!” No matter what remarkable area she visited around the world during her career, she always returned home.
“Kristen was the only agent who really listened to what I wanted. She made the whole transaction smooth and easy, explained options as we progressed, and negotiated diligently as we progressed. We never felt as if it was moving too fast or that we were not in the driver’s seat. We love our house, and would recommend her to anyone who needs someone who’ll take the time to truly listen to what they’re after, then have the ability and local knowledge to help them to get the place of their dreams!” – Mark and Heather T.
She is a natural at the intuitive negotiations necessary to achieve her clients' goals. She attributes it partly due to her international travel experiences and connections. “I was a natural when haggling in the markets while on holiday. I am a great bargainer.” After years of customer service in the travel industry, Kristen was also a natural at making clients feel at ease.
While working for another agency, Kristen admits that she was drawn to Highland Partners since our founding in 2009. “I used to think of Highland Partners as ‘the other man’. I enjoyed the agency that I was with, but I longingly looked at Highland Partners as an agency where the grass was greener.” Our international network, and the team-driven atmosphere appealed to Kristen. “I loved that everyone seemed to be a group of balanced people with well-rounded lives.” And well-rounded, she is. Not only does Kristen excel in her career as a top-producing agent, she also plays bagpipes, volunteers, writes screenplays, and enjoys spending time with her family.
It turns out that the grass was greener because Kristen joined us at Highland Partners. She enjoys being here and we love having her. “Everyone is very gracious and available. No one is stingy with their knowledge. While we have good-natured competition that pushes one another, it is collaborative and encouraging.”
“Although comparable homes were not selling, we were able to secure a solid offer in short order due to Kristen’s marketing strategy and her intimate knowledge of the real estate market. She is extremely familiar with the unique charm and quaintness of the homes in the area, and she knows how to make things happen.” – Jeff V.
She recently found what seemed the right home for buyers, but it wasn't on the market. She approached the owners with tact and care, and discovered that they wanted to sell, but without the usual rigmarole. She brought them an offer and a match was made - with both sellers and buyers having an ideal outcome. She attributes her success to her humility. We attribute it to her moxy and skill.
“Living, loving and working as a Realtor in the East Bay has been a beautiful existence. I love being around like-minded, forward thinking people. I love being able to play my bag pipes down the street of Montclair on St. Patrick’s Day with a cocktail in hand while my neighbors say hello and yell out requests! I think of Oakland as a person, there is just something about it that keeps me coming back. Although I have traveled the world, Oakland has my heart.”
Her heart is also with her family, children and animals. Kristen volunteers with her daughter’s school and the SPCA.
To connect with Kristen, visit her website and follow her musings on Instagram @KVB1.