Indie firm infiltrates niche community, dominates market share

  • Indie brokerage “woven into the fabric of the neighborhood" shows how hyperlocal efforts fuel business for the long haul.

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Sean Becker came to Portland, Oregon's South Waterfront area in 2004 when it was a "blank slate of raw ground." Today, it's where his growing indie brokerage has established deep roots. In his first venture 13 years ago, he came with Realty Trust Group, which had an office there for four years. No one understood the market then, said Becker, with a number of condo developments underway on the former brownfield site. But patience would pay. The locale blossomed into an in-demand neighborhood anchored by the presence of a university and its quarter-mile distance from downtown. Realty Trust left the area in 2008 when the recession hit, and Becker worked from their office in The Pearl district. But in 2014, the South Waterfront market had begun to bounce back from the downturn, and Becker recognized an opportunity to start his own brokerage in the area, Sean Z Becker Real Estate (SZBRE). Becker built his steady firm on high-touch model and strong community ties. A tight...