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Broten retiring after 41 years in real estate

Char Broten is retiring after 41 years in real estate in Jamestown on Dec. 31. When she started in real estate in 1976, Broten was one of three women selling real estate in Jamestown.

Char Broten, a real estate broker with Midstate Realty, has a joke she likes to tell whenever anyone asks her when she is going to retire.

“When people ask me that I say ‘Well, when you see my obituary in the paper, you can say ‘I guess she retired,’” she said.

Broten officially retires on Dec. 31 after 41 years of real estate work in Jamestown. Broten said she has no plans to move to somewhere warm in the winter months, preferring to stay in Jamestown.

Broten was born and raised in McLean County, N.D. and moved to Jamestown in 1946. She started working as a secretary at Farmers Union Insurance and worked there until 1976. Prior to leaving Farmers Union Insurance, she became a real estate broker and sold houses through the insurance company’s real estate division.

“My immediate boss Clayton Gadd, he established a real estate division in Farmers Union and he asked me if would be interested in becoming licensed to sell real estate,” she said. “I thought it was wonderful opportunity.”

Broten said she decided to get a license to be a real estate broker, rather than a real estate seller, so she could open her own real estate agency if she wanted to in the future.

“The first home I sold after becoming licensed was to LeRoy and Leanne Wegenast,” she said, “and they are still in that home.”

When Broten started in real estate there were only two other women selling real estate at the time.

“We were pioneers,” she said.

Broten said she never experienced any discrimination in all her years in real estate. If anything, she thinks being a woman gave her an advantage.

“Being a lady made it easy to show homes and people accepted me doing it,” she said

Broten opened her own real estate business, Rainbow Realty, in 1976 after the real estate division in Farmers Union Insurance closed. She had Rainbow Realty until 1988 when she closed it and went to work for Reuben Liechty Realtors. Broten continued working with Reuben Liechty through 2016. She said she had surgery, spent time recovering with her daughter in Vail, Colo., and then went to work for Midstate Realty in May.

Over her career Broten said she went from using a pen and paper to complete listing and purchase agreements to using computers.

She said anyone considering becoming a real estate agent or broker need to keep in mind that things need to be done properly.

“You need to do things properly, legally, and you need to be very much aware of your client’s needs,” she said.

Broten said what she enjoyed most about her work was working with people and helping people find the house that become their home.

“I have very much enjoyed my association with the people I have worked with down through the years,” she said.

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

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