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Feature Business: Sutton

The bond between a property buyer or seller and their agent can be a life-changing one. The insights, knowledge, and dedication the REALTORS® bring to their clients can make dreams come true. This is what the Sutton-Harrison Realty team see as their starring role. And, brokers Kit and Sue Harrison have made it their mission to ensure they and their team put all their skills and energy into helping their clients reach their end goals.

“Real people, real service, real estate.” That’s the motto of Sutton-Harrison Realty, which provides a full-service business. That means meeting the needs of clients – whether interested in a house, a condo, a business, a farm, a recreational property, a retirement residence, or a property for development. And, just as their clients are on the move looking for the right property – so are they. Sutton-Harrison Realty is moving their family of 28 REATORS® into their new, modern, specially chosen location – the Cornerstone Mall at 18th and Rosser.

Today, Kit and Sue are the broker / owners of a successful enterprise. They are sharing with their clients the excitement of moving into a new location as they tailor-design their new office space to fit their clients’, their new partners’, and their team’s needs. Their 28 REALTORS® – serving clients in Brandon, Westman, and beyond – are very excited about the move.
How did they get to where they are now?

Spreading Their Wings
The story starts 30 years ago, in 1984. At the time, Kit was one of the youngest real estate professionals to join the industry. In 2003, Sue entered the business: they were now partners at work as well as husband and wife. At that same time, they sought affiliation with a national firm. They chose Sutton, which has a reputation for being tech savvy and is one of the largest real estate companies in Canada. Sutton-Harrison Realty was born. They decided to expand to a larger office and secured a storefront in the 300 block of 10th Street. Then came the opportunity to purchase the northeast corner of 10th Street and Victoria Avenue.

Sutton-Harrison Realty operated from 10th and Victoria until a couple of years ago when it was developed for a national tenant. At that point, they moved into a temporary spot in the 1600 block of 13th Street. They explored several options before deciding on their new location: the Cornerstone Mall on the northeast corner of 18th and Rosser.

The new office has a fresh, high-tech, modern look. The 18th Street location provides a welcoming atmosphere, with easy access and parking for clients, staff, and visitors. The product they sell is external to their workplace, but having a convenient, professional office is still important. The high-profile, handsome, and handy Cornerstone development at 18th and Rosser is ideal. In real estate – both commercial and residential – it is “location, location, location.”

The new setting, Sue says, “is the office of our dreams.”

The new office is part of a complete re-branding and redevelopment of the whole company. One important aspect is the move to a partnership model. The new partnership now encompasses a half-dozen individuals who bring a diversity of strengths, knowledge, and experience. The result: a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and energetic team that can better meet the needs of their clients.

Building on Client Commitment
Of course, the Sutton-Harrison Realty’s overall success speaks to their dedication to their clients – serving them over the years with integrity and competence. Kit and Sue, in the words of their mission statement, are “committed to be your first choice in personalized real estate services, and to help you achieve your goals.”

And today, they also must be on top of the abundance of information and new technology. Much communication is now on the go: with texting, cell phones, and other mobile devices. And the Internet: with social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Many of the team have their own Facebook pages, YouTube sites, and Twitter profiles. (You can find Sutton-Harrison Realty on Facebook at facebook.com/suttonharrisonrealty. And, you can contact Sutton-Harrison Realty by e-mail at shradmin@sutton.com; by phone at 204-571-5900; or toll free at 1-877-463-5900.) As part of the overall redevelopment, their website (suttonharrison.com) is also being completely redone.

Celebrating the Satisfaction
Kit and Sue are delighted with the real estate field. It is a great way to enhance the lives of their clients, to participate in the business life of the community, and to make a living. The work is satisfying, even though it entails long hours at tasks that are often not obvious or even noticed. Selling a property is much harder than it might appear to the casual observer. And even though much work is done electronically with new mobile applications and social media, the sheer amount of old-fashioned paperwork has actually increased. There are now more regulations and other requirements that must be met. And their work is not over just because the buyer and seller have agreed to a deal. In many ways, Kit says, “we are often just starting our work when an offer is accepted.”

Real estate, Kit says, “is an equal opportunity business.” Both women and men have the opportunity to reap the same rewards. A special benefit is that real estate work often can provide some flexibility. It allows, for example, for a parent with a young family at home to get started in the career.

Kit and Sue speak with obvious pride and enjoyment with the 28 REALTORS® who work with them at Sutton-Harrison Realty. “It is not all about being the top sales person,” Kit says. “We get our biggest kick out of seeing someone grow and be a successful, confident, happy person.”

Developing and supporting an effective team means implementing programs such as on-going training, best practice sessions, and performance recognition. Kit and Sue believe that the stronger the team, the greater the benefits to their clients individually. The real foundation of the team is solidly based on the Harrisons’ attracting and nurturing really good people. Their REALTORS®, Sue says, “all have good souls.”

Every Sutton-Harrison Realty client is treated as a special individual. But Kit and Sue have a larger vision as well. They know that a city, town, or rural area can be much more than just a collection of people who happen to live in the same place. When people are engaged as neighbours and citizens, that place can be nurtured as a vibrant community. That is why Kit and Sue are involved in charities and other organizations. That is why they encourage all their REALTORS® to contribute, participate, and give back to their community. And that is why they set aside a little bit from the proceeds of every transaction. They then quietly channel those funds to people they have encountered through their work who are in need.

Looking to the future
What’s in the future? Kit and Sue see even more growth and even more opportunities. They have the exclusive rights to the Sutton name for the territory in the province of Manitoba excluding Winnipeg. So the whole rural and northern Manitoba beckons. There are increasing opportunities in the commercial sphere – a special interest of Kit’s. Another area of growth is in property management – there are now more people who are investing in real estate, but would like to have someone else professionally manage it for them.

Today’s environment, Kit and Sue point out, more than ever creates a need for real estate professionals. There is more information out there and everything is more complicated. There is a greater need for a qualified experienced professional to help buyers and sellers sort through it all. A need to consult with someone who knows the market, who has accurate information, and who knows the steps required. Someone who can be a guide to the intricacies involved, like financing, legalities, regulations, home inspections, and more. To get an idea of the scope of the real estate scene, check out the Sutton-Harrison Realty website at suttonharrison.com. There, you can see their team of REALTORS®, their services offered, and their current listings and more. And you can browse through useful articles like “Tips on Buying Your First Home,” “Windows: Replace or Repair?” and “Zen and the Art of Packing.”

Kit and Sue have arrived at a point where they can reflect on lives and careers of real accomplishment and fulfillment. “We really enjoy what we are doing; we don’t even think of it as work,” Kit says. “It’s what keeps us energized and sharp.”
Their new office will be a strong statement about the Sutton-Harrison Realty team and where they are going. About their pride of where they have come from. About their commitment to serve the community today. And about their confidence in the future. (The team of Sutton-Harrison Realty are celebrating the opening of their new office with a Brandon Chamber of Commerce “After Five” event plus a “Client Appreciation” on Thursday, September 18. If you would like to attend, please pre-register by phoning 204-571-5900.)

What drives Kit and Sue Harrison and Sutton-Harrison Realty? At their core, the Harrisons combine down-home integrity and friendliness with a firm focus on their client’s needs and wants. And they continue to revel in the spirit that is the life of the real estate business.

“There is nothing more fun than handing the keys over,” Sue says. “Seeing a client get what they have been looking for and dreaming of.”

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