The Khrista Jarvis Team, based in Contra Costa County, California, has consistently been one of the top ranked teams in its market for the past 10 years.
Led by Khrista Jarvis and her business partner Nicole Jung, the group of four licensed real estate agents and a handful of support staff is also currently the highest ranked all-women real estate team in the country and the no. 5 medium-sized team by volume, according to RealTrends. In 2021, the team closed a total of $600 million in sales volume across about 300 transactions.
Earlier this month, the team announced its move to Coldwell Banker from Compass. Inman recently spoke with team leader and San Ramon Valley native Jarvis about the secrets to her team’s success and why they made the move to Coldwell Banker. Here’s what she had to say, edited for brevity and clarity.
Why did you start a team initially?
I got in the business in 1996 and was just trying to figure all this out. I started out as somebody’s assistant and then I was my own Realtor for a few years and I think it was around the year 2000 when I got my first assistant, and from there, started growing the team. I had a lot of great success, which was wonderful, and needed more support in order to better serve the clientele. So it started off as a smaller team and then in 2007 Nicole [Jung] came on board, but I had a couple other team members before at that point that helped service buyers. We just wanted to make sure that we were covering all bases and that nothing slipped through the cracks and that we were able to provide a higher level of service.
At that time, teams weren’t popular. It was a new concept and it took a little bit of time because people really just wanted to work with that one Realtor. But then as the market started to change and there was more of the internet taking a play … it was really hard to just be one person and do everything right and well. Our business was growing, we needed to hire people that really were experts in their lane.
So over the years, it grew every year as the market grew and business grew. So it was not intentional, really, to have a team, it’s just the business warranted it and my personality is such that I want to overdeliver and underpromise.
It seems like you were really on the front wave of the teams trend, and now it’s been exploding.
Our slogan right now is ‘Leading the way,’ because I feel like we are always one of the first to do something and then people follow. But in the early days, I actually lost a couple deals because I was a team. They thought, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re not going to be involved,’ and I was like, ‘No, I am still involved, you have my cell phone number, it’s not what you think. It’s just that’s going to be better for you because I have support in this area but I’m not disappearing at all.’ So I think that was a misconception early on and now that’s not even a thought in anyone’s brain.
Your team has been very successful in Northern California and across the country as a whole — what are some of the keys to your success?
We are very passionate about what we do and everybody has such a good work ethic. I really don’t think we could be this successful if we didn’t love what we did, because it really requires you to be on 24/7. We get very motivated by the success of our clients, so we always want to outperform and do a good job. Even to this day and at this level and after this many years of being in the business, I still get worried. I sometimes feel like no one’s going to call me — like I’ve sold every house that there is to sell and I’m going to wake up tomorrow and there’s not going to be a house to sell. I need to make sure we’re keeping up on all the latest trends and we’re very forward-thinking and trying to bring the very best marketing.
And like I said, we really go out of our way to make sure that we go above and beyond for our clients. So we do more than anybody else in terms of client care. After the transaction, we’re making sure things are getting done after they move in, any issues that arise. Sometimes other agents might disappear, but if a problem happens we’ll pay for it, we’ll take care of it, we’ll do everything we can to make sure that that client’s experience is top-notch. So I think that, combined with our private network, and the people that we’ve met and stayed in touch with [are the keys to our success]. We’re able to network with other agents and we’re entrenched in the community and so well-known that people come to us first knowing that we’re going to have that first-hand knowledge.
You’re also an all-female team. Do you think that’s played into your success at all? Was that an intentional move?
So, it was not planned that way at all — I think it just evolved to be that way, and the last couple of years we’ve leaned into that more when we realized. So then we wanted to mentor other women to be successful, and to teach them to follow in our footsteps. It just kind of evolved that way. But we’re all like-minded and very supportive of one another. We have a very good group of people. People joke that with 10 or 11 women all together, sometimes there could be drama or this or that, but it’s not that way. We have a very good culture where everybody wants the client to win, the client to be happy, and everyone really just goes the extra mile to make sure that happens. I love coming to work, I love the people that I work with.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a team?
[The pandemic] really changed the whole landscape of our business, so we really had to adapt and I think we did a really good job. But, for a period of time, there were no open houses and it was really hard to get showings, so our agents did a lot of videoing and Zooming and things like that. Some of the challenges are the fast pace of this business right now because the market is on fire. So it’s really just us all needing to be on our A game at every moment because the market is demanding that right now. There’s no inventory, houses are coming up so quickly that we need to be on top of everything. Just by nature of the way the market is, that has posed some of those challenges. It’s 24/7. You cannot miss a beat. Otherwise somebody else could get a house that you didn’t hear about.
Even though the pandemic isn’t as crazy as it was in the beginning, there are still challenges associated with that. We had so much extra paperwork to sign and all the disinfecting of the houses … we needed a whole person to keep up with all the rules and regulations. Some of that has gone away a little bit, but still, that’s a challenge, just keeping up and making sure we’re providing safe environments and following all the logistics.
Your team recently transitioned from Compass to Coldwell Banker. Why did you decide to move now?
I was the first one at Compass when they opened in the Bay Area, so, like I said, I’m kind of used to leading the way in change and I thrive on that. It was a challenge at the time. It’s hard to believe that nobody had even heard of Compass four years ago. People thought it was my own company I had started because nobody knew about it. At this time in my career, I kind of thought [we’ve done] a really good job, we had a record-breaking year and we’re really our own brand now … and almost like our own brokerage, doing $600 million.
Coldwell Banker has given us the opportunity to open our own luxury office, so we’re able to operate out of our own facility that’s right in downtown Danville and is immersed in the community. We have events that we do a couple times a year with local businesses … so being able to have our own presence in downtown Danville with our own brand was just a great, great opportunity we decided we couldn’t pass up.
That coupled with Coldwell Banker’s strong leadership … [and their] global luxury program, in which I was actually invited and chosen to be the very first luxury lifestyle ambassador, [were incentives]. It’s hard to change, I’ve been nervous about change, but as I look back on my career, I’ve been at many different brokerages and any time I’ve made a move, my business has always thrived. I’ve thrived on that challenge, and this is just another opportunity to grow.
Were you considering a transition to other brokerages as well?
We were very thoughtful in trying to decide what was going to be best for us. We definitely considered many things: we considered staying at Compass, we considered opening our own brokerage … so we did not take it lightly, and it took some time to figure out what the right move was for us. But ultimately, we were very aligned with the values of Coldwell Banker and what they had to offer. It seemed to be a great fit.
After such a successful year, what goals do you have for 2022?
We always try to do better than we did the last year, which, this year is going to be hard shoes to fill because we didn’t expect to do so much. But we definitely want to do more business. We actually want to expand into a couple different markets within Northern California [and] possibly one other location nearby and maybe add a couple team members and take our business to the next level in terms of growth. But, definitely wanting to expand where it makes sense, where we see our clients going.
[We’ll also] take advantage of the fact that we have a great opportunity in having our own luxury office. So we’re going to be doing a lot more events … We have a lot of women in this area that are women entrepreneurs and very successful that we’ve thought about doing partnerships with and having them come and speak at our office, and just have a lot of fun … So we want to use our space and voice for other people to come together.