The last few years have seen tons of advances in the home buying and selling process. But renting: that’s another story. Today, nearly 40 percent of Americans rent their homes, and many of them feel like second-class citizens when it comes to finding a place to live.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that more Americans are renting than ever before, and that’s a trend that looks like it’s here to stay. Last year, 41 percent of Millennial non-homeowners said they don’t plan to buy a home in the foreseeable future.
When you know what you’re good at, say no to everything else…The longer people are in this industry, the more refined their niche is.
— SARAH JONES
Still, many real estate professionals are reluctant to pursue renters, and it’s easy to see why: conventional wisdom dictates that except in the biggest and priciest cities, margins for residential rentals are simply too low to justify the effort.
For Bamboo Realty, however, rentals aren’t just profitable: they’re the foundation of an entire business. Back in 2009, managing broker and co-owner Sarah Jones founded Bamboo Realty in Dallas as a virtual brokerage focused on rental clients. Since then, Bamboo has expanded to include offices in Houston, Dallas, Denver, and Raleigh.
Together with Vice President Zach Schabot (who previously founded superstar brokerage Go Realty in North Carolina), Sarah is proving that rentals can not only sustain, but also grow a real estate business. “People looking for rentals should elevate their expectations and expect more from real estate agents when it comes to rental service,” Sarah told us.
Bamboo’s success is no stroke of luck, either: it’s the result of a thoughtful culture and a keen understanding of how consumers’ views on home ownership are evolving. Sarah has spent years building a business and a team that’s purpose-built for Bamboo’s audience. “A lot of firms don’t necessarily have an identity…because they haven’t yet had that honest conversation about: What are we good at? Where should we be playing? And then eliminating all the distractions,” Sarah explained.
In this interview, Sarah and Zach discuss what it takes to build a company with a strong, effective culture, and why the secret to connecting with folks online is just to lighten up.
- Matt & Seth