As a realtor, Ganger finds rewards in face-to-face relationship with customers
After she graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1985 with a degree in fashion design, Casey (Fihe) Ganger thought she had landed a dream job as a buyer for several different companies.
“I had a pretty cool career,” said Ganger (WC ’80) who worked in retail for 35 years. “It was kind of my dream job. I was lucky.”
However, there was one thing the dream job lacked: making a personal connection with the consumer. She never got to see how customers responded when they found the right dress or suit. In 2019, Ganger thought it was time for a change. She resumed her career as a full-time realtor, working for Coldwell Banking Realty.
“I decided I wanted to do something that was a little more personal,” said Ganger, who obtained a real estate license in 2007 and spent a four-year stint selling houses before returning to retail. I wanted to connect with my customers on a personal level.
“In my mind, real estate is a people business. You’re helping someone achieve their dreams of owning a home. Sometimes people are upsizing, sometimes it’s downsizing, and sometimes it’s helping that first-time buyer. All of those people need information and direction. It’s my job to give them all the information they need, so they can make the best investment possible with their money.”
Ganger crossed the 100-homes-sold threshold in her second stint with selling real estate. In that stretch, she helped her son Jacob (27) buy his first home, her brother Dave Fihe downsize into a home for retirement and her mom Susan Fihe find the perfect home.
One of Ganger’s customers that sticks out was a couple who had a handicapped daughter. The daughter wanted her own space but needed to be on the same property as her parents.
“We looked for quite a while before we were able to find just the right house,” said Ganger, who is engaged to Don Armstrong and lives in Westerville. “It was very rewarding to see everybody so happy.
“(When you finally close a deal) it feels like you finished a marathon. You’ve helped the client clear every hurdle. I’m taking their hand through the whole process and helping them through these hurdles.”
The downside to be a realtor is helping someone compose an offer for a home and then watching them respond when they don’t get the house.
“People really fall in love with houses,” she said. “They give it their all and when they don’t get it, it’s very difficult.”
Customers are hearing the word “No” much more than they are hearing the word “Yes” these days as Columbus has become a seller’s market. Houses are at a premium currently with the demand for outsizing the availability.
“If you are selling a house, especially if you’re going to downsize and buy a less expensive property, now is a fabulous time to sell,” she said. “But the market right now is a very rough one for buyers. As a realtor, there’s a delicate balance on what you want to tell the buyer to do. If they really want a house, you have to lay out every choice for them, but in the end, it has to be their decision.”
“One of the cool things about being a realtor is I’ve been able to work with people from all walks of life. I’ve worked with rich people, poor people, Christians, Muslims and Jewish people and many other people with different backgrounds. We’re able to talk about our differences and get a better understanding of each other. You get to see how God has worked in other people’s lives and they get to hear how He’s worked in mine.”
With getting to know her clientele being one of Ganger’s strengths, the COVID 19 pandemic was a hurdle she had to overcome. She used Zoom and Facetime platforms to get to know new clients and even showed some houses virtually without the customer or the real estate agent being there.
“The pandemic obviously made it more difficult to connect with people when you can’t see them face to face,” Ganger said. “That’s quite difficult because pictures are not the same thing as being there. The whole thing has been very different.”
Being a people person is something that can be traced back to Ganger’s days at Worthington Christian. The Warriors’ Class of 1980 had only 42 members compared to Ganger’s son’s graduating class at Westerville North, which had 420.
“Because Worthington Christian was a smaller school, we got to know each other really well, much more personally than you would have gotten to at a larger school. It prepared me for getting along with different personality types instead of clinging with a clique of people who were just like me.”