From Ventura County, CA Beekeeper to Lewis County, WA Realtor
Humble Beeginnings. I am from Ventura California, which is basically the wealthy suburbs of Los Angeles. After studying Ecology with an emphasis on pollination and agriculture at California State University Channel Islands, I alternated career paths between working with honey bees, and working in commercial pest control, all while growing my own beekeeping and bee removal company, Bryan’s Bees. My adventures took me, my two Dachshunds, and my incredibly patient spouse, Lyndsay, from California to Idaho, and back every year chasing flowers and killing pests.
Troubles in Beekeeping. As I am sure you heard, the bees are dying. Colony Collapse Disorder, the California Drought, insecticides, and fires all took their toll on my business. In 2016 and 2017 Idaho experienced a record drought as well, and in 2017 my business partner informed me he was selling the business. At that point it hit me. “Why Idaho?” Lyndsay, the dogs, and I got in the car and we went for a road trip. We wanted to find a beautiful place covered in flowers to call home, and we weren’t stopping until we found it.
Why I fell in love with Lewis County WA. On our journey we drove west along the 12 from Yakima across the cascades. Everything from Packwood to Chehalis was the most beautiful scenery, trees, and mountains Lyndsay or I had ever seen. Flowers, farms, affordability, and everything else we had been looking for, all in one place. The best part? There aren’t huge crowds of people, and everything we could ever want is less than two hours away.
Starting a new life in Lewis County WA. In 2018 I moved up to the St Helen’s Inn in Chehalis while I kept 408 beehives, and worked for Orkin Pest Control. Over the next year I learned about the local agriculture keeping the bees, and the local homes while working in pest control. I got to explore every nook and cranny of thousands of houses, and every corner of dozens of local farms. The problem was, I was unable to answer calls or help my staff while working for Orkin, so in January of 2019 began the process of becoming a Realtor in the state of Washington. The day I passed my test Lyndsay informed me we were having a baby (boy) in October.
Becoming a New Realtor in a Small Town. Becoming a Realtor is scary. You help guide people through the biggest financial transaction of their lives. No pressure right? I was incredibly intimidated when I first started. I knew any mistake I made could cost people a lot of money, so I knew I had to learn as much as possible. I joined Century 21 Lund, Realtors in March of 2019 to take advantage of their incredible experience and training, and studied my butt off. (And I still study my butt off!) I knew I had to be on top of my game if I was going to do right by people.
The Benefit of California Realtors. I got enough experience to get a good feeling for the industry, and life called me back to California to help my beekeeping staff for a few weeks. While I was there I decided to do more homework on Real Estate. I met with local Realtors, I saw what they were doing, asked them questions, and when I came back to Washington I gained an entirely new perspective. I came back to Lewis County with technology, techniques, and contacts that don’t seem to exist in Lewis County yet. And to this day I continue to use cutting edge technology to give me, and my clients, all the advantages possible when selling their home.
The Disappointing Truth About Realtors. Remember how I said I wanted to be on my A game to help sell peoples homes? Well I got my first accepted contract. The other agent, who had around fifteen years more experience than I did, missed every deadline, messed up paperwork, and almost lost the entire transaction. The second transaction fell apart because the other agent failed to respond to critical emails and calls. I was able to save one client $15,000 on their home because the other agent didn’t want to see an inspection report, or else they would have to do more paperwork if the transaction fell through. I quickly found out the sad truth. Realtors are lazy. You don’t want the most experienced agent, you want the hardest working agent.
What is the best way to select a Realtor? Want to know what the number one trait people look for in Realtors? They want an agent who picks up the phone. They need a Realtor who will keep organized, meet deadlines, listen to you, and walk you through the entire home buying process, keeping you as well informed as possible. And these things are the bare minimum. A great Realtor is also skilled at negotiation, knows the local area, understands the ins and outs of homes, and is well connected enough to help get things done. You need a Realtor who isn’t afraid to get dirty, or work late. I personally promise to bring all the hard work of a beekeeper, experience of an exterminator, and the professionalism of a CEO to my Real Estate Business
But where I take it farther is my focus on you having an amazing buying or selling experience so you can focus on living life. I hate sales people. I don’t like walking into a shark tank, or feeling pressured into a purchase. That is why I take pride in educating and caring for my clients and making their home buying experience positive and easy.
Let me worry about the details.
If you want to chat real estate or even just connect for a quick coffee, remember- Call Castro!