Sitting down with Karen Yip, co-owner with Robbie Hinrichs
How did your business begin?
In 2011, I was accompanying my dad for his chemotherapy treatment. He asked, “Have you ever thought about opening your own agency?” I had not. Robbie Hinrichs, my husband, had mentioned it before, but hearing it again from my dad made me realize that those who love you the most can sometimes know you better than you know yourself.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you or your business?
Robbie and I started the business in the fourth bedroom of our home in 2013. At the time, it felt like jumping into an abyss; I was more scared that I had ever been. Failure was not an option –– I’m too proud for that. I’m also not the type to give in. We dove in head first, and we worked to create the “American Dream” for ourselves, just as my parents did. Thanks to them, I understood the hard work and dedication involved. Some days I stand back in awe … I can hardly believe it’s our company. We are blessed.
What is the latest trend in your business?
The real estate market in Columbia and surrounding areas has been expanding in the past few years, and sales have continued to increase along with home values. Days on the market have been decreasing due to tightening inventory. Rental rates have also steadily increased. As a result, the market has become increasingly competitive for buyers and renters alike. It is imperative that sellers have an agent knowledgeable in negotiating multiple offer scenarios. Similarly, owners seeking renters should work with a property manager who is familiar with market rates to ensure they are seeking maximum return on their investment.
How does your company give back to the Columbia community?
We created a program called Homes 2 Harvest Hope, where our company donates a portion of our proceeds to Harvest Hope Food Bank. Since 2013, we have donated more than $40,000 to this worthy cause.