Houston-based Bamboo Realty takes a real estate long view, betting that today’s renter will be tomorrow’s buyer, and it has brought on prominent industry player Zach Schabot to help take the sale side of its business to the next level.
Bamboo Realty launched as a rental-only firm in late 2009 and began representing buyers and sellers two years ago. In 2014, it did 114 units for a sales volume of over $40 million, but it has never marketed itself as a for-sale brokerage.
That’s where Schabot comes in, said Sarah Jones, Bamboo Realty’s broker and co-owner. Schabot gained national prominence as a spokesman for Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, brokerage Go Realty and for his work in developing GoConnect, an iPhone app designed to help agents organize their workflow around leads and transactions.
As executive vice president at Bamboo Realty, Schabot will help the firm stay in closer touch with its renters and capture more of them as buyer clients when they’re ready to stop paying rent checks. Schabot will also help spearhead a for-sale marketing plan for the firm. The firm’s follow-up with renters until now has fallen short, Jones said.
Schabot will have a database of approximately 26,000 contacts to design a stay-in-touch strategy for, she said.
Schabot said he decided to join Bamboo Realty because he values Bamboo Realty’s commitment to giving back to the community (it donates 5 percent of its revenue to charity) and for the opportunity to cultivate the next generation of real estate pros. “I feel a personal obligation to help bridge the gap between industry veterans leaving the business and new agents who will lead our industry for a few more decades,” Schabot said.
Schabot’s referring to the relative youth of Bamboo Realty’s 35 agents, who have an average age of 33. After opening an office in Denver last October, and with the new one in Raleigh, the firm now has four offices.
An increased focus on the for-sale side of its business doesn’t mean the firm — which helped 1,408 renters find a home in 2014 — will shift toward a focus on sales.
One of the founding ideas for the firm was to serve younger clients, and it will always focus on grooming them from the embryonic stage of homebuying known as renting, Jones said.
It’s also a great business model because there’s not much competition, Jones said. Bamboo Realty makes money from landlords who pay the firm for finding them renters.
Plus, the for-sale market goes up and down with the economy, but rentals are a steady market and allows Bamboo Realty agents to forgo cold-calling and door-knocking to drum up business, Jones said. Agents at her firm just have to cultivate relationships with the renters they help serve to generate for-sale business, she said.