Troy Palmquist, the founder of the brokerage The Address in Southern California, is known for his community-based approach to real estate. Stop by the brokerage headquarters in Agoura Hills, and you’re likely to see a local organization holding a meeting while agents brew fresh cups of coffee and kombucha for folks who stop by from the neighborhood.
“When I opened The Address, I wanted to reimagine what a real estate brokerage could be — how it could serve, how it could grow, and how it could operate,” Palmquist said. To that end, he puts the emphasis on relationships and neighborliness, knowing that the business will follow.
We reached out to brokers across the U.S. to find out how they make their offices essential parts of their communities. Their answers offer insights into the ways that you can make your space matter more — not just to agents and clients, but to friends and neighbors.
Hosting community events, raising money for causes
As managing broker of Baird & Warner’s Edgebrook office since 2006, Lisa Kon has helped burnish the 50-year-old office’s reputation as an essential part of the fabric of its Chicago neighborhood. Stop by, and you’ll find meetings being held by community organizations such as Everyday Edgebrook, Boy Scouts, and the Danny Did Foundation taking place.
Engagement continues online where Jan Kupiec, an agent from the office, moderates the popular Nextdoor Edgebrook chapter, the go-to online community news source for almost 4,300 Edgebrook residents.
Office events are catered by local restaurants, and social media posts feature local businesses rather than agents and listings. The office also sponsors a table at the local farmer’s market.
Around eight years ago, a number of women in the Edgebrook area were diagnosed with breast cancer, so Baird & Warner agent Linda Kramer started a Paint Edgebrook Pink 5K that has now become one of the most popular races in the area and raises tens of thousands of dollars each year. The entire Edgebrook office is now involved in this race.
Kon says it’s the sincerity of their hands-on involvement that is so striking among its agents. They want to make a difference and see a change.
“A rising tide lifts all boats,” she said.
Providing gathering spaces to the community for group events
“Good for you, good for me, good for everything” is the guiding philosophy for Atlas Real Estate Group. Their commitment involves both their employee-run community service initiative #AtlasGivesBack and onsite facilities designed to benefit the community.
“Many of our onsite amenities are focused on sustainability,” said Tony Julianelle, president of Atlas Real Estate in Denver, Colorado. “We have a solar-energy mansion where we hold events for our employees and the community. Coming soon in 2019, we will have charging stations for electric-powered vehicles.”
Their other impactful onsite amenity is based on a collaboration with Archipelago Clubs. The club was founded by Atlas co-founders and partners, Jason Shepherd and Ryan Boykin, along with Jared Marquette and Nora Claire.
“Archipelago is dedicated to helping community members discover their best selves at the edge of their comfort zone. Communal spaces in Atlas-owned properties are provided to the community to experience dynamic experiences, deep personal connection, and human betterment,” Julianelle said.
Not only does their team volunteer regularly, but Atlas offers employees paid volunteerism. Their core values encourage everyone at Atlas to act selflessly and measure success by the good they do in the community, Julianelle said. “If we aren’t doing something that fits in all of these categories, we shouldn’t be doing it at all.”
Creating a foundation to help people in the area
As the founder and CEO of Halton Pardee + Partners in Los Angeles, California, Tami Halton Pardee is an award-winning rockstar real estate broker. She has represented A-list celebrities, tech industry pioneers, and advised architects like Frank Gehry and Marmol Radziner on their developments. But it is as the founder of Life Change Warriors that she lives out her motto “Star in the life you love.”
Pardee has always put her heart into the communities she serves, but a 2001 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis set Pardee on her current path, inspiring her to use her platform and her business acumen to help others.
In the past 14 years, Halton Pardee + Partners has donated more than $1.3 million toward uplifting underserved areas of Venice and West Los Angeles.
In June 2017, she and her partners created the Life Change Warriors foundation. Their first beneficiaries were a group of women at Harvest Home, a local Venice non-profit organization serving young homeless and pregnant women.
The foundation is designed to allow people from all walks of life to face their fears, set goals and have a life plan for achieving their dreams. From coaching homeless pregnant women to helping underprivileged youth tap into the arts, Pardee’s passion is for transformation and providing the tools to achieve it. She herself teaches the sessions along with two life coaches.
Programs take place both at the Halton Pardee + Partners office in Mar Vista or at the site of its nonprofit partner Harvest Home and Venice Arts. Upon completion of the program, a graduation ceremony is held in Pardee’s home, where she gives each Harvest Home participant $2,500 toward housing.
According to a recent profile in the Los Angeles Times, five participants have earned their GEDs while in the program and almost all currently have stable housing and jobs.
Offering up your office as a gallery space for local artists and fun pop-up events
Denver’s West + Main Homes makes it a priority to open their three walkable storefront offices to the communities they serve. According to Founder, Owner and CEO Stacie Staub, they do this by using their open-concept office spaces as gallery space for local artists, hosting First Friday events for them and participating in local Artwalk events.
“We knew that we didn’t want to be stuck on the third floor of an office building somewhere,” Staub said. “We want to be entrenched in the communities where we work, and to be supportive of local artisans and entrepreneurs … who eventually turn into our clients, friends and biggest West + Main cheerleaders!”
The brokerage also hosts two Pop-Up Shop events every year, opening their office space to local artists, crafters, makers and sources of local goods to set up booths at no charge and sell their wares.
“The energy of give-back events like First Friday Artwalk Openings and Pop-Up Shops is unbelievable,” Staub said. “They are a non-stop good-vibe time, bringing new people into our spaces and introducing them to the brand and also giving West + Main agents something to talk about, invite their clients to and enjoy.”
In addition to their support for the arts, West + Main offers meeting space at no charge for local therapy groups, nonprofit meet-ups and candidate meet-and-greets during local elections.
Client appreciation events are set in the community to support local businesses and organizations: Colorado Rockies home opener parties, St. Patrick’s Day parade celebrations, Octoberfest pumpkin give-aways, blood drive days and photos with Santa are all events that West + Main hosts annually.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr