Project Description

A lasting impact on buyers and sellers

Ashby & Graff Real Estate operates on the Japanese principle of “kaizen” – the idea that in business, improvement is a process and the goal is to move toward a level of perfection.

At A Glance

Location: California  |  Launched: 2017  |  Number of agents: 11

A lasting impact on buyers and sellers

John Graff first got his start in real estate in 2013 after a career in politics. When he started his brokerage in May of 2017, he was motivated to provide the type of quality customer service that would impact buyers and sellers during and after their experience.

He wanted to raise the bar on what buyers and sellers expect from their agent, what agents expect from their broker, and also what brokers expect from their agents. Ashby & Graff Real Estate was born.


Ashby & Graff Real Estate operates on the Japanese principle of “kaizen”, which means change for the better. In business, kaizen refers to the things – systems, activities and processes – that continuously improve all functions and includes everyone from the CEO to the person who works the front desk.

The philosophy of constant change for the better is part of the equation that makes up Ashby & Graff Real Estate. Another key part of the brokerage is a high standard they insist for their agents. To do well, their agents subscribe to three core values: be effective, be honest, be ethical.

And in return, John provides a supportive environment for his agents through the training the firm provides. “We want to see our agents do well and we put our money in what we say”, said John.

Commission Structured on Value

Putting that dollar value in the hands of agents takes the form of a flexible commission split. Agents get to pick a structure based on where they are at in their careers. John says it this way: “Agents can literally type in an option that gets reviewed by me and if it’s something I see is fair, we come to an agreement.”

And there is room for diversity for everyone from agents who are just starting out to those who are more experienced. Ashby & Graff Real Estate recognizes that newer agents require more hands-on mentoring and training and are focused on investing money back into their business.

For agents further along in their careers, there is the benefit of being able to invest more funds into developing their own brand. John said, “Because of the commission options we offer, agents feel they are getting value just as much as the brokerage is.”

Strength in Numbers

John’s focus for Ashby & Graff Real Estate is to continue to bring in the right agents to the office. His priority is on recruiting at the moment and he is making it as simple as possible for agents to affiliate with his brokerage. He even enables agents to sign up directly from his recruiting website.

As far as what he’s looking for in new talent, he is intent on finding agents who can embrace and uphold the three values of honesty, ethics and being effective. “We’re willing to give a shot to any agent who can stay true to our core culture,” said John, who is passionate about how consumers are treated in a real estate transaction.

On thriving in the brokerage’s environment, John feels agents who do well are those looking to successfully run their own businesses, make a solid income, and appreciate the degree of freedom working in the real estate industry brings.

Driven to A New Level of Success

We’re early into the lifespan of Ashby & Graff Real Estate, but the road is wide open and John is looking up. As for his own motivations, though John cannot discount that money matters in the world of real estate, he truly would like to help people. “It gives me a sense of pride and happiness in seeing people that I’m helping do well,” he said. “It’s part of what I’d like to change about the real estate industry and it moves me forward every day.”

John Graff

Founder, Owner