Every year, Inman celebrates the most innovative broker-owners, the visionaries and entrepreneurs who are taking risks, trying new things and blazing trails in the real estate industry.
This year’s finalists for the Inman Innovators Most Innovative Broker-Owner category span from newer brokers establishing themselves in a single market to the heavyweights occupying territory all over the country.
Many of them will be taking the stage at Inman Connect San Francisco, July 17 through 20 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, and celebrating their achievements at the Inman Innovator Bash, July 19 at Verso. Here are some highlights from the 2018 class of nominees for the Most Innovative Real Estate Broker-Owner:
Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan, Stribling & Associates: How do you make a dent in the constant problem for most real estate brokers — recruiting agents? Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan has a different approach: After taking over the operation of her brokerage from her mother, who founded it, Stribling-Kivlan’s focus on culture and inclusion has made Stribling & Associates a place where agents want to come and work.
CEO Glenn Sanford, eXp Realty: EXp Realty is a virtual cloud-based real estate brokerage that may be one of the fastest-growing companies in the country by agent count. With virtual offices in lieu of brick-and-mortar locations and offering a unique equity-sharing arrangement, the firm uses technology to connect to its agents and to help close transactions. The company went public this year, and Sanford can take a lot of credit for its ascension; he was also named a Glassdoor Top CEO in June.
Harout Keuroghlian, JohnHart: Harout Keuroghlian implemented an agent liaison program to hire staff members who take the minutiae of transactions out of agents’ hands, leading to higher agent productivity and brokerage growth. It gives agents the ability to focus on client relationships because they know everything else will be handled, and handled exceptionally well.
John Vatistas, Launch Real Estate: John Vatistas focuses on a “Four Seasons experience” for clients, aiming for only top-notch service. To better position his agents, he purchased a building in Old Town Scottsdale, gutted it and built a coffee lounge that seats more than 100 people and entices passersby to come and sit. Toward the back of the building is the entrance to Launch Real Estate, with more than 30 individual offices for agents and clients to use when they aren’t inside the coffee lounge.
Kendyl Young, DIGGS Real Estate: An activist at heart, Kendyl Young has 30 years invested in the industry, but her brokerage is anything but stale. She’s taken all of the tactics she’s garnered over decades in real estate and used them to incorporate high-end staging, professional videographers and interactive 3D listings that create striking marketing campaigns. Her company blog and social media pages are constantly updated with local events and homebuyer FAQs, branding them by using the hashtag #dailyDIGGS.
Kimberly Gettle, Key Impressions: Kimberly Gettle has built her brokerage on both old-school values and new technology. By paying close attention to both the client experience and the marketing tools and campaigns that are capturing eyeballs, she’s been able to set herself apart. Her high level of customer service and focus on ethics wins over clients, and her ability to deliver high-quality listing marketing keeps them coming back and referring friends to her.
Mark Mlakar and Dominic Morrocco, M Squared: Mark Mlakar and Dominic Morrocco built a real estate brokerage in the D.C. area that’s become a force to be reckoned with due to their cloud, website, agent websites and open house tools that have been built in-house. By offering top-notch tech tools that agents love (and use) and clients find useful in the real estate transaction process, they’ve been able to establish themselves as a company to watch in a very competitive market.
Priyanka Johri, Woodlands Eco Realty: Priyanka Johri’s clients think so highly of her that they not only drive clients her way, they stop in and bring her food when they see her in the office. Her company motto is “generosity breeds loyalty,” and she works to practice it every day by giving generously of her time, energy, negotiation skills and real estate knowledge to the buyers and sellers she’s serving.
Tere Foster, Avenue Properties: Tere Foster and the five other Seattle agents who launched Avenue Properties have had to add 74 more agents in 18 months to accommodate their growing business. Foster thinks outside the box when it comes to diversity, location and marketing and has built a rich mentorship program to train new agents, giving them the ability to serve clients well and paving the way for a higher standard of real estate in the years to come.