In 2015, BNP was a small team of just 3, and we were ready to grow.
I was working with a coach at the time, and I remember the call where I told him I needed to make a hire.
He asked me: “If you could hire any agent in your market, who would you choose?”
I answered instantly: “Chara Stuart, and her daughter Chelsea Messer.”
Less than a week later, they had signed on.
If you’ve worked with Chara, you have experienced her loving nature, the importance she puts on learning where you are in your journey and meeting you there, and her genuine care and concern for you as a whole person.
That said, she’s also a fierce negotiator and an intuitive organizer.
I thoroughly enjoyed this Q&A with her, and I hope you will as well…
Q: Chara, one thing I’ve learned from you is that the phrase, “I want to buy a house,” really means, “I have a relatively complex puzzle I’m trying to solve, I only have some of the pieces, and I’m hoping you can help me find the others and put the whole thing together.” Can you speak more to that?
A: The essence is to ask a lot of questions. Listen. Observe, perceive, clarify and sometimes diplomatically test. Some clients don’t fully know their needs and it’s a process of discovery. Often there are competing or conflicting needs between buyer couples where it becomes very important to find the common priorities.
Making it happen is step two! That’s where the ‘team’ & resources come in. We prevail often because we work a little harder, a little smarter, a little faster, and are backed by amazing, smart, qualified people! There are market conditions we can’t control, but we are experienced in making things happen with time and patience.
Q: Tell us about a client success story you’re particularly proud of.
A: There are many. Recently, a new buyer client, whom I met briefly at an open house, later called and asked to interview us. She chose to leave her former agent to work with Chelsea and me and is now over the moon happy with “the best home in the world”. She is presently unpacking in for the holidays.
Another is a recent closing with clients from Colorado, who also reached out to us after being disappointed by their previous agent. Their experience was night-and-day different with a very happy ending.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: No day is typical in this business. There are some foundations, as in brushing my teeth and being grateful, but beyond that, the schedule can veer wildly! I worked 12-hour days 80-hour weeks in the oil fields and never experienced the fatigue I can have with real estate. I think the variables in people’s personalities, needs, and task demands — especially in this digital age — is what can be exhausting and exhilarating. I’d be like a wild animal in a cage if I was at a punch-the-clock cubicle though. That’s why this career was such a great discovery for me.
Q: Can you give us an example of your role as a problem solver?
A: Actually there are several! Some highlights might be helping clients with very tight timelines and criteria. Or searching for the sight-unseen buyers who weren’t going to live in Bellingham for another 8 years, and finding them that off-market home that fit like a glove. That sale solved both the buyer’s and seller’s needs. Or prevailing on a multiple-offer purchase by making a combined donation from our client and ourselves to the seller’s preferred charity, which caused them to choose our offer! That particular charity was one both Chelsea and I had long supported.
Q: Chara, what advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
A: Learn to love the questions! You don’t have to know everything or what you want to be. Enjoy the process of discovery. Every step will lead to answers. And don’t push the fast-forward button!
Below: Chara with her grandson Asher, and Moose the yellow lab.