Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 12, 2021

Morway on another winning run

Former college soccer player works to master new hometown

Kara Morway represents buyers and sellers with The Edrington Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices J Douglas Properties. - Photograph provided

When a debilitating injury sidelined Kara Morway at the beginning of her senior year as an Illinois State Redbird, she had a decision to make: End her Division I collegiate soccer career on a sour note or dive into rehab and do her best to return to the sport she’d been playing since she first toddled onto a field at age 3.

Morway not only worked overtime to heal after tearing her quadricep, she also refused to sit on the bench. Instead, she stood at the sideline, cheering on her teammates and serving as a strident voice of support and encouragement.

Her hard work paid off in a triumphant return as the starting left back during the second half of the season. From there, Morway contributed to her team’s division winning run, NCAA tournament bid and first-round upset of the University of Michigan Wolverines.

“We were the underdogs,” she says, smiling. “It was a great way to end my collegiate career.”

These memories are still fresh for Morway, who’s just 26. But she’s not living on the afterglow of bygone days; rather, she’s moving forward with her next life challenge: Growing her budding real estate career.

Morway has six months of experience representing buyers and sellers with The Edrington Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices J Douglas Properties. Despite the many layers of ownership, she says she feels a firm sense of place, primarily due to working within a strong team environment.

“I like being able to lean on my teammates,” she says. “Having a mentor has also been huge. I’m a perfectionist, so I want to do things the right way.”

Morway has had plenty of opportunities to be coached through challenging transactions during her still-brief stint as a Realtor. One deal placed her at the center of a land sale, which opened a Pandora’s Box of issues.

When Morway emerged from the process, contract secured, she had not only gained valuable knowledge and experience – and become an authority of sorts on soil samples – but she also had a solid candidate for a go-to rookie story.

Learning the real estate trade is not the only daunting task Morway faced after moving to Chattanooga at the beginning of 2020; she also had to familiarize herself with a city that was like a stranger to her.

Morway grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, then made her way past the cornfields of central Illinois to Redbird country. There, she studied child development.

“One of the prerequisites was Psychology 101, which took a deep dive into how people think,” she recalls. “I thought it was fascinating, so I took it a step further.”

After graduating from college, Morway bounced between Chicago and central Illinois, working first in customer service for a medical supply company and then in college recruiting.

When her boyfriend’s employer asked if he’d be willing to transfer to Chattanooga, they seized the opportunity.

“We were ready to escape the cold,” she laughs.

During the handful of weeks between Morway’s arrival in the Scenic City and the pandemic shutting down her new home, her daily routine consisted of buying a cup of coffee and then strolling through her community to familiarize herself with her new surroundings.

“I didn’t know where to go, so I did a ton of exploring,” she explains. “I didn’t know any people, either, so I tried to branch out where I could.”

Morway’s excursions netted her a job in early childhood development – just as Chattanooga was beginning to shut down. Disappointed, she continued to job hunt, drawing on the part of her personality that refused to spend her senior year on the bench.

Morway’s search eventually brought her to a help wanted ad posted by The Edrington Team. She can’t recall its precise nature, but she does know it had nothing to do with being an agent.

Morway applied for the position. Moments later, she was talking with a representative from the team about the real estate profession.

“We talked for hours over the course of the next few weeks,” she says. “I learned what real estate entails, and that it’s not a black-and-white, nine-to-five kind of job. It was an open conversation about what to expect.”

As someone who had experienced success and overcome adversity while playing soccer, Morway was drawn to the team concept. She also saw the potential for unlimited growth and the freedom to tap into her creative side.

“I saw that there would be no ceiling above me, and that I would be able to approach real estate how I wanted,” she notes. “I’ve had other roles where I could do only so much, and where I had to perform tasks a certain way, so both of those things excited me.”

Not knowing when her other job would begin, Morway eventually pulled the trigger on real estate.

“I was waiting on something else, but real estate was ready.”

Since becoming an agent, Morway has put her status as a newcomer behind her. Outside of work, she’s joined two soccer leagues, and in her role as a Realtor, she’s completed 10 transactions and is gearing up to do more.

She says becoming active in the community has opened doors for her business. After the people she met through soccer learned about her work, for example, they began to prod her for information about the market and the value of their home.

“It’s cool to have that knowledge and to have people gravitate toward you for help,” she says. “Whether or not it translates into something, I like problem-solving for people.”

The lessons continue, though, especially those related to the strange hours Realtors keep.

“I’ve actually said, ‘I know it’s 9 p.m., but I need to go show a house before someone else scoops it up,’” she says, laughing. “And an offer I wrote was accepted on Thanksgiving Day. That’s been an adjustment.”

Even in her spare time, Morway is knee-deep in real estate, although as a first-time homebuyer instead of an agent. After she and her boyfriend saw the Hixson house and pictured their puppy romping through its spacious backyard, they said yes to buying it quicker than they said yes to Chattanooga.

“We knew it was the right home for us,” she beams.

Morway says buying a home has helped her to encourage her clients. “I had two first-time homebuyers go under contract at the same time as me. That allowed them to see that the issues that pop up are normal.”

The momentum Morway is building in real estate might be carrying her further away from her glory days as a collegiate soccer player, but the experiences she had and the lessons she learned as a Redbird are still with her.

“Getting into this without knowing anyone or anything was scary,” she admits. “But I need to give myself more credit for learning all this stuff amidst everything that’s going on. It was a leap of faith, but I wouldn’t take it back.”