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Catching up with Usaj Realty's Kristina Casinelli

Posted at 04/02/2021 09:30 AM by Pat O'Connor

denver realtor | kristina casinelli usaj realty

In a matter of four years, Kristina Casinelli started a new career as a real estate broker, got married, had a child and successfully navigated an increasingly challenging housing market. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic initially threw wrenches into the Denver home buying and selling process, it soon morphed into one of the hottest home sellers’ markets on record. As a result, using a variety of online and virtual tools, Casinelli was able to post her best sales year to date in 2020. 

While low home inventory and rising prices continue to make the home buying process daunting, she remains upbeat about the Denver market. Read more about her journey and how she is helping prospective home buyers become homeowners.

You’ve been a Realtor with Usaj Realty since 2017. What has stood out for you over the last four years and what have you learned?

My confidence as a Realtor has grown tremendously in the last four years. The industry can be very intimidating starting out, especially in a fast-paced and competitive market like Denver. There are a lot of moving parts and I’ve learned how to help buyers and sellers navigate the process as smoothly as possible, from start to finish. Experience matters, especially in a market like this one.

Talk a little bit about the Denver real estate market and how it’s changed since you started in the business.

Denver has been a seller’s market since I’ve been a Realtor, but the last few months have been especially challenging for buyers. In order to win contracts, my buyers are offering terms and waiving deadlines that we’ve never had to do before. It used to be that buyers could offer appraisal gap coverage from $3K - $15K and that was competitive. Today, if you don’t write in “unlimited” appraisal gap coverage along with an offer significantly above list price, you likely won’t be considered. Buyers are also waiving inspection objection deadlines upfront, meaning they cannot ask the seller for any repairs that might come up at inspection. Essentially buyers have to “give up” their contract power upfront in order to win the house.

What have been some of your biggest professional accomplishments? Describe a particularly satisfying event.

At the start of the pandemic, many believed the housing market would take a huge hit with so many people losing their jobs. However, COVID-19 has had the opposite effect. Suddenly everyone needed a home office, home gym and outdoor space. Fueled by low interest rates and already low inventory, the pandemic has created the perfect storm for an incredibly competitive housing market.

Not only was 2020 my best sales year to date, it was satisfying to show up for my clients in new ways during such an uncertain time. Things were changing so suddenly and I tried to always have a Plan B and a Plan C in place. I did anything I could to help absorb unnecessary stress for my buyers and sellers. I also became a pro at FaceTime showings!

"Things were changing so suddenly and I tried to always have a Plan B and a Plan C in place. I did anything I could to help absorb unnecessary stress for my buyers and sellers."

Any particular strategies you’ve found helpful when trying to help buyers find homes both during the pandemic and in an extended home sellers’ market.

One of my favorite strategies is to set up a separate MLS search for buyers with properties that have been on the market for seven or more days. If the home doesn’t sell in the first two weekends, you might have a chance of being the only offer in. I also recommend focusing on homes that are $30K - 80K (depending on the price point) below the buyer’s max budget so that there is room to go up. Multiple offers, usually in the first weekend, can drive up the home price significantly. You want to start at a lower price point so you don’t get priced out as quickly.

"Multiple offers, usually in the first weekend, can drive up the home price significantly. You want to start at a lower price point so you don’t get priced out as quickly."

What do you enjoy most about what you do? Any advice to people considering becoming a broker?

I’ve always leaned toward service-oriented careers and my background before real estate was in nonprofits and education. I also grew up in an entrepreneurial family where I saw first-hand both the risks and rewards of being a business owner. For me, real estate combines my love of service and helping others with the challenge and excitement of running a business. 

My advice to people considering becoming a broker is to meet with agents who are established in the industry already. I think there’s a perception that real estate agents make “easy money,” especially in a hot market like Denver. In reality, working in a market like ours means it's even more competitive to get listings and to get your buyers under contract. In Denver there are many more realtors than homes to sell! 

How do you start your day? What apps, tools or routines do you use that have helped grow your business?

In order for my day to go smoothly, I have to start it at least an hour before my two year old wakes up! Full-time Realtors have very busy days and the schedule can quickly become unpredictable. My morning routine starts the night before. I write down my tasks, goals, and contract deadlines for the upcoming day and week. I find that when I physically write things down on paper or on my whiteboard, they are much more likely to get accomplished.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love going for walks at Wash Park or Sloan’s Lake. I also enjoy taking Pilates classes at my favorite local studio, Fierce45. And of course, spending as much time as possible with my husband Adam and our two-year-old daughter Cece. 

Visit Kristina's Website: SolterraLife.com

Learn More about  Kristina Casinelli

Posted by Pat O'Connor

Pat O’Connor has dual citizenship in both Wisconsin and Colorado, having been born and raised in Wisconsin Dells, but later adopted by the Centennial State. A graduate of the University of Colorado (B.S. Journalism, 1980), O’Connor began her career as a sportswriter at the Boulder Daily Camera under the tutelage of the venerable Dan Creedon. Her experience also includes stints in public relations at Aspen Highlands Ski Area, the Colorado Trial Lawyers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. When she isn’t piecing together sentences, the self-proclaimed “Cheesehead” enjoys hanging out with her three kids and assortment of family pets, running, playing golf, hiking 14ers, horseback riding and skiing. As a mother to two (at one time three) competitive swimmers, her favorite fragrance is eau de chlorine. During football season, she can be found cheering for the Buffs on Saturdays and screaming when the Packers score on Sundays. She loves talking sports and giving recommendations on cheese curds.

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Topics: Home Buying, Home Selling