Real estate agents and consumers take many of today’s online search tools for granted. But back in the early 2000’s, before Google Maps and the big real estate search websites, there were few solutions for harnessing the power of the web.
Houses do not sell houses: the people that live in them sell them. So unless you’re talking to those people, you really have no chance of selling any of those homes.
— GARRON SELLIKEN
Even if the property data you found online was current and accurate (a major assumption), you couldn’t view properties on an interactive map, and you certainly couldn’t refine your results by neighborhood.
So Garron Selliken decided to take the initiative.
An agent based in Portland, Oregon, Garron yearned for a better way for his clients to visualize and search property listings online. So he developed a set of tools that eventually became Homequest, one of the first map-based technology platforms for real estate. “I built this just for myself as an agent, so I could send a map to my clients,” Garron admitted. “And then it just snowballed from there…I built Zillow before Zillow.”
Today, Garron continues to innovate as broker-owner of M Realty, one of Portland’s premier real estate companies. “The worst brokerages, in my opinion, are the ones that are like, ‘Oh, well, if you come here, we’re so prestigious and we’re already so successful that you just can’t help but be successful, because you’re around successful people,’” Garron told us. “I’m like, ‘Okay, well, that’s stupid.’”
Instead, M Realty offers its agents a a full in-house marketing platform, supporting their relationship building and listing promotion from start to finish with a dedicated team of professionals.
As a result, Garron’s team can spend less time on marketing, and more time interacting with clients and prospects. “Houses do not sell houses: the people that live in them sell them,” Garron pointed out. “So unless you’re talking to those people, you really have no chance of selling any of those homes.”
And Garron’s approach seems to be working: the company currently supports 140 agents, and continues to grow quickly.
In this interview, Garron tells us how his experience as both an agent and a developer has helped him craft the perfect practice for his team, and explains why you don’t have to go to extraordinary lengths to give clients an extraordinary experience.