Location: South Carolina | Launched: 2013 | Number of agents: 28
Incorporating teamwork and a personal touch in every transaction
Sometimes, it’s the things that develop naturally that have the best outcomes. “We didn’t intend to be our own real estate firm when we first started our team, let alone be among the biggest and best in our market,” said Mary Lane, cofounder of The ART of Real Estate. “But if you look at our sales figures, we’re right up there with the larger franchises.”
By volume, the brokerage sold about 400 homes in 2017 with a sales figure of $75 million.
It was in November of 2013 that Mary Lane and partner Brad Allen started The ART of Real Estate, based in Columbia, SC. According to Mary Lane, it was a natural progression of what worked – a successful combination of an office that meshed well together, stayed creative, and focused on solid connections.
At The ART of Real Estate, the value of teamwork is what keeps them strong. Clients don’t get the benefit of just the agent they work with, but an entire office team who support each other through solid customer service, creating positivity in the home buying and selling process, and a collaborative approach.
“Clients have someone available to them 24/7,” said Mary Lane. “We bring an enthusiasm and energy with our team that a single agent can’t match.”
At an annual retreat each year, the company reflects on the work they’ve accomplished together. The partners incorporate what’s important to the brokerage with what is important to each of the agents.
On top of that, the firm hires a coach to sit down and plan with each agent separately, to help them achieve their goals for the coming year.
The firm is relatively young as well. Most of the members are under 40 years old, but it’s their attitude that keeps things fresh. According to Mary Lane, “We’re always trying new things, keeping an eye on stats, and figuring out why something works.”
Brad keeps the firm’s knowledge base current by traveling to conferences in different cities, speaking at key events, and connecting with a wide variety of ideas. “If you can get out of your own market and bring those concepts back, it helps make your business more professional,” Mary Lane said.
The brokerage caters to everyone from the government sector and military personnel to millennials and baby boomers. With a huge market of baby boomers about to retire and looking at South Carolina to live, the firm is prepared to capture this market segment.
With clients, a personal touch is business as usual. The ART of Real Estate likes adding extras like delivered flowers with cards and hand bound portfolios to make the experience for their customers a positive one.
Tech-Savvy in a Global Market
The ART of Real Estate is well-equipped to cater to the needs of a modern market. By employing Matterport, a 3D software capable of taking clients through a virtual reality tour of a property, they are able to accommodate parties interested in moving to the Columbia area who may not readily be able to travel yet.
“A family in Germany can look at a property and make a decision on it before they’ve even stepped foot into the city,” Mary Lane said.
Benefits for the Entire Community
The ART of Real Estate stays active in the community in a number of ways. Every year, they host a pumpkin-picking event complete with bouncy houses where 300 people attend. They also put together movie nights in the park, another large-scale community event.
Though the bigger events have been highly successful, The ART of Real Estate is now looking toward hosting smaller, more personal gatherings where they can really get to know their customers. They have VIP events for their clients and vendors, which include fun outings like a haunted house distillery tour and intimate dinner parties.
“We really want to deepen our relationships with our loyal clients,” Mary Lane said. “They’re already big advocates of ours and we want to show our appreciation for them.”
Giving back financially to the community is a big part of the business as well. Each quarter, the brokerage has been taking 10 percent of its profits and giving those earnings to charity.
A Future of Giving and Growing
As they move forward, they’re looking to become more impactful at a local level. Rather than simply donating to charities, they’ve set up a page that allows locals to request funds for everything from high school booster clubs to worthwhile causes like raising money for cancer patients and nonprofits. The ART of Real Estate also treks around town in a van, which helps deliver goods for local aid organizations.
Recently, The ART of Real Estate opened an office in Greenville, SC, and they plan to be as impactful there as they have been in Columbia. “We’re always looking for opportunities to grow and be better at what we do,” Mary Lane added.