If there were such a thing as a real estate hotline, it would live at Northwest Home Team at Greene Realty. When clients call the Northwest Home Team office, the system sends the call to four of its Realtors at the same time. “It can always get somebody on the team,” says Jessica Chase. “As an agent it’s hard to be everywhere at once. We want to have unsurpassed customer service and when you have a team, you can do that. We do 100% of our business together.”
That approach is just one of the innovative methods Chase and her colleagues employ on behalf of their clients. Another involves technology. A year ago, Chase launched the Northwest Home Team website, which obtains a feed from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) site and updates every fifteen minutes. “Clients can browse like Realtors and see if there’s been a price reduction,” she says. “This gives them an advantage. We rely on it a lot and so do they.”
Chase started with Greene Realty four years ago, with just herself and a licensed assistant. Once they launched the website, the demand for her service increased rapidly. “So many customers were coming in, requesting showings or asking for meetings,” she says. “We got too busy.” She added another agent, but found they were still too busy. Eventually the Northwest Home Team was formed, consisting of Chase, Maura Willie, Rhonda Olnick, and Sheryl Weatherbee.
They specialize in residential resale, and it helps that Chase, Willie and Olnick have lived in Olympia their entire lives. “We have different strengths based on our pasts,” says Chase. “Sheryl has a military background so she know the ins and outs of relocation. Rhonda, Maura, and I are pretty seasoned when it comes to this area.”
Working as a team helps all four to achieve a work/life balance, she says. “We’re moms, and we can really balance off of each other. It can be hard to work with other people but the four of us flow well. We’re a seamless team.”
Gary Campbell sold a home through the team in August and quickly discovered the advantage of their approach. “It was a fairly high-end house, and we didn’t want a lock box on it where anybody could come and go whenever they wanted,” he says. “One of them was always available when anyone wanted to look at it. They were there quite often, which gave us a sense of security.” Stephanie Jackson has sold one home with the group and bought another, and she also appreciates their collective effort. “If Jessica wasn’t available, one of the other Realtors would get back with me,” she says.
All four feel a sense of investment in Olympia, she relates. “We want to have a presence here. We’re not just a real estate team. All of us have charities and causes that we volunteer for.” The group also has a set of builders they like to work with who makes homes energy efficient. “We’re saving the clients a lot of money,” she says. “It’s important for us to make sure we preserve our community.”
Chase didn’t start out in real estate. She was headed for a career in public relations when an internship changed her mind. “I played volleyball growing up and continued at Central Washington University,” she says. “I wanted to go into sports PR.” Her senior year she got an internship with Washington Lottery and ended up in charge of the accounts with the now defunct Seattle Supersonics and the Seattle Mariners. “It was really fun, but I realized it was probably not something that I wanted to pursue,” she says.
Instead, she changed her senior project to real estate and got her license at almost the same time that she graduated. “My degree in PR and minor in business have been so helpful in marketing and working with clients,” she says.
That business focus came into play when it was time to create her website. “I wanted to offer my clients an awesome online resource,” she says. “I researched a lot of companies and hired one. We have a whole google team putting it together.”
The result is a site that allows customers to function like real estate agents. “Everything is online,” says Chase. “Even if someone drives by a real estate sign, most likely they’re going to look up the home on their mobile device. This way, our clients get an email right away if anything changes because we feed directly from MLS so everything is really up to date.”
She emphasizes that the tool is not just for buyers. “It’s for sellers. If someone is thinking of refinancing or putting their house on the market, they can put their information in and get an instant market evaluation for free,” she says.
The site has had a powerful impact on her business. “I’ve sold real estate for eleven years so I have a pretty good referral base, but for those customers this is one more reason to come back,” she says. “New business keeps coming in, and it’s probably increased by 50%.”
Clients attribute some of that success to the team’s effective use of social media. “Our house had a significant online presence,” says Jackson. “It was on the market for a total of five days and then it was sold.” Campbell also says the Greene Team used social media heavily and in different ways to get the word out. “It got only about four or five viewings, but the right buyer came along,” he says.
Chase hopes that the combination of high-powered technology and exceptional customer service helps her clients feel at ease through what can be a stressful time. “We get to be part of probably the biggest investment people make in their life,” she says. “People are getting married and moving into a new home or their kids are going off to school and they’re downsizing. It’s such an exciting time in people’s lives. At the same time, it can be really stressful to buy or sell a home. I hope that working with us puts their mind at ease.”