Location: Colorado | Launched: 2006 | Number of agents: 80
Boutique Denver brokerage doubles down on urban neighborhoods
Founded in 2006, Live Urban Real Estate responded to a void in Denver’s urban market with a focus on street knowledge of the inner city neighborhoods. According to Founder and Broker/Owner, John Skrabec, “there were a few small boutiques with tired branding, and lots of indistinguishable large corporate franchises, but none had a specific market focus on new buyers and sellers.”
Live Urban Real Estate is unique in its crystal-clear understanding of the target demographic. “We want active, urban residents who love city life and know Denver’s urban neighborhoods,” John said.
“Typically, they’re mid-20s to mid-30s. Hip, smart, and savvy agents with proven experience. No jackets and ties. No pantyhose. No fancy cars.”
When they began, the two partners/owners John Skrabec and Mark White had years of brokerage and marketing management experience. They purchased a storefront in a hip, urban commercial area, invested their own cash in equipment and furniture, and opened shop with no brand awareness or track record.
Live Urban Real Estate now has 80 agents and has been voted Top Workplace by The Denver Post five years in a row, taking first place for small companies in 2015. They’ve remained true to their hybrid model of brick-and-mortar with a heavy focus on technology.
The battle for consistency
Live Urban creates every piece of marketing in-house using a team of a graphic designer, a digital and social content manager, and a video producer. This consistent branding effort, from the web to select direct mail and print advertising to print collateral, promotes the same brand message. It’s an effort that makes all the difference.
“I think consistency remains critically important,” John said, even as the company has grown in size. “As we get bigger and have more active agents, it’s becoming more challenging to maintain control over these activities. Our strategy of maintaining a positive, upbeat and consistent brand image in an active real estate market has certainly contributed to our success.”
With every new technology the company introduces, the goal is increased efficiency for agents. Live Urban uses a variety of tools, including RealSatisfied for client testimonials, Slack for interoffice communications, WiseStamp for smart email signatures, BrandFolder and Dropbox for document sharing and storage, WhenIWork to manage office floor schedules, and Rezora for integrated and consistent client communications.
They attribute much of their success to web strategy as well, which is designed to engage buyers and sellers and efficiently distribute inquiries to agents. The company provides comprehensive market data, active listings and easy-to-use search tools, all organized by neighborhood.
The power of local living and giving
While Live Urban utilizes technology and the Internet to the fullest extent, they also don’t underestimate the value in real life events and marketing. They host a client appreciation “Harvest Party” each year and several “Live and Learn” happy hours throughout the year.
In addition, Live Urban supports three local non-profits each year with a portion of each closing commision, fundraising efforts and volunteer days.
In 2017, they worked with Extended Hands of Hope who support victims of sex trafficking, the local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society working towards a cure for blood cancers, and Mount Saint Vincent providing clinical treatment for children with severe emotional and behavioral challenges.