- October 10, 2018
WINDERMERE The title “The Queen of Windermere” isn’t given to just anyone, for any reason.
Longtime Realtor Suzi Karr is often referred to by this title. Maybe it’s because she’s been a Windermere resident for more than 40 years and is well-versed in its history. Maybe it’s because she owned and operated Suzi Karr Realty for 35 years. Coupled with her service-first approach to real estate, all of the above might be indicators of the nickname.
After having owned and operated Suzi Karr Realty for so long, though, she recently decided it was time for a change. So she sold the office and in June of this year moved on to become a real-estate professional with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Dr. Phillips.
“I stayed with the office and was active, but many of my clients are repeat clients and referrals, and I’m blessed to get referrals from other Realtors,” she said. “It was time for me to move on. I thought it out, because it was going to be a big move after 40 years (in the profession), and I felt like Sotheby’s had the best marketing and international presence, which I think is so very important.”
IN THE BEGINNING
Karr began her career in real estate 40 years ago, and for the first four, she worked for real-estate broker Lee Bekemeyer, still a friend of hers to this day.
“I started out (my career) knowing I had to do whatever I had to do to make money,” she said. “I lived in Windermere and worked in Winter Garden. I wanted to really (just) work Windermere.”
After her fourth year, she decided she wanted to open her own business and service the people in the town she loves so much.
“I just love my profession. I don’t plan to ever stop. I love helping others. Whatever I can do to help others is kind of my way of doing things.” — Realtor Suzi Karr
“I love giving that firsthand service because you almost become family with the clients,” she said. “I did the one-week crash course, and the minute I found out I passed, I opened my office in old Windermere, where I live. We were just ready for some changes. I had two associates at the time, and we had a good market, too. It was just dynamite, and it went from there.”
At the time, flyers were a newer concept, so she began utilizing them in her business. She learned how to use a computer in 1990, and eventually, her two sons came aboard and worked with her. And all this time, she has lived in the same house in old Windermere for 35 years.
In addition to Florida, Karr also has held real-estate licenses in Hawaii and California. She currently holds a Gold Key certification, as well as her Home Staging certification.
“I just obtained my certification as a certified home stager, and I love that, because I can help people use what they have to make their homes more appealing for a potential buyer,” she said. “I just love my profession. I don’t plan to ever stop. I love helping others. Whatever I can do to help others is kind of my way of doing things.”
Budge S. Huskey, president of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, said Karr is a veteran associate with a wealth of knowledge to be shared with Sotheby’s southwest Orlando team.
“Having led a successful real estate business in the community, Suzi has her finger on the pulse of Windermere,” Huskey said in a prepared statement. “Her proven commitment to assisting and guiding her colleagues, as well as her dedication to her customers, we are sure she will make an immediate and positive impact on the organization.”
Karr now focuses much of her knowledge and efforts on luxury lakefront properties and old Windermere.
“You still have your forté, but I have now narrowed myself down into the area here — old Windermere and the Chain of Lakes,” she said. “You have to keep up with what’s going on in the area. You just have to be very informed at all times, and I try to be.”
That includes staying informed on the state of the industry in West Orange County and the areas surrounding Windermere. With the continued growth and increase in population, new homes are cropping up everywhere — which means resales are now competing with new homes, Karr said.
“The new homes offer a lot of features that we don’t have in the old homes,” she said. “I try to stress to people that they need to keep their homes maintained perfectly and then when you go to sell it it needs to be almost modeled perfectly, which most of the time can be done easily with what you have. The main thing you need to show when people walk in your house is spaciousness and cleanliness.”
But no matter the part of town or the client, Karr’s mantra remains clear — service first.
“These people become extended family to me, and it’s just a blessing that I get so many calling ready to list or a friend is ready to buy, it’s just a great feeling,” she said. “It’s a great profession.”
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected]