Kelly Duggan came to Marblehead essentially by accident.
After growing up in Pittsburgh, Duggan decided it was time for a change in 2000. Boston had always appealed to her, so she flew from Pittsburgh to Logan Airport, rented a car, and managed to find herself in Marblehead. It was love at first sight.
Duggan is now a realtor with years of experience under her belt, and launched her own firm just last year after working for a larger one. Now, Duggan is bringing on a partner — Valerie White — to provide customers with design.
That branch of the business will not distract from the primary focus of real estate, Duggan said. Instead, she said it will provide clients with an avenue to maximize the value of their homes.
“With real estate, it comes from curb appeal, it’s outside-in and inside-out, and I’ve always had kind of a taste for design, colors, and layers. I love that stuff,” Duggan said. “We’re going to do staging, and we offer also post, so when you move into a house and you’re like ‘What do I do here?’ we can come in and help you figure that out.”
Starting her own business required a leap of faith, Duggan said. She had to leave behind the security that working at a larger firm might provide to become her own boss and work for herself. At her previous stop, Duggan said she felt as though she was working on a contract. She wasn’t doing the work for her.
Now, she’s more successful than ever.
“I feel like it was the right move,” she said.
Duggan added that she’s been able to maintain many of her key contacts across the industry — including attorneys, photographers, and loan officers.
“I had taken what I needed to from the bigger agency with a lot of agents and weekly meetings,” Duggan said. “At some point it was … time for me to be on my own.”
“Now I’m 100 percent doing it for me and my family. I work 24/7, it feels like, and I don’t mind it because I’m doing it for me,” she added.
Duggan explained that she spent much of her life travelling, a time during which her lifelong love of “houses or manors or castles” expanded. On trips she would make it a point to tour properties across the world. Living in Marblehead only compounded that.
“Coming to Marblehead and seeing what’s around here, I just knew it was the right move for me,” she said.
At her firm, aptly named Kelly Duggan Real Estate, most of the clientele are referrals, meaning Duggan can provide a personalized experience that she feels sets her apart.
“It’s not just a transaction for me,” she said.
Duggan acknowledged the weight that a decision like buying a house carries, noting it could be the biggest financial commitment of a customer’s life. With that in mind, Duggan places an emphasis on listening to her clients throughout the process and walking them through the journey.
Real estate is “not a one size fits all,” she said.
“Some people need a little more, some people don’t,” Duggan said. “There’s no specific formula for it. It’s just being natural.”