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Ambulance Driver Turns to Real Estate

The thing Cathy Harding liked best about her job as a part-time emergency medical technician (EMT) was that she was the first to hear if anything happened. “When you’ve got four kids at home, it’s good to know what’s going on,” she says.

Cathy isn’t one of those people who’d always wanted to be a doctor. “I had no medical knowledge or any desire to be in the medical profession,” she says. But what she did care about were the services in Wilton, her hometown. “I wanted a part-time job while the kids were little,” she says. “I thought about the amenities in town and which one I would miss if it were gone.” The town’s emergency services scored at the top of her list.

After 12 years of driving an ambulance and tending to the sick and wounded, Cathy felt it was time for a new challenge. “I think it’s good to mix it up when it comes to jobs. I love learning,” she says. And the four kids had grown up and wanted to go to college. Tuition bills loomed large.

For the past nine years, Cathy has worked as a real estate agent with Prudential Connecticut Realty in Wilton. In 2010 she was one of the top producers in her office. She firmly believes that what she learned as an EMT translates into real estate. “Calling 911 is a big deal,” she says. “Buying a house is also a big event, and an agent has to be very sensitive.” Just like an EMT. Cathy checks off confidentiality, trust, reassurance --all qualities that real estate agents share with EMTs.

Though based in Wilton, Cathy sells homes between Fairfield and Stamford. She likes to preview neighborhoods and properties before taking clients. “I never judge areas or schools,” she says. “That’s for each individual to decide for themselves.” But Cathy does have an opinion when it comes to the online real estate sites, Zillow and Trulia . “They pull their information from public records,” she says. This can lead to confusion for buyers who are comparing a house for sale to one that has sold, based on square footage. “You have to look at houses and see what they are like inside,” she says. Two houses might have similar square footage but one could have marble floors and the other vinyl. Her advice? “If you want to understand the real value of properties, you should get the opinion of a Realtor.”

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