Katherine Castro Eardley, Senior Mortgage Loan Officer, Mortgage Network Inc., Burlington

by Liz Hughes

What was your most interesting job before going into real estate? My most interesting job was selling prom dresses as an associate at Caché, a European boutique at Rockingham Mall. I loved seeing the starlit eyes of fellow teenage girls and the spark when they found “The Dress.” On a deeper note, the store had all sizes, which was a rarity at the time, and it was really affirming to see people look like a million bucks and FEEL comfortable.

Where did you grow up? I’m originally from the Dominican Republic, and moved to Puerto Rico at the tender age of 4. When I turned 8, my family moved to Miami, Florida, and that’s where I grew up. I loved how diverse the city was, getting to know people with different backgrounds and different cultures.

Growing up, what did you want to be? I actually wanted to be a defense attorney. It’s not just that I loved to argue, but I was really compelled by the principle that everyone deserved legal representation and was innocent until proven guilty. I know it’s not what most people think, but I was intrigued by the question of how they were able to set aside their own biases and defend people accused of (and possibly guilty of) serious wrongdoing.

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? In nice weather and under ideal circumstances, I like to run or go hiking. I actually need it. Too bad I hate to be cold! But running really does help me get out my stress and frustration. I love the way I feel after a good run. Too bad, I always want a pint of Guinness afterwards!

If you could meet any well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? I would love to have a conversation with Michelle Obama. After reading her book, “Becoming,” I felt a connection to her but not for the reasons that most people would assume. We would need a lot of time, because there would be a lot to cover in our discussion. For example, as I read, I thought about how White Flight and redlining directly affected her family across the generations. Because I’m not originally from the United States, redlining didn’t impact my family in the same multi-generational way it affected her family and so many others. As a lender, a lot of laws and regulations help ensure that all my clients are treated equitably and fairly, and I’m always talking with my clients about building generational wealth. Hearing her story was a powerful reminder of what the American dream of owning a home has looked like for different people. I would also relish the opportunity to discuss our journeys as women and mothers, and the questions that working mothers struggle with on a daily basis.

What is Boston’s best-kept secret? I don’t know that it’s a secret, per se, but my husband and I had one of our most memorable dates at Piccolo Nido in the North End. It was such an unassuming place, the food was fantastic, and the staff was super friendly.

What do you love most about the industry? I love it when my business partners become my clients. That’s a great feeling, because these are people in the industry, and they know the options at their disposal. When they choose to work with me, it’s a great affirmation that I’ve demonstrated what sets me apart. I enjoy the opportunity to provide a great outcome for every client, but it’s hard to describe the satisfaction I feel when I hear from a client 5 or even 10 years after our first transaction, and they’ve come back to me to refinance, to get a loan for a new home, or to get a mortgage on a vacation or income property. It shows me that they valued not only a competitive interest rate or mortgage product but also my dedication and communication.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? Well, I sort of said it above, but I am looking to make authentic connections. I am a farmer. I plant seeds. I fertilize the soil. And I watch the seed grow. I’m not the person who pressures people to buy, but I am always looking for solutions when there are bumps in the road.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? At times I find myself wanting to fight for the underdog. Everyone deserves a fair chance if they are a viable borrower, even if their financial journey was complicated.

What’s your best advice for generating new leads? I never thought I’d say this, but work on your social media. This is something that I avoided like the plague for years, because I feared I would lose my privacy. What has been proven to me over time is that you still have some control over what is shared. And you have to be your own microphone. If no one knows about you, they can’t then like and trust you, and they won’t be able to choose to work with you.

What has been your greatest accomplishment? My children. With each child I have found new growth, love, comfort, patience, and selflessness. My children inspire me to grow. My first daughter leads with her heart, and she has taught me to be more sensitive and compassionate. She brought a new level of meaning to my life. My second daughter is an angel, full of light. She is sweet and witty and has a memory like a vault. And my son is a force of nature. He had a very abrupt birth and has always been more serious than my daughters. He reminds me of myself. 

What are you binge-watching/reading/listening to lately? Ooh.. Watching “Euphoria” on HBO, Listening to “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama. I like learning about people who are biracial because I have biracial children, and I’m obsessed with learning about people who have had that life experience, what struggles they face, how it affects their trajectory. Trevor Noah also talked about these topics in “Born a Crime.”

What’s your favorite meal in Boston? Without a doubt, when my husband and I plan an afternoon or evening in Boston, it almost always brings us to Abe and Louie’s. We start with the raw oysters, and I get the Filet Mignon for an entrée. Green beans are my go-to side dish. And the meal is never complete without their amazing crème brulee with the fresh berries to finish it off. I stay “hydrated” through it all with Prosecco.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Boston? The Church of the Covenant on Newbury St is my favorite building. Some friends of ours hosted a night of musical sharing there several years ago called “Love Songs for the World,” and it was a great night, filled with awesome moments like watching my daughter sing her favorite T Swizzle song. Now I feel myself always drawn to that building.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on the job? Some guy I had never heard of was a featured guest and speaker at an event I attended. I had no idea who he was, but everyone was making a fuss, so I texted my husband, and asked him if knew who Devon McCourty was. He replied, “Yeah, he plays for the Pats LOL.” I ended up really appreciating the speech he gave that night. He talked a lot about his mother and the impact she made on his and his brother’s lives. 

What’s one thing people are surprised to learn about you? People are always shocked to learn that my first language is Spanish and that I was not born in the U.S. It always makes me think of my ESOL teacher in first grade. She was obsessed with enunciation! I guess it worked, but it does create these awkward moments.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? The state of California. I love to drive and I have driven from LA all the way up Route 1 and through Big Sur and up to San Fran making stops along the way and loved every minute of it. First time was with one of my best friends. And then a couple years ago my husband, daughters, and baby number three in my belly did it all over again. Two very different trips, but both legendary in their own right. There will be no third time. Suffice to say, the kids didn’t appreciate it quite the same way my husband and I hoped.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Ask for help, and don’t be afraid to say you made a mistake.

What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? Realtor.com lol.

Who are your favorite people to follow on social media? Michelle Fermin, Century 21 The Fermin Group, because I enjoy her many travels and the way she empowers and promotes her team by featuring them on her page.

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