By Sheryl Stanley
Through good times and bad since 1976, Carol and her husband, Jim, have made their home in Harrisonville and raised three sons. In addition, she has built a successful career as a realtor, owned her own firm, American Heritage Realtors, and devoted countless volunteer hours to a multitude of causes.
“I love Harrisonville and everything about it. The town, the square and the schools. Just everything. And I love being so close to nature.”
Carol and Jim moved to Harrisonville in 1976 after spending five years in Kansas City. He was an electrician and she was a beautician working on the Country Club Plaza. But as parents of three boys, the young couple wanted their children to grow up in a small town.
In their search for a new home, they had planned to look at several small towns in the area, starting with Harrisonville. But after viewing the town, the schools, and having lunch on the square, their minds were made up. Harrisonville was it!
During those early years, Carol had a friend who was a realtor and she kept passing leads to her about new people in town or someone who wanted to buy a new home or find some place to rent until the friend said, “Why don’t you just get your license?”
So, she did in 1978.
“I loved selling real estate right from the beginning. I enjoyed working with people and I made my first sale during my very first week. It almost didn’t go through at the last minute because of a disagreement over a shower curtain,” she said.
Carol opened American Heritage Realtors in 1981. The firm is still in its original location at 1000 S. Commercial St. and Carol is owner/broker with 15 sales-people working with her.
“We help people find their forever home.”
The idea of the perfect home, however,varies among generations, Carol pointed out. Older populations want the true ranch while younger couples are drawn to multi-level homes.
Many different types of homes are available in Harrisonville where residents can have easy access to the city plus a genuine small town, country feel. Carol and the agents at American Heritage Realtors can help anyone wanting to buy or sell a home.
Carol is not afraid to use technology and computer networking to help match people with their perfect house. American Heritage currently holds the No. 1 position for Harrisonville on Zillow, a popular real estate site, with more listings of land and homes than any other local brokerage.
But Carol’s philosophy goes far beyond.
“All realtors have access to tech. All we really have to offer is service to our customers. I tell my agents not to worry about the sale. Just do your best to make your customer happy,” she said.
Carol also believes real estate is an excellent career choice for women.
“Women excel at real estate. We are used to multi-tasking, we care about people and we’re good communicators.”
Carol’s philosophy of service to others extends beyond her profession however, and Harrisonville is richer for it.
“I just think we should work to make things better. Make a difference. Make the world a better place,” she said.
As proof of her commitment, Carol is a member of the Harrisonville Chamber of Commerce, the Harrisonville Rotary Club and is an emeritus member of the Cass Regional Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors.
Currently, Carol also serves on the board of directors of the Osage Valley Electric Community Trust, a position she has had for three years. The foundation provides assistance with rent and bills to area residents who meet certain criteria.
“Anyone needing help right now is welcome to go the Osage Valley website and fill out an application,” Carol said.
She is also an animal lover and supports the Harrisonville Animal Shelter, even buying ad space to feature the photo of a homeless pet.
“It gives me a great feeling of satisfaction to help. It’s awesome to help get homes for animals.”
She is also working on the proposed dog park for Harrisonville.
“It would be good for Harrisonville to have such a space, and it’s something people and pets would enjoy,” she said.