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Father’s Day: Meet Pennsylvania Realtors® Who Followed Their Dads Into the Industry

By: Kelly Leighton on in

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in these real estate families.

Many of these now-adult Realtors® remember going to showings with Dad, picking up sale signs and paging through those old MLS books as kids. And then, they followed their dad’s footsteps, also electing to be Realtors®. Here are their stories for Father’s Day.

Greg Herb being sworn in as PAR president by his son, Andy in 2009.

Past PAR President Greg Herb of Herb Real Estate said that while he knew it was a possibility one of his children would go into real estate, his son Andy Herb took classes unbeknownst to him.

Greg got into real estate when he shadowed a Realtor® for a few months. Andy did the same thing in high school, shadowing his dad and learning even more about real estate. Both Herbs really enjoyed the industry and sought out the career.

“I really like real estate,” said Greg. “I like working with people.”

For Andy, he said he knew the real estate industry was always an option. When he was in college, he opted to get his license and began showing classmates and coworkers from a part-time job off-campus rentals and his career blossomed from there.

“Obviously, my dad worked a lot growing up,” said Andy. “But I always played sports and the flexible schedule allowed him to come see me play.”

Andy said being able to see and work with his dad everyday is something he loves.

Greg said one of his favorite memories was when he was installed as PAR president in 2009 by Andy. “Andy was a Realtor® then. It was a family-involved ceremony and very memorable.”

Andy agreed. “I know that my dad was in Harrisburg for PAR stuff, but I never understood it. I got to be a part of it.” Andy said he also cherishes the memory of his dad installing him as a Realtor® in the former Montgomery Association of Realtors® when he got his license.

“It’s awesome that Andy went to real estate. It does add some extra pressure because I wanted to provide opportunities for him to let him grow his own business and tell his own stories,” said Greg.

“If your dad coaches you in a sport, he is harder on you and expects more and this is the same,” said Andy. “But it’s fun because I know my dad has so much respect in the industry, locally, at PAR and at NAR. It’s great to have a reputation that is based on your last name, as well as respect.”

“To survive in this business, you are always learning,” said Greg. “You learn, pick up things and get fresh new ideas. Andy taught me I don’t need to wear a suit everyday.”

“We are fortunate that we are given the opportunity to work together. I know I was tough on him, but I didn’t want him to fail. We are blessed to work together. Andy is doing an amazing job. He will take the company in new directions,” added Greg.

PAR President Chris Raad of Harvey Z. Raad Realtors® said he told his kindergarten class he wanted to be a Realtor® when he grew up, just like his dad George and his grandfather, Harvey. His brother Greg also followed into the business.

George and Chris Raad at Chris’ PAR presidential swearing in.

“I didn’t fully understand what being in the business meant,” said Chris. “It was more seeing the interactions my dad had with people and being able to help them and have a real impact on people’s lives. That was something that I thought was pretty cool, making a dream become a reality. Seeing a lot of the interactions was something I always thought was really neat.”

George said that while he had hoped one of his sons would follow into his footsteps, he didn’t think it would happen. “There are so many options that young people have and they don’t know what they want to do. It was a feeling that I must have done something right for them to want to follow,” he said. “In the same token, I thought they were nuts. They saw me go through so many highs and lows in the profession. It’s a tough profession. But I was proud of the fact that both of them felt they wanted to get into the industry.”

While growing up, Chris and Greg traveled to appointments with their dad. “From a time they were young, they saw it,” said George. “Though I wanted to bop them on the heads a few times, they were really good students of the industry. I’m proud of both of them. It takes a lot to get into this profession and to stick with it. Both have done a wonderful job.”

Over the years, Chris has had much to learn from his dad. For his first year in the business, he had deal after deal fall through and didn’t make a commission until 12 months later.

“I was really proud of him with the setbacks he had in the beginning,” said George. “He stuck with it. I was happy. He persevered. Every deal seemed to fall apart for him. You find out the true character of an individual at the time of adversity. He really blossomed.”

Chris learned the ins and outs of the business from his family, but he said the most important lessons didn’t always end with a paycheck. “I’ve learned to always deal with everyone honestly and how you would want to be dealt with yourself. Place your clients’ best interest ahead of yourself or anyone else. Always do the right thing and make sure that your client was happy at the end of transaction,” Chris said.

As for George, he is grateful to have someone around to help him with growing changes in technology. “I have learned that with each new generation, you have to adapt,” said George. “You have to realize that change is inevitable. For us older individuals who have been in the business for a long time, they helped me to adapt to new things that were happening, especially with technology. Times change and people change. The expectations for a Realtor®, if you don’t adapt to their thinking, you can be lost in the shuffle. I’m thankful my boys that help me adapt to that.”

At the end of the day, George said it’s a passion for them, not a job.  “It has allowed both of us to look at things a lot differently. Having him in the office and seeing him do the things that he is doing and what he has done has been an honor. It’s also a wonderful mark on my dad’s name. Both Chris and Greg have maintained my dad’s name in high esteem. It’s wonderful seeing my sons there and being able to throw things off of them and hear their opinions. It’s been a wonderful 20+ years with them in the office. Having Gretchen [Raad, Chris’ wife] coming into our family as a Realtor® has been such a positive effect on Chris and our whole family. She is a great asset to our family. Real estate has been our life. It is wonderful having our entire family be a part of it.”

Chris added, “The best part is the sense of pride I have in what we have been able to accomplish. We don’t typically look back very often, but I think the closeness and the family aspect of real estate is what I love.”

Kristyn Benedict Martin knew she wanted to be a Realtor®, just like her dad, Darwyn Benedict. She started taking her real estate courses as soon as she was able to at the age of 18.

Darwyn Benedict and Kristyn Benedict Martin

“I grew up with multiple family members in the real estate industry,” she said. “Because of that, I saw that while the schedule can be completely inflexible, it also has a lot of pros. My dad was available to go to field trips, attend career day, etc. So, ultimately, I wanted to be a real estate agent so I could earn some income while also being around my future children a lot.”

With a dad and grandfather in the business, Martin grew up attending showings and remembers her dad having a “car phone,” long before they were popular among the masses. Martin is thankful for all of the early education she received from her family, as it helped her get started in the business.

Benedict said Martin puts her mind to something and does it, so he wasn’t totally shocked when she told him she was becoming an agent.

“The best part about working with my dad is the training I received. I was still living at home when I started, so it was real estate talk from sun up to sun down and easy to grab him for a few minutes to talk through any problems I was having. I also love now that we are able to cover for each other with certainty that our clients are totally in great hands, considering we practically think the same most days,” said Martin.

However, she said while she definitely enjoyed the extra wisdom from her dad, it frustrates her that some people think she didn’t have to work for her success and everything was handed to her by her dad. “Undoubtedly, I have had a hand up, but Dad never gave me a handout,” she said.

“There have been a handful or two of difficult deals that we’ve leaned on each other for support and advice,” added Martin. “I love having him there and being able to celebrate with him when he makes it happen, or vice versa when I cross a tough hurdle. This is a business that it’s hard to explain some of the situations we get in to a non-industry professional, not to mention our duties of confidentiality, so it’s been great to have my dad always there to chat with.”

Benedict said he appreciates all the things his daughter has taught him about the industry. “She helps terrifically in the technology side and with the younger, newer buyers. She explains stuff to me, that they use Snapchat instead of email.”

Now with two young children at home, Martin said she is able to be at home with them more than if she had a 9-to-5 job.

“I just would love to give my dad a Father’s Day shoutout. When I was 19 and the real estate market was quite literally in the toilet and I was dropping out of college to pursue this career, he was the one that supported me 150% and taught me everything he knew without holding back. And even when I’d push back and want to take an easier way out, he always made me do the right thing, sort of something he’s done to me my whole life,” added Martin.

“It’s nice to work with family,” added Benedict. “She understands the business and that it is all about the people.”

Sabra Karr said it was “destiny” she ended up a Realtor®.

“Villager Realty is my family business,” said Karr. “Real estate has been a part of my life since I was two years old.” Sabra’s father, Tim Karr, started Villager Realty in 1973 and her mother worked in the industry as well. Tim is also a past president of PAR.

Tim and Sabra Karr

“Real estate has changed so much over the decades,” said Karr. “I remember my dad wore a coat and tie every day for many years. On weekends, my parents and I would drive around, look at homes and tour his spec houses under construction. I spent a lot of time in the office after school and I had fun riding in a buggy with all our agents marching in the local Halloween parades.”

Karr started working with her dad in 2008 in the business. ” I lived in Utah and Colorado for many years and did not get to see my father very often,” she said. “Now, we are able to spend much more time together. I enjoy seeing him at the office regularly and using him as a resource for my business.”

Her father also uses her as a resource. Karr said she tries to keep him updated on the ever-changing trends in the industry. “Social media, technology, lead generation, rules and regulations,” she said. “Real estate has changed so much over the course of his career and mine too. 2020 to early 2021 was a challenge for everyone and we had to implement many new company policies and procedures for the safety of our agents, staff, clients and customers.”

Ultimately, Karr said she enjoys spending time with her father as their profession is their passion. In recent years, her father has become interested in land development and she is learning the ropes of that as well.

“It is exciting to learn the process from him,” she said.

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Comments (3)

Comments

  • SCOTT GELLER   June 17, 2021 at 8:29 am

    I, too, am a second-generation broker and appraiser. I followed my dad into appraising and sales from a short career in computer programming and I’ve never looked back. Spending time and learning about business, people, and life from him was the greatest blessing I could ask for.

    Reply to SCOTT GELLER
  • Bill Festa   June 17, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Love this story! I am a first generation Realtor; one of my (4) daughters became a Realtor and married a Realtor, another married a Realtor. Helping others achieve their dreams is a very special career.

    Reply to Bill Festa
  • Michael S Beer   June 17, 2021 at 11:03 am

    I’m proud to say as a Broker in PA & NJ for 35 years, my son Jeffrey A Beer, Esq. is also a Broker in PA & NJ., and leads our Company. Keller Williams Real Estate in Doylestown PA.

    Reply to Michael S Beer

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