I met Laura in 2005, when I was a new college grad from U of I and a new hire into the Pulte Homes Sales Team World, which consisted mostly of college recruits as well as legends in the New Home Sales world. To say we experienced a lot of highs and a lot of lows would be an understatement. Starting our careers in the height of the market in the early 2000’s was nuts! We worked ridiculously hard, basically 100 hours/week, grinding away every day including every single Saturday and Sunday to hit our sales goals that were ridiculously high, thanks to being able to sell real estate in the height of the market. We never asked for a day off (and we were never granted a day off even if we asked).

The culture here was that hard work was expected, and Laura and I both understood this and partook in this culture. We celebrated our hard work after hours with our other team members from sales, construction, VP level positions, etc. It was 2005 after all, and new home sales were at an all-time high, so while the culture was work hard it was also play hard and we spend day and night with our colleagues! These people were our closest friends, and Pulte really was like a family.

Then came 2007 and 2008… and this is when we also celebrated some lows. Laura and I both worked with Pulte Homes through the downturn, and we saw our sales team cut by about 75% and many other positions within the company heavily reduced. We had some very dear friends leave the company or get let go. We went from selling in communities where buyers were lining up outside our sales center trailers, selling out 200+ home communities in a few days, to being anxious each week we’d lose our jobs to RIF’s or pit on PIP’s, or just being burnt out working 7 days a week and getting told ‘no’ time after time by prospective buyers and making less $$. Laura and I, however, became closer during this time, as we were able to get the opportunity to lead all the grand openings with new developments that Pulte was starting. We were fortunate to get to experience this together, and I respected Laura even more than I already did with her crazy hard work ethic during this down market. While we maybe sold less homes during this time, we got a unique exposure to the entire new construction process, from land acquisition and planning all the way through implementing sales and marketing. Laura and I could collaborate on ideas on what was working for opening the new developments, and we could also commiserate about well… many things.

Fast forward to a Summer Day in 2014 when Laura and I had a rare day off together and were at the pool. We thought it might be time to leave Pulte and the excellent training and opportunities that it provided, and start our own real estate Brokerage. I can’t remember who said it first, but one of us said, “we should open our own real estate brokerage” and the other goes “yeah! We should!” And from that day on we worked every day to be even better than we were. I knew that Laura would be one of the only people I could ever partner with. She is extremely smart, ambitious, ethical, came from the same training background, had similar goals and vision, and also liked to have fun and celebrate win or lose. I look up to her so much bc Laura can do it all! She had just had her second daughter, Ellie, was building a new home, and yet had the ambition to leave a very successful and comfortable career and start a new real estate brokerage with me. We left Pulte Homes in 2015 and, with the exception of leaving great people and probably being scared to death if we were making the right decision, we never looked back.

Fast forward now to August 2023, and we have built a team of successful women that’s in the top 1% of real estate teams in the city and suburbs. We have shared and celebrated some incredible experiences – selling some of the most successful new construction buildings in the city, building our residential business in the city and suburbs, growing a team of the 2 of us to 10 amazing women, taking amazing trips together, sharing birthdays, holidays, and even tears.

Now… fast forward to this week, and it will be the end of an era for Laura and me. Laura will be starting a new position at a local brokerage in Downers Grove, to focus on continuing to build the successful business she’s built to this day. Our partnership may be ending, but our friendship will be forever. Laura and her family are family to me, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. I always say she is the best, bc she truly is the best! And I’m excited to see where her new venture leads her. Cheers to the best, her team, and her future success!


Karen Schwartz

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