Pat Olson is in the hot seat this week! See what she has to say about growing up in Marquette & her love of mid-century modern style.
- What’s the strangest/scariest/funniest thing you’ve experienced on a showing?
I had a vacant home (listed for sale) that was shown and the door leading to the balcony off of the master bathroom wasn’t properly latched. This was during the wintertime. At the next showing, I discovered the master bedroom had snow banks in it! “I had to literally shovel the master bedroom carpet. Thus, I pitched it as an all season room!”
- Why did you choose to sell homes?
“When I came back to the U.P., I wanted something completely different from IT.” I’ve always loved interior design and selling homes provided the opportunity to help people buy or sell their home while combining my interior design curiosity. It also helped me to get to know areas of Marquette again.
- What is your favorite thing about working in/with real estate?
“I really enjoy working with people to find their next home. It’s satisfying to help people navigate through the process and help them achieve a major milestone in their lives.”
- What are your hobbies outside of work?
“Basically almost anything outdoors. I hike all year.” In the wintertime, I like snowshoeing & cross-country skiing. During the summer, I enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding & biking.
- Where are you from?
Marquette, MI. “I grew up in Marquette, left for 25 years and finally found my way back. Marquette was always home, even when we weren’t here. There’s something about Marquette that grabs people.” It’s the outdoors, but it’s also the people and the community, “…[these things] are really a testimony to what we have here.” For the Ore to Shore bike race, I was working registration and talked to a gentleman from Minneapolis. He explained that he stopped at a B.P. station to fill up on the way here, with his bike in tow. A Marquette County sheriff turned in to pull around and said ‘Hey, good luck on the Ore to Shore tomorrow.” He was so impressed that this guy stopped to say good luck. Next year, needless to say, he’s bringing his son with him! This is what differentiates us from other places and people.
- If you could live in any type of home, what would it be?
“We built our dream [home].” I really love mid-century modern architecture. We built a modern home here and furnished it with mid-century modern furnishings. We have vintage furniture and art from Denmark, Italy and all over the United States. “The fun is in the hunt…especially old vintage stuff because good stuff is hard to find.”
- How would you describe your style? For anything and everything?
“My style is retro and vintage.” I can really appreciate the arts and crafts style, but retro and vintage is fun; it’s often whimsical and lively and it puts a smile on my face!
- What are the top 3 things/ pieces of advice you’d give your clients, who are either buying or selling?
“The first thing is to talk to your bank and understand what you qualify for. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a home you can’t afford. Second is to explain buyer agency to buyers; people don’t understand that they can and should contract with an agent on their behalf. It saves buyers’ time as an agent gets to know their taste so they don’t spend their time on homes that don’t meet their needs. Agency gives them someone who is working solely for their benefit. Finally, sellers need to look at their home through the eyes of a potential buyer. De-clutter, depersonalize and perhaps stage for a wider appeal.”
- What are a few things people misunderstand about real estate?
“Designated agency. Buyers don’t need to contact multiple agents when looking for a home. They can contract with someone and can simplify the process. I also find that first time home buyers don’t understand the steps involved in buying a home. They don’t know what happens when, how to handle issues that arise and the cost of all the aspects of the home buying process. It is up to us [as REALTORS®] to educate them so they are informed buyers.”
- Any special neighborhood stories you want to share?
How about a story about my childhood neighborhood? “I grew up on W. Michigan St.” The home we lived in was a little home behind Schwalbach’s which was Wolf’s Sewing Center at the time – it is now a parking lot as we donated our home to Habitat for Humanity and it was moved. Growing up, I took piano lessons from an elderly lady who lived on Third St. and Michigan St. This house has now become Black Rocks Brewery! “My piano teacher would love to hear that music is still alive and well there! This is just an example of how Marquette has changed.”
- What’s your favorite type of architecture/ building style or home style/ architecture?
Mid-century modern without question.
- Which building do you think is the oldest in Marquette?
“I have no idea…but I’ve shown some [properties] that I think would qualify!”
- Are you excited for all of the change and growth in and around the area?
“Yeah, I think it’s exciting to see Marquette come into its own; we’ve managed our growth well thus far. I think it’s appropriate that Marquette is being recognized as a destination city.” That’s how we want to grow. “Our uniqueness and our beauty is in what we have here.” As long as we preserve that, it’s good growth. “The Rippling River Campground is a good example of good growth capitalizing on our natural resources.”
- What’s beneficial about having your own business?
“I’m in charge of my own destiny and I’m accountable for my decisions, good, bad or otherwise.”
- Anyone or company in particular you enjoy working with through the real estate process?
Great Northern Title, “I think they do a great job. They really help buyers and sellers overcome obstacles and work their magic on some really tight timetables. They helped me understand some of the nuances of title work [when I started in real estate].”
- What’s your take on flipping and fixer uppers?
“We’ve done it [fixer uppers] over the years in our homes, but on a much longer time table.” I love the thought of it, but I think it’s harder to do up here. “In larger cities, there’s more of a gap between purchase price and sales price and you can do it more successfully.”
- In a perfect world, would you prefer all new construction or old buildings/ homes preserved & renovated?
“I love preserving or restoring 50s & 60s architecture to its’ original glory. Palm Springs has done a great job of restoring their period homes.” If we don’t preserve our treasures, we lose them forever as you can’t re-create some of these structures. “We don’t revere some of our architecture the way they do in Europe. In Germany, for instance, there’s an old cathedral that was spared during the war due to its historical significance; it is still there today.”
- What are some current issues in the real estate world?
“The most relevant issue right now is the possible implications of the proposed tax bill and the potential impact on homeownership [property tax and other deductions]. If some of those are no longer allowed, I think it’s going to have a negative impact on home values.”
- Why choose a REALTOR®?
“It gives you a dedicated resource that is contracted to look out for your best interest whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home. A REALTOR® will assist you [a buyer] in finding a home, help you look as financially attractive as possible to a seller, will help you negotiate an offer, and work through all the additional steps to get you to a successful close. A REALTOR® provides value to sellers as we provide advice on getting your home ‘show ready,’ we help you establish the sales price, market your property, manage all of the showings, assist in the negotiation process and manage inspections, title work, etc. resulting in a smooth, clean close.”
- What’s a myth about real estate?
“The myth about being a REALTOR® is that it’s easy and glamorous. In fact, it’s a lot of hard work and you often have to roll up your sleeves and dive in. There are many tasks that are far from glamorous!”
- What’s your mission statement?
“My mission is to add value to the real estate transaction for my clients. I feel privileged to be involved in the transaction and like to maintain an ongoing relationship after the fact.”
- Who serves the best food in town?
“There is a lot of good food in Marquette. I miss Mediterranean and Indian. I can tell you the best food in Marquette is NOT [made by] me!”
- What is the one thing you’d like to make your mark on in the real estate world?
“In the local real estate market, [I’d like] to help people better understand vacation rentals – regulations, neighborhood implications, costs, myths, etc. I currently own two and can attest to the fact that we aren’t a threat to hotels and we aren’t like a student rental nor are we like a bed and breakfast.” They offer a solution to families that want to stay somewhere as a family. Parents with young children love vacation rentals; they love having private outdoor space which isn’t available in traditional lodging settings. I think they fit well in Marquette if they’re properly managed and maintained. I’ve been actively involved in the discussion regarding current regulations. “The key is to communicate with your neighbors so they understand your business and can reach you if they have any concerns.”
- What’s your favorite company/ business/ organization in town or nearby? Why?
Organization, the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) “NTN is an amazing trail network that has received national recognition. It also sponsors numerous recreational events throughout the local area.” It is run and supported by locals who support the ongoing expansion of NTN. “It drives an amazing amount of tourism/ traffic to the U.P.”
Thank you Pat for taking the time to talk. If you’ve got any more questions for her, she can be reached at 906.250.2215. Or send her an e-mail through her bio page.