I first met Kristin Clark at a beautiful 1920s English Tudor that she’s currently completely renovating. Flipping houses is a lot of work, filled with unexpected challenges; however, Clark’s diverse background and passion for improving the neighborhoods she loves creates beautiful and unique homes that revive the area. It was obvious from watching her work that she is doing exactly what she was meant to do.
Clark got her start by getting involved with a variety of humanitarian causes after receiving her undergraduate degree in sociology from Wells College in Aurora, N.Y.
“When I finished my undergrad, I wanted to help people,” Clark said. “That’s why I spent a semester in France, doing service-learning. I worked with food banks and with Doctors Without Borders.”
After spending time traveling and giving back, Clark decided to get her master’s degree. “I’ve always really wanted to help people, so when I went to graduate school I ended up going to Cornell,” said Clark. “My master’s degree is in Industrial Labor Relations, and from there I was mostly looking into labor law, and I ended up in human resource management.”
After completing school, Clark started working in social work, where she used her love for helping both individuals and families. She then moved on to work in the human resources department of a manufacturing firm with hundreds of employees. She explained, “I moved from home-life counseling to work-life counseling. Then it was a tough time in the economy … I finished my graduate work in 2000, so I went off to New Jersey in 2001 or 2002 and, basically, I was shutting down plants and helping downsize; so, they called me The Terminator and that just wore on me.”
Clark and her family got a fresh start after moving from Petoskey to East Lansing in August 2009, where they bought an historic home from the Michigan State University Foundation. The house needed a facelift, so after some hard work and a good sense of design, Clark curated a home that her family will cherish for years. With a newfound passion for giving once rundown houses new life, Clark started working with a realtor to find new potential homes to flip on her own.
“It really happened when I would be spending time running distances with my dog, and I’d see these vacant houses and think ‘gosh, somebody needs to love this house,’” Clark said. “So, after my mom passed away and left me a little bit of life insurance, I took that money and got this business started.”
Clark now helps people in the Lansing neighborhoods every day by breathing new life into once forgotten and rundown homes. She has been with Key Home Partners since November 2014 and is currently working on flipping her eighth house.
“I’m 47, so I can see very distinct chapters in my life,” Clark said. “The common thread to weaving them together is helping people, and I think that my definition of helping people has evolved over time.”