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Making it in Big Sky: L&K Real Estate



The L&K team from left to right: Michael Pitcairn, EJ Daws, Carrie Bryan, Eric Ladd, Ethan Stokes and Ryan Kulesza. OUTLAW PARTNERS PHOTO

By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – L&K Real Estate Sales Associate Michael Pitcairn cut his teeth in the real estate profession at a very young age. His parents were real estate investors and he recalled that they would have family workdays to switch over rental properties. 

Now, Pitcairn has been in the real estate business for nine years and has sold over 55 million in volume since joining the L&K team.

Pitcairn and his wife went on a mission shortly after getting married to find the perfect mountain town. Although they didn’t find it on that particular trip, he says his in-laws brought them out to Big Sky for a ski trip and they knew immediately this was where they wanted to raise a family. 

After moving out here, Pitcairn was able to snag an interview with Ryan Kulesza at L&K Real Estate and then a spot on the small and innovative L&K team.

L&K Real Estate deals in residential properties, commercial properties and works with developers through the process of buying land all the way to the finished building. They specialize in relocation, resort communities, luxury homes and investment properties. L&K serves Bozeman, Big Sky and the wider southwest Montana region.

Pitcairn sticks close to home and works primarily in Big Sky. Explore Big Sky sat down with Pitcairn to learn more about L&K and his role on the team.

Some answers below have been edited for brevity.

Gabrielle Gasser: What drew you to work at L&K?

Michael Pitcairn: “I liked that they are an independent local company, and t hey had built a really good community reputation. L&K is a company that I felt proud to be a part of. I was also excited about the diversity of real estate that L&K offers—not only do we sell residential real estate, but also commercial, and work with clients to consult on development projects. Having experience in all of those different sectors make you a well-rounded real estate professional and is highly beneficial to our clients. 

GG: What makes L&K Real Estate stand out from other real estate companies?

MP: “First and foremost our advertising and our partnership with Outlaw Partners; it really gives us a critical edge to be able to produce high caliber content, but also in a timely manner. I think having both of those elements are extremely important for sellers in such a rapidly changing real estate market. Marketing and an SEO website are critical elements in real estate buying, and our recent enhancement of our website is proof of that. I was recently interviewed on Fox Business News specifically because they found us through our website when searching Google. Also, the team element at L&K—we’re all working together to help clients; it’s not such a focus on the individual here at L&K, it really is a collaborative effort. I attribute that to our company meetings and being able to discuss ideas and properties to help each other out with solutions. We’re all in this together, and I have found that to be a very enjoyable working environment, and also very beneficial to our clients.” 

GG: What makes the team so effective?

MP: “We each have different relationships, specialties, and experiences to bring to the table. Collaborating using our individual skills ultimately leads to the best service and outcome for our clients. Having a well-rounded firm with different areas of expertise who are willing to work together is a major key to our success. A rising tide lifts all boats.” 

GG: What is your specialty?

MP: “I primarily sell residential real estate and also have a background in commercial, but I would say 90 percent of my deal flow is residential homes. I also just sell in Big Sky, and don’t venture to Bozeman or any other markets. I find having a niche and staying focused just on Big Sky has helped with my success and in-depth knowledge of the area.” 

GG: What services does L&K offer?

MP: “It’s a three-tiered approach. In residential we work with buyers and sellers on their personal homes, in commercial we work to sell the spaces and help find tenants, and then the development side where we help identify properties that are ripe for development and go through the whole process from raw land acquisitions all the way to vertical product.”

GG: How has the real estate market changed during your time working in Big Sky?

MP: “When I first started selling in Big Sky it was slower paced, more inventory, and more time to view properties. Since COVID, it has gotten increasingly more difficult and a much faster pace. In order to get properties under contract you’ve got to be ready and able whenever a property does come on the market and present it to your client ASAP. If the client is interested, you need to get an offer written up as soon as possible. If it’s priced appropriately and in a desirable area, properties are selling very quickly. COVID certainly took Big Sky to the next level and has increased our demand substantially.”

GG: What is your favorite part of working at L&K?

MP: “I enjoy working with buyers and to introduce folks to this beautiful and amazing part of the country. Big Sky is very unique and very wild, and it’s a new adventure for many to come out here and live a more rustic, simple lifestyle. I have to do my fair share of paperwork, but I really enjoying showing unique properties, and walking parcels of land to find the opportunities that exist in each one.”

GG: What is the best business advice you have ever received?

MP: “There are no short cuts and no substitution for hard work. Put in the time, always keep your eyes open for opportunities, and be thankful and appreciative for every success no matter how big or small.”

GG: Anything else?

MP: “I’m excited about people coming to Big Sky to help continue to support our local economy, but I instill in my new buyers that we need to respect the environment and the wildlife. The reason we all moved here is to recreate in nature and observe wildlife, and we need to make sure that we do our best to preserve this beautiful place we call home.”

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