Friends of friends can be the best connectors.So it was with interior designer Kim Armstrong and Realtor Laura Crowl. They first met about 10 years ago when Kim and her husband were searching for their first home in the Dallas area. Laura was recommended to Kim by one of her mentors, who said she had a friend just starting out in real estate.
Based on the personal connection, Kim gave Laura a shot. They’ve been friends and business associates ever since. “Laura found our first house. We’d been looking for 6 months with a different real estate agent. That went nowhere,” recalls Kim. With Laura, “we put a bid on the first house she showed us within a week of seeing it.”
Since then, Laura has found investment properties as well as a bigger home for Kim and her family. Of Laura, Kim says, “She’s a fighter for her clients. And a workaholic. I learned early on that she will go way beyond staging to help a client sell a property or find the right one.”
Working with Kim, Laura recognized her ability “to think outside the box.” She believes Kim sees possibilities most clients can’t envision without the help of a professional eye. That part of their relationship grew organically when Laura was working with a client who loved a location but struggled to see how the home could be changed to meet the family’s needs. Laura turned to Kim for help. She paid her for a couple of hours to walk through the home with the clients to help them see “how to transform it.” That was “my gift to the client,” recalls Laura.
They’ve been working together similarly since then.
When they team up to help a client, they discuss the property in question and the client’s needs and preferences. The collaboration can involve a furniture floor plan, a walk-through with the client or tour of a client’s Pinterest pages. There have even been instances where they have talked a client out of a property they felt wouldn’t work.
Because Kim is an interior designer, “she can see more structural things,” says Laura. A designer like Kim understands flow and other elements deeper than “fluff and puff.”
“Kim is added value to me,” says Laura, who provides Kim’s expertise to her clients. Sometimes clients go on to hire Kim on their own to fulfill the vision she’s created for them.
Both believe their relationship is unusual, if not unique, because they are so in sync and willing to adapt their services to the client’s needs. Both of us “play in the major and minors,” says Laura. Kim is great because she will take on a modest home as well as a multi-million dollar project.
Together, it’s a win-win for the designer, real estate agent, and, most of all, for the client.