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Kate Adams: For the Love of Architecture

Feb 4, 2021 3:16:04 AM

Kate Adams is a Realtor based in Pasadena, California whose undeniable passion for architecture shows in each of her transactions. Since earning her real estate license in 2001, Kate has lived in other areas of the West coast, including Oregon, but it’s clear she has a fierce love for Pasadena, the place where she grew up and first came to love architecture.  

We recently chatted with Kate to learn more about her unique approach to real estate. 

On how she fell in love with architecture... 

"Well, growing up in Pasadena, you know the Rose Parade is here every year, and we are blessed to have a multitude of architectural styles throughout the city, as well as in most of Los Angeles. But in Pasadena, we have the oldest historic district in the country, Bungalow Heaven, and one of the largest, as well. I grew up with friends that lived in a Greene and Greene, a Wallace Neff, a Marston & Van Pelt, Buff and Hensman. So I was exposed to amazing architecture at a very young age and didn't realize the effect it had on me until I started selling real estate."

On selling "living art"... 

"You have a lot of people who want to live in a Frank LLoyd Wright or Buff and Hensman. We have a lot of mid-century here, pretty much all over the LA basin, and that's something a lot of young families are very interested in living in, mid-century modern. So it does take on a life of its own. There's a story behind it that is really pretty easy to sell if you're in that marketplace. So I keep up on as much as I can about everything going on in the Los Angeles area with architectural properties. And it's just amazing to me still, how many houses come up and you walk into them and you just — I mean, it's living art in my opinion. And I'm very blessed to live amongst it all."

On the special details... 

"It's interesting. A number of years ago, I took a tour of a Victorian, and there's an architectural element called a coffin corner. So when you're coming down a steep staircase, if you see a niche in the wall where the corner is of the staircase, I learned that that's called the coffin corner because back at the turn of the century, when they had someone pass away, they had them in the house for a number of days. And so when they were bringing the coffin down the stairs, they couldn't figure out how to get it down. So they had to essentially dig out a hole to get the corner. And it makes perfect sense. It's a coffin corner, but you look at it on a stairwell and if you have no knowledge of that architectural element, then you're like, 'Hmm, what is that?' You know, 'Is it a place to put your trophies?' And then to learn what it really is and you think about how they lived at that time and how things have changed, it's just interesting from a historical perspective."

On selling with a passion... 

"I think this can be a very difficult, very challenging, just very hard business. I mean, you're paid on commission only. It's extremely cutthroat competitive. Everybody knows 10 Realtors, especially living here in LA. So, I think if you don't have a passion for it — I'm also passionate about people and relationships and building. I build client relationships that last a lifetime. I'm my client's go-to person for anything house based. And so, if you don't have passion for it, I don't think that you will be able to withstand the trials and tribulations. As Realtors, no matter what happens in a transaction, typically we are the ones who get the brunt of the frustration if something goes wrong, and you really have to build a tough skin and love it to stay in it, I think."

Advice for other architecture-loving agents... 

"Typically, pre-COVID, we have a lot of home tours in the area. And one of the things that I did when I first came back to LA is I was a docent for those tours. You really have to become knowledgeable in the styles of architecture and teach yourself first. And then if you have a love for it, it will become second nature to be a spokesperson for it and to tell everybody they need to preserve versus, you know, destroy. And think really just learning the inventory, learning the styles, learning about the architects and doing as much research as possible. Then it becomes kind of second nature. You become friends with agents who are working in that same niche as you are, and you throw ideas off each other, and you just put yourself out there."

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