"The Rockstar Realtor® Who's Turning the Housing Market Up to Eleven"
Karen joined 8z in 2023, and has been making waves ever since - quickly becoming one of our top producing agents month after month. She was recently featured in Boulder County Real Producers Magazine, where she's highlighted for being 'The Rockstar Realtor®' that she is. View the full write-up below:
"Karen Straus, a Realtor® with 8z Real Estate Boulder, stands out like a punk rocker at a classical concert.
With a background deeply rooted in the music industry, Karen has orchestrated her way into the world of real estate, bringing a touch of rock and roll to the normally staid housing market. Originally a New Yorker with dreams of making it big in concert production, Karen found herself trading the skyscrapers of the Big Apple for the serene mountains of Boulder, Colorado in 2000. Tired of the concrete jungle’s madness, she sought the complete opposite in the tranquility of the Rockies. Karen continued her pursuit in the music industry and says, “A lot of people don’t realize the Denver metro area is a pretty big draw. Boulder has been a hot spot for music for a long time, and almost every major tour stops through here. Before getting into real estate, I spent two decades working in the music business. Ten years of that was spent in the role of VP of Production and Production Manager at the Fox Theater and the Boulder Theater, which are two iconic music hubs.”
But, as we all know, life can throw curveballs, and when the pandemic hit, everything in the concert world came to a halt. Looking back, it was actually a sign. After years of the exhilarating concert production lifestyle, endless nights, and early mornings, the constant buzz became a bit too much, especially now that Karen was married and with two small children. It was time for a change.
Enter Ande Rice, Karen’s friend, and partner in her real estate adventures. One day, Karen and Ande were having lunch, with Karen releasing her frustrations about the music industry burnout. And then, like a beacon of career wisdom, Ande says, “Why not get into real estate? Come work with me.” It started as a casual suggestion, but it took off from day one. It was like the universe had orchestrated this perfect career switch. And just like that, Karen found herself bringing in her own clients and becoming part of a real estate dream team at RE/MAX of Boulder.
Karen’s transition from music to real estate might seem like a giant leap, but surprisingly, the skills she honed in the music industry found a place in real estate. From negotiating concert contracts to navigating the technicalities of sound systems, Karen now expertly handles real estate contracts, inspections, and the intricacies of home systems.
As a self-proclaimed “elder millennial,” Karen specializes in connecting with frustrated millennials looking to break into the housing market. She is breaking down the barriers and helping them realize that homeownership is still within reach.
“This market has seen a lot of frustrated buyers in the past few years comparing their experience with that of their parents, and it’s just not the same market,” she explains. “I think a lot of folks don’t realize how many options they actually have.”
Karen is involved in the community in several ways. There is an awesome event called First Bite, Boulder’s version of restaurant week. Karen says, “It is the perfect blend of everything I love – community vibes and amazing food. It is all about spotlighting the local dining scene, a celebration of food that brings the community together.”
Karen has teamed up with Savor Productions, who owns First Bite, and they’ve crafted a series of blog posts of Boulder County’s neighborhoods called Love Thy Neighbor[hood]. “I handle the real estate details, and they dive into the vibrant local food scene. It’s a perfect fusion of our worlds - where real estate meets community gastronomy.”
Another collaborative effort Karen is working on involves partnering with a designer friend to organize workshops. Together, they will guide people through the decision-making process of whether to sell or renovate, mirroring the concept of HGTV’s Love It or List It show.
Furthermore, Karen is hands-on with the Boulder Jewish Community Center (JCC), where her kids attended preschool for years starting at a young age. She lends a hand with various fundraisers throughout the year. Her take “When my kids were little, we counted on scholarships to get them through those JCC days. It is a good feeling, paying it forward.”
During Karen’s downtime, her family loves riding bikes together. Karen and her husband, Nate, met while volunteering at a community bike shop in Boulder called Community Cycles. Bikes have created a shared connection now that the kiddos are old enough to ride. “On Saturday mornings, we cruise to the farmers’ market - ket or hit up the candy store – just riding around town as a family. It is a great way for all of us to hang out. Plus, we are getting into skiing. The whole crew is learning, and we bought ski passes this year, so we are really excited about that.”
The Straus family took their first big trip to Europe in May visiting Iceland and England. The kids were rockstars and loved every - thing about it – even the little things, like the plane ride or the shuttle bus from the airport to the rental car. “They’re always talking about the trip, and it is cool to see them totally get how special it was. It wasn’t just a regular vacation – it was a big deal, and they knew that.”
In closing, Karen states, “If there is one takeaway from this piece, it is my unwavering belief in authenticity; I don’t ever want to be seen as a generic real estate agent. Maintaining that authenticity is crucial to me. Supporting others in the community is also a big part of who I am. It’s all about connections with people and the beauty of collaboration. I steer clear of the generic and inject a bit of rock and roll into the real estate scene. Expect humor, a touch of self-deprecation, and a whole lot of edginess because, hey, who said real estate can’t be fun and unique?”