Jen Kay is the FIRST in our Partner Profiles! She and I dialogued over email and I learned quite a bit! Look out for Jen in the future- you just might see her articles on Realtor Wives soon!
JEN KAY is married to Athol Kay who blogs and practices Real Estate in Bristol, CT. When asked how Athol got involved in Real Estate, Jen said, “Athol was a nurse for ten years and enjoyed the "helping people" aspect of it but was frustrated with the company he worked for. During the ‘I need to change careers...but what do I want to do?!’ phase, we were outgrowing our current house and decided to move. Not only did we find a wonderful real estate agent but Athol also did his homework so we could be an active part of the buying and selling process. We had a fabulous and very new real estate agent (give the new guy, or in this case woman, a chance!) who was also excited about the whole process.
The further we got into exploring what our needs and wants were, the more we saw how much a new home would affect our life and how we live it, and the more Athol saw that this was a career path that excited him. A way to help people, to better their lives, to make your own schedule, and make a living at it...hmmm... So he took the plunge and enrolled in the real estate course, and the ball started rolling! It was admittedly a bit nerve wracking to start a new career (okay a lot...see my gray hair?), but thanks to our own good real estate investment, we were able to put aside the "until the new agent starts bringing in the dough" nest egg and off we went!”
Jen noted that Athol is “a popular guy at the office because he's the one who will say ‘yes, I'll help you out with that open house! Floor time...sure!’ With clients, his perspective is not ‘How much money will this client make me?’ but ‘How can I help this person achieve his or her goals?’”
What makes Jen’s husband different is that “he doesn't just work as a real estate agent, he reads a gazillion real estate blogs, writes one himself, talks to other realtors, refines and redevelops his own materials...real estate oozes from his pores. He is also much more in tune with the industry as a whole than the "average" realtor might be.”
As any Realtor Wife knows, every good man needs a strong woman beside him! “The most important thing that I did [for Athol] at first was to give him permission...permission to take a chance on a new career...permission to explore something that he had a passion for. This was going to be something that would rock our family's world, but I trusted that he could make it happen! Just saying, ‘Yes! Go for it!’ meant a lot, and now ongoing support and positive reinforcement still means a lot. Also, being an avid, interested reader of his blog is important, and being someone to bounce ideas off of.”
We all know that a particular difficulty in the industry is balancing work, family, etc. “The evenings are an exercise in scheduling. For my job, I have to work about two evenings a week, so we are often comparing schedules to see who needs to escape to an appointment. We are both home for the girls' bedtime 99% of the time or there is much indignation. The first time Athol missed bedtime because he was writing up an offer with a client; our daughters were rather ticked at him. I carefully explained to them that daddy was out making money at his new job and they were appeased. Our younger daughter may only be eight, but she understands about money...she was especially sympathetic.”
Like most Realtor Wives, Jen is more than just a pretty face in a stylish suit- she’s a woman on the go like her husband! “I work for a non-profit foster care and adoption agency. I recruit people to be foster parents for special needs kids (medically fragile kids, kids with PTSD, abused and neglected, autistic, behavioral and emotional issues etc.; kids who are hard to place because of their special needs). I then guide the potential foster families through the licensing process of paperwork and training, and do home visits with each family to make sure their homes are safe and see how the family members interact with each other. I have been working for the same company since I graduated college in 1994 and loving what I do.”
From down here in Texas, Bristol, CT seems like a world away, but Jen and Athol’s story of landing in Bristol is relatable. “It’s a great town with one of everything you could possibly need, close to major highways, but small enough for the small town feel. Athol takes full credit for choosing Bristol as a place to put down roots in 1995 when we were looking for our first apartment together. He took out a map, perused it for a minute, and said, we're going to live in Bristol. Close to highways, half way between both of our offices, good population, and far enough away from family to not be living in each other's laps.’ I was newly married and willing to do anything my God of a husband said...but secretly somewhat skeptical. (He's reading over my shoulder at the moment and says, "Can I quote you on the God part?!") Turns out he was absolutely correct. We've been in Bristol ever since.”
Who lives in Bristol with the Kay Family? “Our two daughters, ages eight and nine-and-a-half (the half is very important at that age) and they are keeping us hopping now more than ever, but really couldn't ask for better kids. I'm a Connecticut native, and he's a New Zealander (a "Kiwi" to the initiated). Yes, the two most geographically distant points if you pull out your globe. Funny how those things work out. We have two cats...no dogs...ever. That was practically in our marriage vows- the no dogs part. The girls know about the no dogs thing, but that doesn't stop them from periodically mentioning how much fun it would be to have a dog. The little one would rather have a horse, truth be told, but she knows we're not zoned for that around here.”
When reading Realtor Wives, it is great to meet other women (or Realtor Husbands) and learn their stories! Jen is amazingly supportive to Athol as he quickly impresses the Real Estate world from allllll the way up in Bristol, CT. With their quick wit and combined intelligence, I anticipate that you will get a chance to know both of them better through Realtor Wives and RE Agent in CT. Look out for Jen- if I can convince her, she’ll be writing for Realtor Wives soon!