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REALTOR® Profile: Lennie Rasmussen | She Lifts People Up

By Bridget McCrea

Lennie Rasmussen refuses to participate in the “cutthroat” side of the real estate industry and instead uses mentoring, education and volunteering to help lift her community up.

Lennie Rasmussen knows that the real estate sector can be pretty competitive at times, but she’s not having any part of that. In fact, when things start to get a little too “cutthroat” for her liking, this REALTOR® with RealVantage Real Estate in Spokane isn’t afraid to speak up and remind everyone that helping people buy and sell homes is truly a team sport.

“I decided early that ‘cutthroat’ was not going to be my experience as an agent,” says Rasmussen, who elects instead to connect with and support her fellow REALTORS® regardless of the current market conditions, opportunities or challenges that they’re collectively facing. “I want us to be always lifting each other up; I don’t want cutthroat.”

Rasmussen’s role as Membership Chair for Spokane REALTORS®, which has five separate committees, provides some of those valuable connections that she’s always looking to make. She also holds a leadership position with the Young Professionals Network (YPN) board, which recently hosted a “Growth with a Purpose” educational event. National speakers attended the full-day event, where attendees received training, discussed challenges and networked with one another.

“I love to put on and/or get involved with events that help bring our entire community together,” says Rasmussen. “We’re all dealing with common issues, and one great way to work through them is by helping each other tackle those problems, improve themselves and succeed in their careers.”

Bouncing Back Even Better

Rasmussen’s real estate journey started in 2021, when she learned of a great opportunity at her sister’s existing real estate team. A former paralegal, she worked her way all the way up to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, where she served as an operations training specialist and case administrator.

When Rasmussen became a single mom about five years ago, she started looking for a career with fewer financial limitations and glass ceilings. “I was barely scraping by and not always able to meet my bills; it was very challenging,” she says. During the COVID pandemic, her sister needed boots on the ground in Spokane to help run her real estate team. With spare time on her hands to study for the real estate exam, Rasmussen took the plunge and started working as a part-time broker.

One year later, after socking away enough money to make the break from her court job, Rasmussen officially joined the RealVantage Real Estate team on a full-time basis. The market would prove to be yet another roadblock for Rasmussen, who had to navigate the mid-2022 market dip just a few months after going into the business full time.

“That whole first year in real estate was challenging. I lost 10 deals back-to-back between June and November,” says Rasmussen. “It was the worst thing, but when you get to the bottom sometimes it allows you to hit that place of your ‘why,’ your purpose and what you’re doing. It helped me bounce back even better.”

Turning Things Around

As with most things in life, it sometimes takes a trip to “rock bottom” before you’re driven to make substantial changes and revisit your priorities. For Rasmussen, that day came when she got down to about $350 in her bank account. At that point, a career coach advised her to quit real estate and go get another job.

“I was just devastated, I cried to my whole team,” Rasmussen says. “I’d never failed at anything. It was very hard for me to be in that place.” Fortunately an angel was waiting in the wings, checkbook in hand ready to support Rasmussen through this extremely difficult time. “My sister wrote me a check for $5,000 and told me to cash it if I needed it, but that she didn’t want me to quit,” says Rasmussen.

“I still have that check in my purse,” she adds. “One of these days I’m going to frame it and give it back to my sister.”

Having someone believe so deeply in her chances for success pushed Rasmussen into a whole new realm. When 2023 rolled around she had a whole new purpose and vision. Where she’d spent much of her first year in real estate attempting to model what other agents were doing, for example, Rasmussen decided to start leading with her true, authentic self.

“I came into 2023 no longer trying to be anybody else and tightly focused on serving my clients,” she says. “At that point, everything turned around. I killed it last year and made the most money I’ve ever made in my entire life.”

Connecting on a Human Level

Today, Rasmussen’s business is primarily referral based. She does no lead generation and says she’s been blessed to have a large enough network and referral system in place to keep her business going. One of her specialty areas is the buy-sell, where she gets a chance to put together a plan and “masterfully help people” through the complex process of selling one home and buying another within a short timeframe.

Rasmussen uses her own homeownership story to inspire her clients and help them through the homebuying and mortgage processes. “I’m not some luxury agent that can’t identify with or know that it’s hard to come up with that money; I know firsthand that real estate transactions can be difficult,” she explains. “But I try to make it as easy as possible for my clients by connecting with them on a human level.”

For example, Rasmussen has helped clients leverage their 401(k)s to come up with the necessary down payments, even if those funds weren’t readily available in a more liquid form. One client in particular was working in a hospital kitchen and unaware of the rules regarding the use of 401(k)s to purchase a home. “She was able to access the funds she needed to be able to buy her home,” says Rasmussen. “There’s a solution to every problem, and this is just one example of how I help clients think outside of the box.”

Giving Back to the Community

Much like she enjoys supporting other real estate agents, Rasmussen also likes lifting women up in her community. She mentors individual business owners and also works with other agents who need advice and support.

“I’m a huge advocate for women across multiple avenues,” she says. Rasmussen is also a devoted volunteer who supports groups like FailSafe for Life (for which she is a board member), whose activities include MAYlers for Mental Health and a Spring for Hope Auction. She recently joined the Lutheran Community Service’s Mission Leadership Cabinet, which helps those who have been impacted by sexual crimes or child abuse.

Looking ahead, Rasmussen has her sights set on working with more clients on Washington’s west side, where housing price points are slightly higher. At press time she was about to list a “cool unique property” and was already planning out the aerial footage and photos for that home. “I love creating unique videos for my listings,” she says.

Rasmussen also wants to grow into new industry leadership roles with Spokane REALTORS® and has expanded to other MLS organizations. “I’m excited to grow through the Spokane REALTORS® and I also want to go state and even national and see what I can do at the leadership level in those organizations,” Rasmussen explains.

Boots on the Ground and Involved

As she surveys the Washington real estate environment and some of the recent events that could potentially impact brokerage on a national level, Rasmussen says agents who stick to supporting the communities they serve and offering true value to clients and community members will continue to persevere.

“Recently, Spokane REALTORS® fought hard to get local impact fees reduced by $16,000 for people to complete their water and sewer hookups. We’ve been fighting for similar ‘wins’ on many other levels, and always with the community and individual buyer/seller in mind,” Rasmussen concludes. “Maybe we can’t predict what’s going to happen nationally, but I can predict what’s going to happen here because I’m boots on the ground and involved.”

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