Agent

Jenelle Isaacson talks punk rock and real estate, and where they connect

How to go from touring the country in a van to $350 million in volume

SAN FRANCISCO — Jenelle Isaacson traded in her punk rock van-living-lifestyle for a career in real estate.

But she didn’t let go of the punk rock ethos.

Jenelle Isaacson

Jenelle Isaacson

“The beauty of punk rock music is you don’t have to have much skill,” she said. “You just need something to say and the courage to get up in front of audience and scream something at them.”

Is she speaking to the low barrier of entry into the real estate world? Doubtful.

Isaacson threw up the heavy metal horns a couple times during her session at Inman Connect San Francisco on Friday. She’s a punk-rocker at heart.

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That, she reiterated several times throughout her talk, will never change.

Isaacson is driven. She played in a punk rock band called Spread Eagle (no information or videos could be found as of this writing) but put down the instruments to pursue a career in real estate.

And pursue a career, she did.

Her discussion at ICSF revolved around her experience moving from the punk rock, anti-establishment lifestyle into the world of real estate. She was able to correlate both paths by explaining the core mentalities she carried when involved in the former.

At 22 years old she was negotiating contracts, booking national tours and managing the tight budget of the band.

In real estate, she essentially does the same thing. She is the broker/owner of Living Room Realty, a boutique firm with several offices in Portland, one in Manzanita and another in Vancouver, Washington.

She then talked about her clients, which by her own admission “did not resemble that good-looking, straight white couple with a picket fence on the glossy brochures that we keep sending out.”

It appeared she found her stage again. She tapped into the market of future homebuyers who didn’t fit in the stereotypical box — the punk-rock kids who grew up bucking the norm but who also wanted to buy a home.

This is where Isaacson’s discussion began to crescendo.

She said it starts with holding a mirror to your community. Looking at the local world around you and meeting the needs of those people. And it changes in every market.

In Portland, where Isaacson started her business, it meant finding people covered in tattoos who were already connecting the community and helping them grow in real estate.

But even that changes in every city. It’s easy to stereotype Portland because of shows like Portlandia, and terms like “hipster” that paint a broad generalization of the people who live there. But what about your town?

Her advice — or her experience, rather — is that no matter what market you are in, you will not be able to compete with Zillow, Redfin or Trulia when it comes to Google rankings.

But what about the Google rankings that have no competition? She referenced one of her agents who was serious about sewing before entering real estate and how she has developed a following of women who also love sewing, and who also happen to be classified in the luxury market.

She said the best thing is to just be yourself.

“I am certain punk rock fantasies come true,” she concluded.

Email Britt Chester