Project Description

Building community and sustainability

Living Room Realty is focused on creating a great place to work that gives back and adds value to the community.

At A Glance

Location: Oregon  |  Launched: 2008  |  Number of agents: 110

Living Room Realty is a Portland-based brokerage focused on building community and a sustainable business.

Living Room Realty, a brokerage based in Portland, OR, specializes in urban neighborhoods and supports local businesses to ensure those neighborhoods thrive.

Founder Jenelle Isaacson envisioned the company when she began working on a “green” marketing campaign in her early years as an agent. She had been thinking about how to operate a truly sustainable business, something meaningful to her, and wanted to create business focused on people and community.

The deep-seated values present at Living Room Realty have shaped the business for success and fueled its growth along the way.

Initial Goals

From the beginning, Jenelle and team held themselves to high standards when it came to their community and sustainability goals. They didn’t want to just say they were a green company because they recycled and leave it at that.

“We think much more about the health of our community,” Jenelle said.

They dedicated themselves to the practice of buying 100% renewable energy and choosing local, organic or recycled materials when possible. In fact, Living Room Realty is a certified B Corp, which means it meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance for recertification every two years.

“It really helped us have something to strive toward, knowing we’d have more accountability,” Jenelle said of the certification.

Living Room Realty was the first real estate brokerage on the west coast to obtain B Corp status. Jenelle said the audit to become a B Corp took about a year and she humbly credits her office manager with setting up and managing a lot of the hard work that went into it.

Organic Traffic

One of Living Room’s most successful marketing endeavors has been blogging.

When they first launched, they didn’t have a budget for SEO or web ads, so Jenelle set up a blog-based website and asked agents to write a blog post about every sale. All the content is about real people and real houses, which inspires real people with real homes to be connected, Jenelle said.

“At this point now it feels like a time capsule…We have this recorded log of people moving here. Something about that feels really historic and really important,” she said.

Prospects often find the Living Room Realty website because of the natural traffic on the blog. “Especially when people are moving here, they talk a lot about our website,” she said.

In total, they will have 1,300 – 1,400 home sale stories this year. Since inception, Living Room has yet to pay for any search word optimization.

Natural Growth

“I feel like anything that’s healthy grows,” said Jenelle. Living Room has had a healthy growth of new employees, agents and clients and was voted top 100 Best Places to Work in Oregon in 2017.

“We have six offices now. Our agent count is about 110, and we have a staff of 20.”

The internal and external community for Living Room has developed without mergers or acquisitions. The emphasis is not on expansion and the growth is natural.

The Living Room Realty methodology includes a strong tie to the local community, particularly local businesses. Newsletters are sent out to agents six times a year to keep them active in various aspects of the business, including updates on the donations each agent makes to a local charity with the sale of a house.

New homeowners are sent welcome postcards with small business coupons and other incentives for places near their home. These have included local grocers, restaurants and ice cream shops, a Portland favorite.

Internally, “we are always hiring up and creating systems with the eye for growth but never at the expense of what’s healthy and what feels good and true, or having to compromise any of our values,” Jenelle said.

Shaping the brand

Living Room Realty’s actions speak volumes to their identity. Jenelle and the team are committed to finding their tribe and message based on their core values.

“Welcoming people to the party who fit in with your values and allowing them to have their own authentic voice,” is important, said Jenelle, who believes every client and every agent ultimately shape the Living Room Realty brand.

Jenelle’s approach to brand has always been to be true and have tenacity. “You can’t be all things to all people,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to say what your truth is because the people that resonate with your beliefs will do more than help you grow a business, they will help you create a movement.”

Jenelle Isaacson