August 2019 Issue of Orlando Real Producers
Keep an eye out for this month's edition of Orlando Real Producers magazine!
Karen Arbutine – Featured Agent
“Do the right thing when nobody’s looking” is the motto for one of the more successful agents of the past decade, Karen Arbutine. With a career rooted in integrity and mutual trust with others, Karen has an unmatched care for her clients and a tenacious effort to continue to grow her already incredible business.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Karen moved to Clearwater, Florida upon graduating high school. She went on to work for her family’s business while attending night school. At age 19, she bought her first house and got a taste of how the transaction process works and absolutely loved the idea of becoming a realtor.
However, at such a young age and having a mortgage to care of, Karen played it safe for several years and worked in management in the high-end retail industry. “It sucked to be honest with you,” she laughed. “Long hours, nights, weekends.” Karen kept real estate fresh in her mind and became more immersed with the investment aspect of the business, renting out multiple houses to build her portfolio. Then, on one of her weeks off, she got her real estate license and took the leap towards her dream.
“People have to like you before they buy anything from you. I don’t care what you’re selling.”
“When I first started out, I worked every day of the year…It was a must-win situation.” Karen’s desire to succeed and her refusal of failure were key in getting the ball rolling for her business. When she joined RE/MAX in 2007, she aimed for the top and never looked back.
Over her career, Karen has gone from being told that she couldn’t sell to selling a multi-million dollar home to Orlando Magic legend Dwight Howard. And just last year, she compiled a sales volume of $25 million. And even more impressively, Karen is a single agent, without any assistants apart from her virtual marketing team.
Boredom is nonexistent when it comes to Karen’s real estate grind. She is most passionate about challenging herself and setting herself apart from other agents. Known for consistently selling houses for the highest price per square foot in a neighborhood, Karen is someone who is unafraid of shooting for the stars. “People are like, ‘How does she do it?’,” she explained. “I’m willing to go for it, and I’m willing to do the extra work that’s involved.”
The most rewarding part of the business to Karen is seeing people achieve the American Dream of home ownership and helping them create their own unforgettable memories. “When I was little – and we moved around a lot – I always remembered how my dad would drive us back and knock on the door of the places we lived to see who lived there now. It’s such a nostalgic feel with all the memories of when you grow up in a house. I know some of my customers who do that too today.”
Karen advises aspiring top producers to use the golden rule with clients. With that, she creates great relationships with those she works with. Relationship building has always been a pillar that supports her business. She has a great skill of communication that she has primed from the start of her career when face-to-face communication played a bigger role than the internet. And it has only improved her relations with clients and ultimately her sales. “People have to like you before they buy anything from you. I don’t care what you’re selling.”
As for her work-life balance, Karen proudly says that it is under control, but the way she has maintained that balance has changed over the years. “When you’re trying to start your business, you just have to pour it on- work every day, put your heart and soul in it. Then once you have it going, it’s like a well-oiled machine. It keeps self-perpetuating. If you do well by people, they will refer you.”
In her free time, Karen volunteers at a Labrador retriever rescue. For 20 years, she has shown her love for saving animals and finding families for them. “It’s so rewarding helping the animals find homes. Just as rewarding as helping people…It’s just magical.”
“It’s so rewarding helping the animals find homes...”
Karen is a caregiver at heart, as her passion for finding homes for rescued pups parallel her love for her service to home buyers. She is always going the extra mile to make sure clients come out ahead on each transaction. “I go into some listings where the client doesn’t have any money for paint, carpet, and they’re not going to reap the benefits and get a return on investment. So, I have paid for those services to help them get their house show-ready on several occasions.”
It is Karen’s uniquely strong belief in people and faith in humanity that allows her to do such things. Upon beckon call, Karen will help anyone, no matter the situation, no matter the difficulty, and regardless of what company they work for. That is what makes Karen a top producer. “Anybody who meets me or really knows me, knows that I will go out of my way to do anything for anybody if I can help.”