Hope Koperna

Iron Valley Real Estate

Realtor, mentor, sister, mom. With a lifetime of experience being her own boss, Rising Star Hope Koperna is now working to help others achieve their dreams. Hope started in real estate five years ago, and in 2023 The Hope Koperna Team at Iron Valley Real Estate ranked number 22 in closed units in the state of PA for a medium sized and 81 for closed volume. “We’re a team of 11 and we’re doing well,” Hope says. “I love being a team leader. This job is not work to me because I work with my favorite people.”

Originally from Schuylkill County, Hope has made Central Pennsylvania her home and Hershey her team’s base for serving clients throughout the region. In this month’s interview, we talk to Hope about her career journey and what’s in the future for this high-energy, tell-it-like-it-is Rising Star.

You received your real estate license in 2018. Tell us your story up to that point.
I grew up a “coal cracker” near Tremont, in Pennsylvania’s “coal region.” When I was 9 years old, there was a family disaster when our house burned down. My siblings and I moved to live with my aunt and uncle in Hershey, but I never transitioned well. I was always a bit of an outcast and didn’t “fit the mold” in school. I ended up quitting school at 17, and around that time, my aunt and other family members started a cleaning service. It was a successful business and I credit part of my current success to my years working for myself. I learned how to interact with people. And I enjoyed the instant gratification of “do good work, get good pay.”
But at 40 years old, I felt I was at a crossroads. My oldest son was 15 and my youngest son was 6. I had a nice life, but I was no longer feeling fulfilled. I considered going into nursing or becoming a police officer. One day while cleaning a home, I picked up a People magazine and there was a story about actress Sharon Stone’s cleaning agency having one of the biggest brokerages. I couldn't get the story out of my head.

But you had some work to do before getting your license, correct?
I went to HACC and got my GED. At first, I was thinking, “I can’t believe I’m 40 and going back to school.”  I had a wonderful teacher who really pushed me, and I got my high school diploma. Then, I went to real estate school. At the same time, I had a job at the airport cleaning planes and I was still cleaning houses and I was a mom to two boys. But I said, “I have to do this.” It was tough, but I finished school, took the real estate test, and failed seven times. I never gave up. Once I finally got my license, my career just launched from there.

Who helped you during those first years as a new Realtor? 
Michale Chan at Iron Valley taught me so much. From the beginning, he encouraged me to go hustle and said things like “Having a little money is better than none.” And he told me to always show up with a smile on my face. When I started out, I was nervous, of course. He said, “Hope, just get in front of people and practice. Practice makes perfect.”  Michael is a phenomenal agent and he pushed me. I admire him greatly.

Tell us about building your team.
My twin sister got her real estate license at the end of 2020. During the pandemic, we lost 75% of our cleaning business, so we were all at a crossroads going into 2021. I was in a Camp Hill office at the time, starting out, and the question was “Do we rebuild the cleaning  service, or I transition back to Hershey, start a team with my sister, and launch a real estate career?” Our team was so quickly successful, that my sister and I were both able to get ourselves debt-free. 
Now my oldest sister is on my team, my nephew, my best friend and a brother-in-law.  Other team members originally worked at other brokerages, saw our growth, and joined our team. It’s a mix of family and friends. I feel so grateful to have created the opportunities that have changed the whole legacy of my family, setting up everyone for financial gain. 

You’re so clearly energized by what you do. What inspires you about your work?
First, I love the fact I didn’t have to recreate who I am to do this job. I don’t have to be a cookie-cutter version of someone else’s idea of a Realtor to succeed. 

Second, I truly believe home ownership is not just for the rich and privileged. Home ownership means leaving a legacy for your children. I find purpose in impacting the lives of my clients and putting people on the right path. It puts a pep in your step. I love helping people. It’s who I am. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so fulfilling.

And I love that this job provides opportunities for constant growth. My mind is always working, and in this profession, there’s always something new to learn. That’s really exciting for me. Becoming a team leader, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to teach someone this trade. It’s so rewarding seeing team members get on the board and help a client. Together, we’re changing lives. We made 130 sales last year, and I’m always so thankful when my team is a part of someone's story of falling in love with a house and finding a home. I’m so blessed. 

What’s in the future?
I’m currently working on getting my broker’s license, and the majority of my team are ABR and SRS certified. My mantra for myself and my team is “ If you have any free time, invest in yourself, invest in your business, and become the master of your trade.” You can grow in so many avenues and knowledge is a superpower. 

I feel like I’ve opened this door of “OMG, I didn’t know my brain was this big.” Looking at my past, I feel like I sold myself short. Now I’m rejuvenated. I’m a spiritual person and I believe that God sees you. Even though I kept failing that test over and over again, I knew I had it in me. Now, knowing my own capacity for learning just drives me to new levels. I don't know what my limit is. I only know I haven’t come close to it yet.  

Hope Koperna
The Hope Koperna Team
Iron Valley Real Estate
(717) 319-1336
131 West Chocolate Ave. Suite 123
Hershey, PA