full-time. I started out by focusing on niche
markets. One thing I knew well was the military lifestyle, so I became a certified military
relocation specialist. My marketing included
driving myself around in a bright yellow
Hummer H2 with my name and website on
the sides. It built my identity and got a lot of
attention. I also worked with a lot of renters
because many agents wouldn’t.
By 2011, I had built up my database and
Design Ideas for Buyers, Sellers
won top awards for production and customer
service, and I decided to go out on my own. It took about a year
to formulate my concept, which I modeled on Nordstrom’s
outstanding customer service, Apple’s technology, and HGTV’s
design education. We started doing business as @home real
estate in January 2012.
Our 4,000-square-foot flagship o;ce is a combination home-style lounge and design center. Agents can stretch out with a
client on a sofa in front of a fireplace and talk about taxes and
earnest money. Or they can sit at the Mac computer bar and
negotiate a deal. We don’t have o;ces or cubicles. A 7-foot
video screen, which can be seen from the street through the
large picture windows, plays listing presentations, property
tours, and remodeling projects.
The second floor is the design center. From my time working
with buyers in new construction, I saw they loved going to build-
ers’ design centers to see the di;erent options and upgrades
and to make selections for their homes. But buyers and sellers
of resale properties need the same kind of service. That’s how
our TRH, or The Remodeled Home, program came about. We
partner with a local construction company.
For buyers who are considering various properties and renovations, we can quickly get them accurate estimates so they
can make informed o;ers. We have samples of tile, granite, and
paint colors, just like a builder’s design center.
For sellers, we can tell them the market price of their home
as is, the best renovations to increase its value, and how much
money they can expect if they do them. Sometimes sellers don’t
have $8,000 in the bank to get rid of the red paint, but they have
equity. We allow qualified sellers to get up to $25,000 in renovations now and pay the rest at settlement. They can hand us the
key, and we’ll do everything.
A Lifestyle, Not a House
Our marketing program, TruView, is customized for every listing.
We’ve soaked up what luxury car dealers, hotels, and airlines are
doing, which is focusing on the client experience. That’s what we
do. It’s not about the wood floors or the ceiling fans; it’s about
giving someone a true view of what it’s like to live in this house.
We featured one listing with a photograph of me swinging on the
really cool tree swing. The headline said, “Tree swing for sale,
comes with a fantastic house.”
We produce all our marketing materials in-house: high-
definition video, video editing, aerial and still photography,
magazines, websites, and even listing sheets. We do it at no cost
to the agents. I want it done a certain way, and I don’t want them
to deal with it. I’m controlling my brand.
The two programs are definitely working for us. We’ve had
people coming to us because they’ve seen our marketing or
heard about our remodeling. Our agents are more relaxed because they have more time, and we are all having fun. As we see
it, we are not in business to sell houses. We want to help people
get the house they want. That’s something Google can’t do.
As told to Pamela Dittmer McKuen
“As we see it, we are not in business to sell houses.
We want to help people get the house they want.
That’s something Google can’t do.”
Company @home real estate
Number of o;ces: 2
Number of sales associates: 12 and hiring
2014 gross sales: $89.6 million on 127 transaction sides
2015 gross sales: $119.7 million on 194 transaction sides