It can be argued that, especially in recent years, real estate is one of the most difficult professions around. Between troubles in the market, balancing complex transactions, and the pressure of helping clients sell a house for as much as possible and buy a house for as little as possible, the job can be challenging.
It can also be argued, though likely without much disagreement, that motherhood is just as challenging. While women across the world are balancing these two most difficult careers, there may be no one who is doing it as gracefully as Juliette Kulda, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Half Moon Bay office and a mother of nine.
For Kulda, life if a game of numbers. Twenty years living in Half Moon Bay, nine years selling real estate, two teammates she’s been working with for four years, millions-of-dollars in sales, dozens of transactions each year, 19 years of marriage to her husband, Derek, one four-year-old dog, Stella, and maybe most importantly; Cosette, 17; Derek Jr., 15; Joseph, 13; Marius, 11; Gabriel, 9; Peter, 7; Angelo, 4; Julian, 2, and Mary Ellen, one month. It’s a lot to take care of in 24 hours.
“Whether you’re negotiating bedtime or a million-dollar contract, there are actually a lot of similarities between being a mother and being a real estate agent,” said Kulda. “Keeping track of details, mastering multi-tasking, staying organized and being efficient with your time – learning to balance the needs of a large family has given me skills to balance several escrows at a time. Flexibility as a part of everyday family life is just like being flexible when an escrow doesn’t go as planned.”
Kulda’s journey into real estate started nearly a decade ago while helping her husband with his local construction business, Kulda & 7 Sons Construction. At a time when real estate was booming, the company was busy building new homes and Kulda helped with getting complicated building permits, choosing finishes and purchasing land. It made sense for her to get her license and learn more about selling real estate.
She started with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Half Moon Bay office in 2002 and a few years later, teamed up with veteran Realtors Bill Derow and Margi Miller to form The Coastside Realtor Team. The trio shares the workload, making sure someone is always available to help clients if another wants freedom to take time off for events, vacations or to spend time with family.
“It takes teamwork,” said Kulda. “Without the help of Bill and Margi, my supportive husband, and our fearless nanny of seven years, Theresa, I couldn’t balance my work and an active household without sacrificing the care that my family and clients both deserve.”
“Juliette is extraordinary,” said Darlene Cowan, manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Half Moon Bay. “I watch with amazement how smoothly she handles her household while building a career as a top producer. She achieves all of this with a high degree of ethics, compassion for others, faith and a good sense of humor. Juliette is to me, a beautiful example of mother/business woman extraordinaire.”
As part of The Coastside Realtor Team, Kulda sold 33 properties in 2010 and received the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage President Elite Team award – an honor bestowed upon only the top 6% of real estate teams in the United States and Canada. The team also ranked in the top 100 out of more than 3,600 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage sales associates in Northern California and was honored at an event in March for top-producers. A week later, she gave birth to daughter Mary Ellen.
“I shouldn’t have been as surprised to see her at the Top 100 event just days before giving birth,” said Rick Turley, President of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “I walked in and there she was, all the way from Half Moon Bay, with a big smile on her face and ready to network with other agents. No matter what is going on and no matter how busy she is at home or at the office, she is always there for her clients and her colleagues. She is simply amazing.”
Though born on April Fools’ Day, the story of Mary Ellen’s birth is not a joke. For her previous seven babies, when her schedule allowed, Kulda had taken a castor oil cocktail to kick off labor and have natural births. So after a long day at work on March 31, she took the castor oil around 6:00 pm and headed to the hospital around midnight. But by that time it was too late and, as husband Derek sped through red lights, Kulda gave birth in the front seat of the car on 19th Avenue in San Francisco.
“It was a bit nerve-racking but looking back, I realize it was actually a nice private time for us and our baby without all the hustle and bustle of the hospital. It’s actually my new birth plan of choice,” joked Kulda.
Back at the office six days later, Kulda admits she rarely takes time off. Originally from Peoria, Ill., she is no stranger to big families or hard work. The fifth-born of nine children, she comes from a family of entrepreneurs and grew up working alongside her brothers and sisters at their family’s restaurants.
“My parents led by example and taught us that success comes from hard work, but that it’s important to make time for fun, family dinners, and evening prayers.” said Kulda. “I hope to instill that in my children as well. We would love for them to follow in our footsteps and get into real estate or construction but, if nothing else, we want to show them what can be achieved through working hard and keeping a positive attitude.”
The Kulda children have all been exposed to their parents’ businesses and do help where they can. For example, thirteen-year-old Joseph is tech-savvy and helps Kulda with her computer and smartphone. Several of the boys have helped her husband, Derek, with construction projects, and the entrepreneurial gene may have been passed to Cosette who will be studying business at the University of Dallas this fall.
The family is also actively involved in the community through church, school and Half Moon Bay Little League and Pop Warner Football. Kulda says it’s an opportunity to spend more time with her family, learn more about the coastal communities she serves, and meet potential clients.
“She’s incredible with her ability to multi-task and make time for what’s important,” said Turley. “She really makes it look easy to do it all and have it all.”
“I’m not going to say it’s always easy, but my life is extremely rewarding,” said Kulda. “I love working with people and each one of my children is a blessing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Half Moon Bay is located at 248 Main Street, Ste. 200 and can be reached at 650.726.1100. Kulda may be reached directly at 650.712.2421, via e-mail at Juliette.Kulda@cbnorcal.com and through her website, www.CoastsideRealtor.com.