Location: New Orleans | Launched: 2012 | Number of agents: 16
A small brokerage with a big love affair for all things New Orleans
When Lisa Heindel decided to open a brokerage nearly six years ago, the premise was simple. She wanted to work with affiliated agents who love the city of New Orleans and who share her passion for doing right by clients.
Lisa grew up in New Orleans and has never abandoned her love affair with the Crescent City – a nickname she said tends to be known only by longtime residents. Everyone who’s come through the city for Mardi Gras and beignets knows about the “Big Easy.” But not many truly know the Crescent City.
One of the other pillars of the company’s mission is that agents do not engage in dual agency, the practice of one agent representing both sides of a transaction. While dual agency is a complicated topic with many points of view, it’s allowed and commonly practiced among agents in New Orleans.
Lisa doesn’t knock those who do it, but once she found herself in the situation she decided that it made her so uncomfortable she would never do it again. And she’s taken that principle to heart with Crescent City Living.
“Being in the middle of that transaction, I felt like I was not able to give 100% to either side,” she said. “It didn’t leave me feeling like I did everything I could’ve done for either side.”
When opening her brokerage, she felt it was important for her affiliated agents to not ever feel like they weren’t able to give full representation.
Aside from representation, Lisa decided they wanted to offer a certain level of service on the marketing side of the transaction as well. They require professional photography and provide access to custom direct mail marketing and single-property websites. The broker takes care of the costs for new agents for this marketing until the property sells.
“We’ve got all of our skin in the game by fronting the fees,” Lisa said. This enables the brokerage to create a consistent level of marketing without scaring away agents who aren’t used to spending their business dollars on collateral.
“Consistency is important for us,” Lisa said.
Speaking of agents, what about recruiting?
In addition to Lisa, Crescent City Living has 16 affiliated agents. Recently they started doing targeting recruiting. The brokerage will reach out to a new agent based on feedback from their affiliated agent thinking that person would be a good fit for their culture and style.
The company has been growing steadily in the last six years. There are many rookie agents not yet in production since they are still in training before stepping into a full time agent role.
Lisa is no longer listing and selling herself, and instead is focused full time on lead generation, blogging, and agent support and training.
“I don’t want agents to feel like I’m competing with them,” Lisa said. In fact, every lead that comes into the brokerage is shared so every agent gets an equal shot.
When it comes to recruiting agents, Lisa says they absolutely have to love the city they live and work in. It’s easy to see her passion for New Orleans.
“We’ve been through a lot,” she said. “I want agents who affiliate with us to be ambassadors and have a positive outlook about where the city is going.”
Lisa is very excited about her Youtube channel of neighborhood videos she’s started producing for the brokerage. (Watch these videos here.) She hired a professional videographer – a former photojournalist for a local news station – who interviews residents and business owners to get the true essence of life in New Orleans neighborhoods.
“We even hired someone who writes the music score. Everything is original,” she said.
This is helpful especially for people who may be moving from another city and really only know the French Quarter view of New Orleans that sets the stage for Mardi Gras.
Like every broker, Lisa is hoping to grow in the years to come. But they’re doing so with an eye more toward increasing productivity of every agent who affiliates, rather than adding more.
Lisa would like to have 25 elite agents where people are invited to join “knowing that we are extremely selective and hold our agents to highest levels of professionalism and client services,” she said.
With the vision to build up agents, Crescent City Living can continue to cultivate a culture around their passion for New Orleans and exceptional service.