As a fourth-generation Washingtonian, Carrie Babbington Hillegass is deeply rooted in her community. She was born and raised in D.C. and even sent her daughters to the same schools she herself attended as a child — Blessed Sacrament School and Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School.
For 22 years, Carrie worked as an educator. She started her education career in the classroom, and then served as the Head of Schools for six Washington, D.C., public charter schools.
After over two decades in education, the winds of change began to blow through Carrie’s life in 2014. Her sister-in-law, Margaret Babbington, had entered the real estate business several years prior, and as her business grew, she needed help. Carrie offered to support her for a few hours a week.
“And the rest is history,” Carrie laughs. “I loved it so much I got my three licenses in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and started working full-time.”
Landing on Her Feet
Leaving a salaried job in health care to enter the real estate business was a risk, but one that Carrie is grateful she took. Since 2014, she’s amassed over $115 million in sales. Carrie was recognized as a top agent in each of the past two years, culminating with her best year ever in 2020, when she sold over $30 million. She’s currently a Compass Senior Vice President and a senior partner on The Babbington Team.
Carrie attributes much of her success to her work ethic. Early on in her career, she recognized that wavering effort wouldn’t cut it in the real estate business. “A few emails over a weekend and attending an open house is not going to cut it,” she says bluntly. “You need strategic plans and constant follow-up. Also, you need to have really thick skin because it can get rough out there.”
Balance in Focus
Ask any yogi, athlete, or real estate agent, for that matter … the idea that balance is a steady state is a farce. Rather, balance is achieved through perpetual motion, a steadfast effort that requires the individual to make minor adjustments, moment by moment.
As author David Fischer points out, “Balance comes from shifting to face the needs that arise in our lives. You don’t need to create a static approach to your activities, your attention, and your energy. It can be dynamic and change … and still be balanced. One week, you might have to work more to get a project done, you might exercise more, or spend more time with a family member who needs support. Your focus shifts, changes, and evolves.”
Some have suggested that work-life balance itself is a farce, and that, instead, work-life harmony is the real goal. Perhaps there’s something to this idea.
With three daughters at home, Carrie admits that “creating the right work-life balance seems to be a challenge. The goal is to keep all the family and professional balls successfully in the air, but at times this can be difficult.”
Carrie, her husband, Mike, and their daughters Hope, Kiki, and Ella enjoy everything from family dinners to travel. With three teenagers, sports and other engagements keep the whole family busy. “We love it when the five of us can be together with quality time, just the family,” Carrie says. “Needless to say, quarantining during COVID has provided copious amounts of family time.”
Giving Her All
Despite the challenges, Carrie approaches her work in real estate as a “seven-days-a-week and all-hours-of-the-day” job. She works hard for her clients and works just as hard to make sure she is there for her family. Carrie’s favorite quote, by Colin Powell, encapsulates her philosophy: “A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”
“My career has mostly amazing benefits, but sometimes it does take time away from events for my family and friends. However, the benefits far outweigh any negatives,” Carrie says. “In real estate, we meet so many amazing people — our clients, our colleagues, title attorneys, inspectors, technicians, etc. The list goes on and on. I work extremely hard for every client, no matter the price point or property. I treat all of my clients like family and prioritize their needs above all else.”
“Still,” she says, “my main motivation for everything I do are my three daughters.”
At the end of the day for Carrie, it’s all about family, since home is truly where her heart is.