Project Description

A small brokerage breaking big conventions

A boutique brokerage on the outskirts of LA is forging its own path.

At A Glance

Location: Glendale, CA  |  Launched: 2014  |  Number of agents: 5

A small brokerage breaking big conventions

Kendyl Young started DIGGS Real Estate with a big goal: to build a brokerage unlike any other in the industry.

Young started DIGGS Real Estate after nearly 30 years working as an agent for a national franchise. Tech-savvy and fast-paced, Young’s decision to launch her own brand came out of a growing frustration with the confines of a large organization. “I realized I would never be able to do what I wanted to do within a large brokerage,” she said.

Young launched DIGGS in 2014 in Glendale, Calif., a suburban city just north of the Los Angeles border. The brokerage specializes in what Young calls the urban expat: people who move to the suburbs for logistical reasons, but want to stay connected to LA’s urban culture.

The brand inhabits that urban ethos. Their office is a light-filled, vaulted coworking space with edison bulbs, reclaimed wood and mid-century modern furnishings. They’re edgy, they don’t wear suits and they speak their minds, said Young. “We’re just trying to be ourselves, not pretending to be anything else.”

A fresh perspective on recruiting

Recruiting has been one of Young’s biggest challenges in growing a brokerage. “Many, if not most of the brokers I know tell me they don’t recruit, people just come to them,” she said. “I’ve decided that either they’re lying, or I suck.“

Young wants to fuel her brokerage with outside thinking; for her, that means bringing in new, or nearly new licensees. “I’ve identified my prototype,” she said.

Her team of five is carefully curated to bring a range of consumer-focused skills to the table: A former Whole Foods marketer, a television producer, a techie from the startup world, and two fitness instructors. “I’m a company of moms and millennials,” Young said.

Having a small team allows Young to take a personalized approach to training with each of her agents. She’s used role playing and dialogue exercises to work with more introverted personalities, and has created task-specific games for her goal-oriented agents. “I like to experiment,” she said.

At the end of the day, Young said, you need to be teachable, and smart, to have the makings of a good agent. Smart doesn’t necessarily speak through numbers and dollar signs, in her book. “I’ve tried hiring awesome people with awesome ethics, but you have to be smart,” she said.

A personal brand

The DIGGS brand is fun and approachable, with deep knowledge of its local market. This comes through in the brand’s social media presence and blog content, which Young is the primary face of and produces content for regularly.

Video content is a major element in the brand’s marketing. As the face of the brand, Young produces regular updates spanning a range of topics, from conference roundups shot from her hotel room to formal interviews with brokers and agents from around the country.

For DIGGS Live, a bi-weekly Facebook live series, Young selects a real estate expert to offer insight into the questions and concerns that Young and her agents hear from consumers and peers. She also produces a free training video series targeted to new agents.

The DIGGS blog focuses on providing local happenings, market insights and analyses and consumer tips in a digestible and conversational tone.

Forging a path

Young’s short-term goal for DIGGS Real Estate is to double in size by the end of 2018 – but she doesn’t want to sacrifice company culture for numbers. Long-term, her goal isn’t to make money as much as it is to bring a new kind of brokerage to the industry. “There’s no path in front of us, we have to forge it ourselves.”

Kendyl Young