We had the chance to sit down with businesswoman, entrepreneur, and Realtor® Helen Harder to chat about her roots, and her journey into real estate. At the end we see a different side of Helen in our rapid fire questions.
Q: Did you grow up in Grande Prairie?
A: No, I actually grew up 5.5 hours north of here in a small Hamlet called La Crete. I was the 4th of 6 kids so there was always something going on! I credit a lot of who I am today to my parents, who are unfortunately no longer with us. They taught all of us kids the value of working hard, family, and giving back.
Q: Tell me about the move from La Crete to Grande Prairie that seems like a big transition?
A: My husband, a journeyman carpenter, and I decided quite early on we wanted more for ourselves and our family. Moving was a huge risk but we thought we could create something great in Grande Prairie. We started our building company, Harder Builders in 1995. Those early years we worked HARD! We both took on so many different roles as we built our company from the ground up. I love that we got to run it together for over 25 years.
Q: With so much history in construction, how does that translate into real estate?
A: Oh my goodness how does it not?! It's no secret that Grande Prairie has some great Realtors®; Daniel Cram, Katie Good, Gerald Friesen, Brandi Martin, and Jeff Warkentin just to name a few. I think what differentiates me is my past construction experience. When I walk into a house I am not only seeing what it is but also what it could be! Along with that if there is something that seems odd or worrying to my clients I have an amazing husband at home who is a wealth of knowledge and can provide clarity and some peace of mind.
Q: We can see how your construction background helps, but how did you transition from that into real estate?
A: I still pinch myself every single day that I get to do what I do! I dreamt of being a Realtor® for so many years, but because I did not have my GED it seemed impossible. Once my kids were older and our business was established it felt like the time to take another risk just like we had all those years back in moving to Grande Prairie. I worked hard and got my GED and immediately started my real estate courses. I haven't looked back since!
Q: What is your favourite thing about being a Realtor®?
A: I can't answer that...there are just so many things I love! My family always teases me about being an extrovert so if I absolutely had to pick I would say the people aspect, I love meeting new people, helping them, and getting to be a part of such a big moment in their lives!
Q: You recently opened your own brokerage, how has that been, and why did you start it?
Yes, Realty One Group Northern Advantage is my real estate brokerage. It has been a huge learning curve but I love it. I absolutely love real estate, all aspects of it! I felt like there was a gap in the market. I wanted a Grande Prairie real estate brokerage that had less fees for us as agents, a place where the broker was always available and rooting for you, and a place to call my own. I also always wanted to expand back to my Northern roots and love that we have two great Realtors® in High Level and La Crete!
Thanks so much Helen, now a few rapid fire questions before we close!
Q: What is your favourite colour?
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
A: Work! I often forget that I am working because I love it so much, but when I'm not working I enjoy spending time with friends and family, and travelling.
Q: What's your favourite TV show?
A: I watch a lot of HGTV and real estate shows...have I mentioned I love real estate?! 😂 I really enjoy Million Dollar Listing, any city!
Q: What's one of your favourite things to eat in Grande Prairie?
A: I cannot resist Jeffrey's Cafe spinach dip, I'd highly recommend it!
Q: Lastly, what's something you love about Grande Prairie?
A: I have seen Grande Prairie change and grow so much in the 30+ years I've been here, but it's still has a small town feel! When my husband and I first moved here we thought it was the land of opportunity and I still think it is. There is such an entrepreneurial spirit around here. I also love seeing how the community can come together for a cause or charity. It's an amazing place to call home!
We loved getting to know more about one of our favourite Grande Prairie Realtors® Helen Harder and hope you did to!