KATE PARKHOMENKO, REALTOR
Keeping a positive mindset is so important to Kate Parkhomenko that she made it her license plate. The Realtor with the Parkhomenko Real Estate Team jokes that the POSITIF plate and the mindset go together because realtors spend so much time in their cars.
“We try to spread ourselves all the way from Barrie to Burlington,” Kate says. “We try to be everywhere our clients want to be and, in terms of pre-construction sales, we don’t know where the developers are going for their next project so we are always flexible and always travelling to be where we are needed.”
“We” are the family-focused individuals who make up the Parkhomenko Real Estate Team. Kate has partnered up with Olga Parkhomenko, her mother-in-law and the inspiration behind her going into the business.
“It’s a family business. Even through our team includes others too, we share a family feeling and that means a lot. We can honestly trust each other as we work together,” Kate says. “Family is all about being able to ask another member of the team for help without having to worry that they’ll steal your customers! It means that there is always support for everyone and each of us can do a better job for our clients as a result. I never take that feeling for granted. Never. I always appreciate it.”
That appreciation for the family business comes not just from the role it plays in helping Kate and her husband support their two children, it comes from the role Olga played in helping Kate find her way through life.
“I came from nothing,” Kate says. “Really nothing. I came to Canada as an immigrant from Russia.
Kate was raised by her grandparents who sold fruit and vegetables in the countryside after her parents divorced. Her mother later moved to Canada and invited her daughter to join her here. Shortly after Kate arrived at the age of twelve, she found she had to leave her mother’s home due to conflict and indifference. The two had never properly bonded as mother and daughter.
“I rented a room with a bunch of other young people to push through high school, skipping from one friend to next,” Kate remembers. “I started working at a hotel and went to college thanks to a low income bursary and met my husband online while trying out for a talent show he had created online. His family took me in and Olga helped to finish raising me. When I went to live with my husband’s family, she taught me so much. She’s been a mentor, a parent and a friend. People we work with often think she’s my mother and say, ‘you look alike’ and it might have become true because we are so close.”
Thanks to the emotional support of her husband’s family, Kate finished college with a diploma in accounting and worked in that industry for about 4 years. Then, after the birth of her first child, Kate became a yoga fan and competitive body-builder.
“I lost 68 pounds and that energy just started driving me,” Kate says. “I can’t sit in one spot and I have to be out there getting things done. When I was working in accounting, my colleagues were always asking me, ‘what are you doing here?’ because it was clear I needed to do something else. Nine to five is just not me. I need to set my own schedule and use my positivity to motivate other people.”
Ten years ago her mother-in-law invited her to join the business. It wasn’t the first time Olga had advised Kate to get into Real Estate, but with her new attitude and her new body, Kate knew it was finally time to make the change.
“It’s a business for extroverts and that is me,” Kate says. “I’m a social butterfly and love being out there, but at first the risk felt just huge. When you first become a realtor you are always taking courses and paying for examinations, so there are a lot of expenses. I’d left a steady job and a steady income. Every time I had to pay more to learn more, I remembered getting a raise of 25 cents an hour for moving up into a controller position. I might have been climbing the corporate ladder, but it just didn’t make sense to work for 25 cents an hour more when I could be generating wealth for my own family and taking better care of them by becoming part of the team.”
What followed that initial investment of time and study was an opportunity to help others realize their own dreams by helping them to learn to manage risks in Real Estate investing. One tool Kate has at her disposal is the Platinum Process. Platinum VIP agents are the first group to gain access to sales within a condo building or housing development who are outside of the developer’s own friends and family.
The Platinum agents are generally those who have sold the most units for the developer during their previous projects. They are rewarded with first access and can offer their clients the best prices. “The Platinum Performer status is hard to achieve and I am very proud of earning it,” Kate admits. “It’s an exclusive area to work in directly with the builders from the earliest stages of a development. We work with much lower pricing early on and, by the time the property is built, it has already appreciated significantly. The first thing I teach people is not to wait to buy real estate, but to buy real estate and wait. The time to buy was always yesterday!”
The Platinum Process means that Kate’s focus is on pre-construction sales and it’s an approach that suits both first time buyers who are looking for a new build and those looking for investment properties.
“Immigration is on the increase, rent is going up,” Kate says. “Real Estate is a safe investment, but only if you work with trustworthy people. We know the industry and we can guide you based on our experience. It’s important in this industry to be able to feel people and understand their energy. I just focus on the client, on what they need, and everything else flows from that.”
Kate Baggott's technology and business journalism has appeared in the Technology Review at MIT, the Globe and Mail, Canada Computes, the Vancouver Sun, and on the Business to Business News Network
Kate Baggott is the author of two short story collections.