“Customer Corner: A Conversation With Kathy Aparo-Griffin”
Armed with cardboard from a banana box and a black sharpie, Kathy Aparo-Griffin was determined to sell her house.
About 24 years ago, Kathy set out to sell her home and, with no experience at the time, took the traditional route. Although she worked with multiple realtors and brokers, the house continued to sit on the market, and she decided it was time to take matters into her own hands.
While many realtors might not attribute much of their success to Winn Dixie, it was there that Kathy bought the banana box she used as the For Sale sign in her front yard. She laughs as she tells me about not just the moment she had the idea to sell her house by herself, but also the moment she realized it had worked.
Recently, I had the extraordinary opportunity to sit down with Kathy Aparo-Griffin and delve into her captivating journey to becoming a successful real estate agent. As she shared her remarkable tale, I found myself deeply inspired, with an overwhelming desire to live my life to the fullest, being colorful in everything I do.
“Within one week, I had multiple offers, I was showing my house to multiple people, and then I had them all on my couch in my family room, and they were sitting there bidding against each other on the couch!”
Finally, she chose a buyer who asked what the next step would be and it dawned on Kathy: she had no idea.
She had purchased a rather lengthy book on how to sell your home but had only gotten through the first 18 pages by the time her buyer was sitting in front of her, ready to sign a contract she did not have yet. After excusing herself, she scanned the book’s index for any instruction on what was next, saw a chapter on contracts and remembered she still had the contract she signed when she bought the house originally.
Kathy chuckles as she relives frantically marking up the pages of the old contract in her bedroom while her buyer waited in her family room.
“I sat there with a pen and scribbled through everything. I filled in my name where it said seller, filled in her name where it said buyer. The rest of the whole contract, I did not understand any of it. I just left it the same. In fact, I left the same closing date, which was years before!”
She remembers the relief she felt when her attorney revealed the closing date was her one and only error.
“I kind of fumbled through it and sold my first house, but then I said to myself, ‘I will never let that happen again,’ because it is terrifying to buy or sell a house and not know what you’re doing. So, at that point I said, ‘I’m going to get my license.’”
Once she earned her realtor’s license, Kathy became a broker and opened her real estate brokerage firm Aparo-Griffin Properties in 2004.
It may have been an accident that pushed Kathy to get her license, but that happy accident has given countless people not just a house but a place they call home and will continue to love for years to come.
When asked what motivates her, Kathy looks upward with a smile and says simply, “People. People, helping people, and making people’s lives better.”
As the Vice President on the Board of Directors for West Volusia Habitat For Humanity, Kathy has had the honor of witnessing family after family receiving homes that they could only ever have dreamed of.
She tells me of a house dedication just the day before at which she had the honor of handing over the keys to the new homeowners.
“Everything was fine until I handed the keys to this very sweet 78-year-old woman, and she just started crying and put her head right on my chest. That’s what you live for in this business. It’s for moments like that.”
While there are many ways to connect with people, the joy in Kathy’s eyes when she speaks of this woman shows that providing someone with a home to call theirs simply can not be matched.
Kathy’s charisma and relentless drive set her apart in her field, but standing out in an oversaturated market is a challenge every broker faces. Marketing yourself in a way that is authentic and unique can be quite an undertaking when it seems as though everyone uses the same strategies. This is exactly why Kathy decided to make a custom coloring book highlighting her real estate brokerage firm and the team of professionals she works with.
“A lot of realtors, they do the standard. You’ve got the keychains, the pens, the cheeseboards, the bottles of wine, the backpacks, the full page ads for marketing, ads at the movie theater, aerial videos, professional videos,” says Kathy. “Those are all the tools that everybody uses, but what’s nice is this is different. It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s cute. It fits in your purse. I can’t put a cheese board in my purse.”
Kathy’s coloring book “Homebuying Made Easy: Your Step-By-Step Guide” walks first time home buyers through the process. It explains and shows how her real estate brokerage firm, Aparo-Griffin Properties, will guide them every step of the way through the process of buying a home.
Not only was it important for Kathy to represent her and her real estate brokerage firm in the book, but it was imperative to highlight the incredible team she works side by side with every day.
“The best part about it, is it’s specific to me and my team. The people that I have worked with for years and years — 20 years — they’re in here because when I get a buyer, I want it to be smooth. For it to be smooth, I want to run it through the title company I use, the lender I use, the insurance person that I use … You know how your team works — you get to know people — and it’s smooth as can be. It just makes it easy.”
Her intuitive knack for selling and her heart for people truly make Kathy Aparo-Griffin stand out in her community.
When asked how she adds color to her life, Aparo-Griffin sits back and smiles in a way that reaches her eyes, “I enjoy every day to its fullest, and I travel. The world is a beautiful place,” says Aparo-Griffin.
“My life consists of work, family, travel, and God. That’s it. That adds all the color I need. As long as I’ve got those four things, I’m happy.”