We had the good fortune of connecting with Steve Karas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Steve, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is an interesting subject. It can be scary, exciting, nerve wracking or all of the above, all at the same time! It can also be a very pivotal point in life or in ones career. I think of it as a necessary evil almost. Obviously, risky things that can be dangerous or harmful to yourself or others is a no-go, that’s easy. But it’s when you start looking at things like, should I apply for this job, should I ask them on a date, should I book the one way ticket or move across the country- things like that can end up being a huge part of someones life and that is where the excitement and the scariness can come from.
For me, in my life, risk has always been more on the exciting side of things. I will always remember this saying from my parents – ” You don’t know if you don’t ask or try.” I try to use this when I am looking at something involving some risk. Sure it might be scary to think about asking someone on a date but you won’t ever know the answer if you don’t ask. It might be overwhelming and exciting to think about moving to the other side of the world, but you’re never going to know how it could have been if you don’t try. A big factor for me in these decisions is that I decided a long time ago that living with the regret of never trying something would be way worse than actually trying, giving it 100%, and potentially failing. At least that way I know for sure what could or couldn’t happen, but in my mind that’s way better than never even trying and living with that the rest of my life.
I speak about a lot of these examples from my own personal experience. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to move to New Zealand to play rugby. I had all the emotions you would imagine. Excited, nervous, scared, happy, grateful. I ended up taking the jump and it turned out to have a massive impact on my life. I packed up and moved across the globe, to a new country, by myself and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made to date. Yes, the risk was there, but the reward was something I couldn’t have imagined.
I also am getting ready to get married to my lovely fiance, Sara. But that also started with risk. Should I send a message? Will she like me? What if she doesn’t respond? Things can be scary these days but in the end I took the risk, sent the message because I knew that I didn’t want to be left wondering what it could have been like if I just asked her to coffee. I took the risk, turns out we liked each other and now we’re getting ready to get married!
My latest risky move was quitting my job that I wasn’t happy with and getting into my current career – a Licensed Real Estate Agent here in Denver. I could have just muddled through my 9-5, unhappy and underpaid. But now, I’m loving what I am doing, I have all the flexibility I could ask for and I am 10x more happy than I was in my other job. Just because things are risky, that doesn’t always mean it’s a bad thing.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I absolutely love the profession I am in! I am a licensed Real Estate Agent here in Denver working with Realty One Group Five Star. Obviously, the real estate market in Denver right now is a wild one and people may have mixed emotions about it, especially “natives.” Don’t come after me though, I am a “native,” so I’m not dissing anyone, just stating what I see. Regardless, things have been kind of crazy lately but it’s keeping things interesting. You have to be ready to work hard and adapt or you’re going to be left behind. There are over 40,000 licensed agents in Colorado so you have to continue to work on yourself and your brand to be able to be successful.
I work with pretty much everyone out there – buyers, sellers, investors – you name it, I’m here to help! There are a few things that set me apart from the other 40,000 out there. For one, I love helping people. It may be cliche but it’s the truth. I come from a background in hospitality, even majored in hospitality at CSU, so helping people is something I truly enjoy! Buying a house is scary but also very exciting for people and I love being able to help them enjoy the process.
Something else that helps me and my business is that I can keep my ego in check. I’m not bashing anyone but there are a ton of agents out there who “have been doing this for 30 years” and know everything there is to know- and they let you know that they know ALL of this. For me, I let my work do the talking and I am also not afraid to be wrong or say I don’t know the answer or be willing to learn. Life is about continuously learning and that is the same for my work. I may not know every single little thing out there but I want to constantly be learning and growing as a person and a professional.
Getting to where I am today took a little bit of a push. Like I said, I was unhappy in a job and I needed a change. I decided to quit that and jump straight into real estate school full-time. I did that and never looked back! I was able to pass all my tests on the first try and get straight into the field. But then, reality hit. Starting out was not easy. Just because you have a license now, doesn’t mean you just start selling house after house and raking in the dough like you might see on Instagram. You work with a brokerage but you are on your own as far as clients and paychecks go. I was a bit naive thinking that I would come out and just start crushing it but I think that helped humble me a little bit and has helped me work even harder now!
I think the most exciting part of my job is all of the possibilities that real estate can create and the fact that no day is ever the same. People tend to think of it as just helping folks buy and sell a house which is fun but there is so much more out there. There is commercial real estate, investing in real estate, managing, rentals, flipping houses – so many options out there. Historically, real estate is one of the best avenues for people to gain wealth and it’s amazing being able to help people achieve that. This is where I eventually want to take my career because there are so many options out there!
Really though, in the end, I just want to help people and that’s what my brand is. I’m here to help you find what best suits you and make sure you have fun doing it. I’m not going to push you into something you don’t want and I’m not here to judge anyones situation. I truly just want people to be happy with their decisions, I want to make an impact in my community and I want to help people enjoy their lives. So, as always, if you or anyone you know wants to buy or sell a house, give me a call!!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Denver is amazing, we’ll start with that. I love it because it’s a “big city” but not huge like New York or L.A. where it can be overwhelming. You can be in the city for breakfast and then 30 minutes later, depending on traffic, you can be in a completely different environment!
There are some amazing places all over the state, its hard to list everything! I would start in Fort Collins. Fort Collins is such an amazing town with some of the nicest people. It also doesn’t hurt that they are home to a couple of the best breweries in the state. AKA, Odell, New Belgium, Equinox and Funkwerks. After sampling some delicious brews, you can head into the Poudre River Valley and do some amazing hikes, go rafting or fishing and then see a show at the Mishawaka Amphitheater – if you haven’t been to the Mish, I highly recommend seeing a show there, it’s amazing!
From there you can make your way back to the city. You can catch a coffee and a doughnut at Habit Doughnut Dispensary by the aquarium. This place some some serious skills. If you’re feeling crazy you can even get a boozy injection in your doughnut. Just sayin.
For lunch you can stop by Avanti F&B. Here you will have your choice of multiple different culinary concepts and enjoy your delicious treat upstairs on the patio that overlooks Denver. Highly recommend. You can then find your way into downtown and start wandering your way through town. Union Station is a beautiful spot and Rino (River North) is packed full of amazing restaurants, breweries, bars and artistry. Bierstadt Lagerhaus has one of the best Pilsners in the nation if you need another libation. That’s not just my opinion either, it’s nationally recognized in the brewing community and it’s true.
Then the obvious choice is to head into the mountains to start enjoying some of Colorado’s beauty. One spot on the way up the hill that I love is Westbound and Down Brewing Company. Their beer is amazing but the food is equally as delicious! They have some fantastic vegetarian options too which goes a long way these days.
After some fuel in Idaho Springs, the options are endless! Get out and explore the thousands of hikes and trails that our in our backyard!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To start, I have to shoutout my fiance, Sara. Ever since we met she has been nothing but supportive for me and my decisions. When we first met about 3 years ago, I was playing with the idea of going back to New Zealand to finish out another rugby season. We had only been dating a couple months and she was already so supportive of me following my passion and dreams. So much so that she joined me for a couple of weeks down there before we ended up doing a couple of months in a long distance relationship. After a long distance relationship and some traveling together, we then got thrown into lockdown with each other in a 400 sq. ft. studio with the two of us and her dog Frannie. Things got cozy but she still supported me no matter what. Next, it was me quitting my job and jumping straight into real estate school. Once again, nothing but love and support. She has the biggest heart out there and I couldn’t ask for a better partner!
My other shout outs have to be for all my friends, family and rugby teams over the years. I am a very lucky person to have grown up with such a great family and amazing friends. My parents in particular have always been some of the most supportive people out there for my sister and I and it really helped shape my confidence to this day. It didn’t matter what we wanted to do or how we felt, they are behind us 1000% every time. My friends also have been a huge part of my life for a long time. I have friends still from elementary school, to the friends I continue to make today. I cherish all of those friendships and wouldn’t change a thing about them.
My rugby teams also deserve a shoutout because they have shaped me into the man I am today, on and off the field. I talk about rugby a lot but it has had a huge impact in my life, ever since I started playing in 2009. Shout out to all my coaches and teammates from Chapparal HS, Colorado State University, U.S. Virgin Islands Privateers, Glendale Merlins, Prebbleton Penguins, and my current team the Denver Barbarians.
Suzi Seitz Adrian Ritchie