Blog : Announcements

Top-Producing Real Estate Broker Opens NextHome’s Newest Franchised Location

Top-Producing Real Estate Broker Opens NextHome’s Newest Franchised Location

Garrick Olerud

Pleasanton, CA — August 21, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce the latest addition to the franchise, NextHome Prime Real Estate. The brokerage will represent the ninth NextHome franchised location in the state of Wisconsin.

The company will be owned and operated by top-producing REALTOR® and real estate broker, Garrick Olerud.

Based out of Westby, NextHome Prime Real Estate will provide residential sales, investment property, land and farm sales, and commercial services to the counties of Vernon, La Crosse, Crawford, Monroe, Trempealeau, and Richland.

Westby is located two hours northwest of the state’s capital Madison and is home to just under 2,500 residents, but the larger metro area has a population of nearly 300,000. The city is known for its strong agricultural economy and cooperative business partnerships. Westby is sometimes referred to as “Co-Op City” with seven business co-ops still actively in business including Westby Cooperative Creamery, Vernon Telephone Cooperative, Heartland Country Coop, Westby Coop Credit Union, Vernon Electric Cooperative, and Accelerated Genetics.

Garrick started his real estate career right after graduating from college in 2014 with Coldwell Banker River Valley REALTORS® based out of La Crosse, WI.

His father, Gary, was an auctioneer and had auctioned everything from personal items to farm equipment. In 2015, he partnered with his father to help with auctioning off real estate properties.

In addition to the real estate auctions, Garrick built a very successful real estate sales business. In 2018 alone, Garrick sold more than 100 homes. One of the proudest moments of his career was when he received the President’s Award out of 100 agents at his company. He consistently was ranked in the top two percent of the company year after year.

Garrick attributes much of his success to his commitment to community relationships.

“Before real estate, I thought about working in politics,” said Garrick. “I love connecting with those in our community. Being in real estate allows me a rewarding career with a high level of community involvement.” 

Garrick serves on the Vernon County Board of Supervisors and is also the Vice President of the Westby Coon Prairie Church. 

In 2018, Garrick was ready to take the next step and open his own brokerage.

“I wanted to open a real estate company that allowed me to modify my existing methods and systems so I could help other hard-working agents build their own business,” said Garrick. “By creating an environment that allows agents to flourish, the result helps better serve those in our community.”

Garrick knew NextHome would be the franchise that would allow him to provide the technology he was looking for, while still allowing him to run the brokerage his way.

Outside of selling real estate, Garrick and his wife of seven years Kassi love spending time with their two daughters – Peyton (age 5) and Piper (age 2). The Olerud’s are expecting their first son in October 2019.

Please join us in congratulating Garrick and the rest of the team at NextHome Prime Real Estate on their new office in Westby, WI!


Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at


Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

How to Score a Real Estate Listing in a Competitive Market

How to Score a Real Estate Listing in a Competitive Market

If you work in a competitive market where homes for sale are in short supply, landing listings can be a challenge. For established agents and newbies alike, getting sellers’ attention at the right time and then earning their confidence is the key to success. Here are some ideas to help get your name on more “For Sale” signs.

Since you don’t always know when sellers are thinking about putting their home on the market, promoting yourself consistently throughout the year often yields the best results. If your market is seasonal or has traditional peak listing periods, be sure to ramp up your efforts before the rise in home sales instead of during the top months (typically April – June) when sellers have likely already chosen their agents.

Spread the word in your community that you conduct free workshops, seminars, and brown bag lunch programs about selling homes. You could put together presentations on topics like:

  • Thinking About Selling Your Home?
  • How to Prepare Your Home to Sell
  • How to Select a Real Estate Professional
  • The State of Our Current Real Estate Market
  • How Much Is Your Home Worth?

Specialize in an area or neighborhood to build your reputation as a sellers’ agent. If you live in or are familiar with a particular part of town, focus your marketing efforts there. Emphasize your extensive knowledge and experience in that area in your marketing materials and online to gain referrals and to attract new clients.

Specialize in a specific market segment. Do you enjoy working with first-time homebuyers? Do you like helping families find the right homes and school districts? Maybe you like to serve relocating or downsizing clients? Find a niche market that corresponds to your skills and experience, then target your marketing effort to that group.

Yes, digital marketing is great— but so are tried-and-true, old-fashioned marketing tools like door hangers, direct mail, and personalized promotional items. If you’ve been using the same marketing materials and photos for a while, update them with new images and fresh wording.

Ask for the business. Put the word out to former clients and friends that you’re eager to handle new listings. Remind them of your professional skills and strengths, and ask them to introduce you or to refer you to new clients.

Create an industry network. You may not see the benefit in maintaining relationships with people such as lenders and attorneys, but these types of people often refer business your way.

Tap into the complimentary marketing resources offered by American Home Shield®. For example, AHS® offers a dynamic marketing automation tool that lets you build and send personalized marketing materials to your clients. The company also offers open house kits and other selling tools. Your knowledgeable AHS Account Executive will gladly work with you and share their industry expertise to help you build your business and reach your goals.

Once you gain listings, remember that your sellers can enjoy the benefits of an American Home Shield Home Warranty with the Seller Coverage Option*. For up to six months, until the coverage transfers to the buyers, sellers receive the advantages of the AHS ShieldEssential(SM) plan while the home is on the market. ShieldEssential protection includes coverage for major components of the most crucial home systems that are the most expensive to repair or replace, including heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and more. American Home Shield can help streamline transactions for buyers, sellers, and agents which may lead to new referrals – and new listings.

*Subject to a $2,000 cap for all trades during the listing period.

For more information from our partners at American Home Shield, visit their blog!

NextHome Named on the 2019 Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

NextHome Named on the 2019 Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

Pleasanton, CA — August 14, 2019 — Inc. magazine revealed its annual Inc. 5000 list today, and NextHome is among the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The five-year-old company has been dubbed one of the fastest-growing real estate franchise and it shows from their spot on the list at #1897. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses.

NextHome is a part of a list that achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 454 percent, and a median rate of 157 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $237.7 billion in 2018, accounting for 1,216,308 jobs over the past three years. 

“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have followed so many different paths to success,” said Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “There’s no single course you can follow or investment you can take that will guarantee this kind of spectacular growth. But what they have in common is persistence and seizing opportunities.”

The 2019 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2015 and 2018. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2015. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2018. 

Considering NextHome was founded in 2014, the franchise was headed for exponential growth within their first year of induction. As their unique and modern marketing hits the real estate industry by storm, there’s no slowing down. 

“This recognition is a testament to the hard work of our team to deliver a consumer-centric brand and an innovative technology platform that resonates with agents and brokers,” said James Dwiggins, CEO of NextHome. “More than that, it speaks to the level of professionalism of our members who are truly the absolute best in the business. We couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments, helping Nexthome grow at such a tremendous rate.”

The NextHome franchise would like to extend a huge thank you to all members across the country. Without them, they would not have the great pleasure of being on a list that has held other well-known names like Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, and other power-hitters. 

From day one, NextHome has made it their mission to enrich lives by helping people find their next home. Are you NEXT?


Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at


Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

NextHome’s First Franchisee in Oklahoma Expands Her Reach

NextHome’s First Franchisee in Oklahoma Expands Her Reach

Kimberly Hutson

Pleasanton, CA — August 14, 2017 — NextHome is proud to announce the latest addition to the franchise, NextHome Simply Real Estate. The brokerage will represent the second NextHome franchise location owned by Kimberly Hutson in the state of Oklahoma. She will take over ownership from a fellow broker and Norman Board of REALTORS® member, Carolyn Little. Carolyn will stay on during the transition of ownership as the company’s broker of record.

Additionally, she has acquired the property management division of NextHome Simply Real Estate and will be of service to more than 50 properties. 

“I’m excited about this opportunity to expand in Oklahoma and continue the NextHome way of doing business in our communities,” said Kimberly. “Carolyn has created a wonderful brokerage with an amazing culture. Both of our offices have been very involved in working in our local cities and I’m thrilled to have Carolyn still be a part of the NextHome family.”

Based out of Noble, NextHome Simply Real Estate will provide residential sales, investment property, luxury home sales, first time home buyers, military, land sales, horse properties, multi-family and relocation services to areas including Norman, Moore, Oklahoma City, Edmond, Piedmont, Guthrie, Newcastle, Tuttle, Blanchard, and the surrounding rural communities.

Noble, located just on the outskirts of the city of Norman, is home to just under 7,000 residents. The city is the third-largest in population in Cleveland County.

Before real estate, Kimberly worked as an Executive Secretary to a Bank President and left her job after 10 years to raise her family.

“After the kids were older, I was ready to get back into working full time,” said Kimberly. The couple moved a couple of times due to her husband’s work transfers but were happy to move back to Norman. 

“The process of selling and searching for our homes during those moves is what made me want to get into real estate. I am very passionate about helping people and I want to make a difference in this industry,” said Kimberly.

Licensed since 2013, Kimberly is a member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of Realtors®, Norman Board of Realtors®, and the Edmond Board of Realtors.

Kimberly spent her first year learning as much as possible about the industry. Her commitment to education shines through the time she dedicates towards improving her service for her clients. She has earned several NAR designations and certifications including Graduate of the Real Estate Institute (GRI), Accredited Buyers Agent (ABR), Broker Price Opinion Resource (BPOR), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), and Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR).

With her commitment to education evident, Kimberly sold nearly $4 million in real estate volume in just her second year in real estate.

In 2016, she went on to get her broker’s license and joined eXp Realty as a branch broker. As her business continued to increase, she started a team.

Although she successfully led agents as the branch broker, changes in the company franchise structure in Oklahoma caused Kimberly to look in a different direction.

In 2017, she decided to start her own brokerage and was looking for the right company to affiliate with.

“A friend introduced me to NextHome because she knew I was looking for something new and different than what other brokerages offered here in Oklahoma,” recalled Kimberly.

Soon after, Kimberly launched NextHome Prestige Realty in Norman, Oklahoma.

“We are a group of tech-savvy agents that love the tools and resources NextHome provides. We focus on team building, training and representing our clients with a personal experience we are proud of. NextHome gives us the tools and resources we need to streamline our processes and operate effectively and efficiently for our clients’ needs,” said Kimberly.

With a group of career-oriented agents at the brokerage, Kimberly takes pride in how involved the team at NextHome Prestige Realty is with the local community. When they are not in the office or helping clients, you’ll find them out on the golf course sponsoring a hole for a charity tournament, working or serving in the local communities, or helping the local boards.

“We love our communities and giving back is important to us,” said Kimberly.

Outside of selling real estate, Kimberly and her husband of 27 years, Glen, enjoy spending time with their family and friends and traveling as much as possible. The couple has three children – Brooklyn (24), Bridgette (21), and Chad (15).

Please join us in congratulating Kimberly and the rest of the team at NextHome Prestige Realty and NextHome Simply Real Estate on their expansion in Oklahoma!


Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at


Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

NextHome Opens Two New Franchised Offices in Idaho

NextHome Opens Two New Franchised Offices in Idaho

Patricia Hernandez

Pleasanton, CA — August 9, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Home Run Realty. The new brokerage represents the eighth and ninth NextHome franchised offices in the state of Idaho. One office will be located in Pocatello, while the other will be in American Falls. The offices are approximately 20 minutes away from each other and will help NextHome Home Run Realty’s agents service the entire Southeast Idaho region.

NextHome Home Run Realty will be led by broker/owner Patricia Hernandez. She will handle all day-to-day aspects of the company including mentoring, training, and brokerage growth. Her daughter, Amanda, and her son Anthony will be joining her on the leadership team and will assist Patricia in handling various business needs for the company.

The city of Pocatello is home to more than 55,000 residents and is the fifth most populated city in the state of Idaho. American Falls is a much smaller city with just over 4,000 residents. NextHome Home Run Realty will not only service buyers and sellers of both those areas, but also the remainder of Bannock, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida, and Power counties.

With expertise in working with first-time homebuyers, move-up buyers, investors, new construction, out of state buyers, and military relocation, NextHome Home Run Realty is positioned to help all different types of buyer and seller needs. 

Patricia has always had an interest in real estate since she was very young. As a child, she spent her summers in Southern California with her grandmother who would take her to look at all the open houses in the area. As an investor, Patricia’s grandmother was a savvy home buyer and was very experienced at investing in properties. 

Patricia started her career in 2007 with an independent boutique brokerage and worked there for her first two years. She focused on developing strong relationships with her clients and earning their trust through smart and thoughtful real estate advice. That mindset set the tone for a successful career path.

In December 2009, Patricia made the move to ERA – The Brokerage in Pocatello. Over a five year period, she built her business to new heights – selling upwards of $4 million in real estate volume. With the average home sales price being in the mid $100,000’s, Patricia did very well. As one of the top agents in the 20 person brokerage, Patricia’s consistency with putting client needs in front of her own needs has been the hallmark of her career. 

In Fall 2014, Patricia opened her own real estate company – Home Run Realty

“After working for others, I felt like it was time to go out on my own and be more in control of my business,” said Patricia. “I already had Amanda’s help assisting me in years prior, so I knew that I had the support to go out on my own and open a brokerage.”

In 2018, Home Run Realty sold more than $7 million in real estate. 

Later that year, Patricia was looking for a way to provide an even better experience for her clients. She looked at various real estate franchises to see what was available.

“I worked for a franchised office when I was at ERA,” said Patricia. “I knew what franchises could offer, but NextHome really blew me away. The cutting edge technology was second to none.”

By adding NextHome to an already successful brokerage, Patricia feels that the partnership will provide her clients with unparalleled service unlike any in the area.

Outside of selling real estate, Patricia is all about family. She enjoys time with her husband of 27 years, Lonnie, and their kids Amanda, Anthony, and Stephanie. The family loves to travel and visits California as much as possible.

Patricia is very involved in her church and community, and volunteers as much as possible.

Please join us in congratulating Patricia, Amanda, Anthony and the rest of the team at NextHome Home Run Realty on the opening of their two brand new NextHome brokerages in Pocatello and American Falls!


Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at


Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Explaining the Basis of Inherited Real Estate

Explaining the Basis of Inherited Real Estate

At some point in our lives, we may inherit a home or another form of real property. In such instances, we need to understand some of the jargon involving inherited real estate. What does “cost basis” mean? What is a “step-up?” What is the home sale tax exclusion, and what kind of tax break does it offer?

Very few parents discuss these matters with their children before they pass away. Some prior knowledge of these terms may make things less confusing at a highly stressful time.

Cost basis is fairly easy to explain. It is the original purchase price of real estate plus certain expenses and fees incurred by the buyer, many of them detailed at closing. The purchase price is always the starting point for determining the cost basis; that is true whether the purchase is financed or all-cash. Title insurance costs, settlement fees, and property taxes owed by the seller that the buyer ends up paying can all become part of the cost basis.1

At the buyer’s death, the cost basis of the property is “stepped up” to its current fair market value. This step-up can cut into the profits of inheritors should they elect to sell. On the other hand, it can also reduce any income tax liability stemming from the transaction.2

Here is an illustration of a stepped-up basis. Twenty years ago, Jane Smyth bought a home for $255,000. At purchase, the cost basis of the property was $260,000. Jane dies and her daughter Blair inherits the home. Its present fair market value is $459,000. That is Blair’s stepped-up basis. So if Blair sells the home and gets $470,000 for it, her complete taxable profit on the sale will be $11,000, not $210,000. If she sells the home for less than $459,000, she will take a loss; the loss will not be tax-deductible, as you cannot deduct a loss resulting from the sale of a personal residence.1

The step-up can reflect more than just simple property appreciation through the years. In fact, many factors can adjust it over time, including negative ones. Basis can be adjusted upward by the costs of home improvements and home additions (and even related tax credits received by the homeowner), rebuilding costs following a disaster, legal fees linked to property ownership, and expenses of linking utility lines to a home. Basis can be adjusted downward by property and casualty insurance payouts, allowable depreciation that comes from renting out part of a home or using part of a residence as a place of business, and any other developments that amount to a return of cost for the property owner.1

The Internal Revenue Code states that a step-up applies for real property “acquired by bequest, devise, or inheritance, or by the decedent’s estate from the decedent.” In plain English, that means the new owner of the property is eligible for the step-up whether the deceased property owner had a will or not.2

In a community property state, receipt of the step-up becomes a bit more complicated. If a married couple buys real estate in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin, each spouse is automatically considered to have a 50% ownership interest in said real property. (Alaska offers spouses the option of a community property agreement.) If a child or other party inherits that 50% ownership interest, that inheritor is usually entitled to a step-up. If at least half of the real estate in question is included in the decedent’s gross estate, the surviving spouse is also eligible for a step-up on his or her 50% ownership interest. Alternately, the person inheriting the ownership interest may choose to value the property six months after the date of the previous owner’s death (or the date of disposition of the property, if disposition occurred first).2,3

In recent years, there has been talk in Washington of curtailing the step-up. So far, such notions have not advanced toward legislation.4

What if a parent gifts real property to a child? The parent’s tax basis becomes the child’s tax basis. If the parent has owned that property for decades and the child cannot take advantage of the federal home sale tax exclusion, the capital gains tax could be enormous if the child sells the property.2

Who qualifies for the home sale tax exclusion? If individuals or married couples want to sell an inherited home, they can qualify for this big federal tax break once they have used that home as their primary residence for two years out of the five years preceding the sale. Upon qualifying, a single taxpayer may exclude as much as $250,000 of gain from the sale, with $500,000 being the limit for married homeowners filing jointly. If the home’s cost basis receives a step-up, the gain from the sale may be small, but this is still a nice tax perk to have.5

Shane Westhoelter may be reached at 858-428-3929 or

Gateway Insurance Group, Inc.
6000 Uptown Blvd NE Ste 100
Albuquerque, NM 87110

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a brokerdealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc., and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. are not affiliated.
1 – [3/30/16]
2 – [5/13/15]
3 –
4 – [1/20/15]
5 – [3/31/16]
Attorney-turned-broker Opens Two NextHome Offices

Attorney-turned-broker Opens Two NextHome Offices

David Woodruff

Pleasanton, CA — August 2, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce that David Woodruff is taking the lead at offices in Simi Valley and Westlake Village as NextHome continues to expand across Southern California. NextHome Terra, right in the heart of Simi Valley, will serve the real estate needs of all types of buyers and sellers. Some areas of expertise include residential buying and selling, investment properties as well as residential property management. David’s second location, NextHome Oak Summit, operates out of the beautiful Westlake Village area and will offer the same type of high-level service available in Simi Valley. 

These two locations are the company’s 68th and 69th brokerage in California. 

“Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks are beautiful places to live,” David said. “They both have low crime rates and the best public schools in the area. Not only that, but the aesthetics are enticing. They boast clean air and mountain views wherever you go.”

With median single-family home prices reaching upwards of $800,000, the Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks areas (located just 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles) are catching the eye of California home buyers. As Los Angeles locals look to escape the city and bask in the beauty of mountain ranges, they look to David’s market areas, which include Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Oak Park, and the unincorporated area of Newbury Park. In addition, NextHome Terra and Oak Summit’s knowledgeable agents can serve buyers and sellers across the San Fernando Valley, Conejo, and Ventura County areas. 

David brings an intimate knowledge of the area and vast industry experience to his NextHome Terra and Oak Summit offices. The Westlake Village local built a thriving career as an attorney, however, David has been dabbling in real estate in some way or another for many years. In 2010 David decided to make real estate his full-time job. He quickly obtained his brokers license in 2011 and has been running brokerages ever since. 

“It’s all about the people,” David said of his love for real estate and running brokerages. “I love always getting to meet lots of different people and being able to help people find a house. I am helping them do something that is really important in their lives. Getting to work with people gives me energy and keeps my job interesting and rewarding.” 

From 2011 to 2012, David owned and operated Ochs Realty alongside partner Steve Ochs in Westlake Village. In 2012, David became the sole owner of Oak Summit Real Estate where he built a team of 12 agents. In addition to buying and selling, Oak Summit Real Estate became the primary representative in the Ventura County and Los Angeles County area for Blackstone, one of the largest real estate private equity firms in the world today. A large part of David’s business became finding and facilitating investment property purchases for the group. 

As his client portfolio became more balanced, David started thinking it was a good time to take advantage of all the benefits a franchised brokerage could provide. 

“Once my business became more broad and balanced, and wasn’t centered on just a couple of large clients, I felt that to be competitive with the many other large brokerages in the area I needed the brand and competitive edge that NextHome could provide,” David said.

The experienced broker and attorney then purchased NextHome Terra from Larry Nease. 

“It was the perfect fit for my strategic plan and I liked what I saw with NextHome,” David said. “Larry told me good things about the business and that was a good influence for me.”

Larry, a well-known name in Simi Valley real estate, continues to work with David at NextHome Terra. 

“NextHome is also fresh. It’s young. It’s exciting,” David said. “It’s a distinct brand and it has a lot of technology. It’s also up-and-coming, so I feel like I’m getting in on the ground floor of something great.”

Today, David and his NextHome brokerages stand apart in the competitive Southern California real estate market through his extensive experience and NextHome Terra and Oak Summit’s culture of excellence.

“The number one thing we bring to the table is experience,” David said. “I have personally handled well over a thousand real estate transactions. I’m also an attorney and a broker – a combination that gets you an unparalleled experience.”

Not only does David have extensive experience in the market, but he also nurtures a friendly and professional environment through his brokerage.

“They (the agents and administrative staff) give me a lift every time I come into the office,” David said. “I also love helping people meet their goals whether it’s to find the home of their dreams, or to make a real estate investment, or to see their house sell for a great price in a good time frame.” 

When he isn’t helping his agents and clients, David enjoys spending time with his wife of 25 years, Joy, and their two daughters, Kendra, 21 and Amanda, 15. 

The family likes to travel, experience new places, watch movies together, and spend time with their extended family. 

“We are thrilled that David found NextHome,” said Imran Poladi, NextHome’s Vice President. “We look forward to seeing all the success his skill-set and hard work will bring.”

Please join us in congratulating David and his team on the opening of his new NextHome brokerages in Simi Valley and Westlake Village!


Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at


Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Meet your July 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Meet your July 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Please join us as we celebrate our NextHomie of the Month for July 2019, Josh Roy, the Broker/Owner of NextHome Pikes Peak Realty in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Congratulations, Josh!

Josh joined NextHome in 2016, and was the 55th office in the NextHome story. He was not only an early adopter of NextHome, but also of real estate having obtained his license at 24-years-old. He worked with several other brokerages including Century 21 and RE/MAX before finding NextHome. 

When asked why he decided to join NextHome, Josh said “my gut felt good about it and I never question my gut.”  

Colorado Springs has four different military bases within its proximity. Josh’s favorite thing about working with buyers and sellers in his market is getting to know people from all over the country. “It’s cool to get to know them, where they are from, and learn from them,” said Josh. 

Josh currently manages over 15 associates, but it hasn’t always been a walk in the park. He learned first-hand that you need to let the wrong people go in order for the right people to find you.

Outside of work, Josh loves spending time with his family. He met his wife Angela in college where he obtained his degree in business management and they have been married for 15 years.

“I get all the glory, but she should get it too,” said Josh. “I couldn’t have done it without her support and encouragement; it’s never-ending.”  

The two have four children: Kassidy (11), Cade (10), Makayla (5), and Skylar (3). Their family outings include hiking, soccer games, and dance recitals. Josh also loves to travel and enjoys all things music, from rap to Hamilton. 

 When asked what characteristics best describes a NextHomie, his words were selected carefully, “fearless, courageous, passionate, and filled with love and support.”  

You have to have a component of fearlessness to jump in and take on a new venture when only 54 other offices exist. Thank you for being fearless Josh and for helping NextHome be the amazing company it is today. It’s all about the people. 

Join us in congratulating Josh Roy on being the NextHomie of the Month for July 2019!

Building your brand to last: a customer-centered approach

Building your brand to last: a customer-centered approach

Inman Connect invited NextHome’s CEO James Dwiggins on the main stage to share the story of NextHome and how we continue to strive every day to elevate the experience for real estate buyers and sellers. 

Branding is really about the experience and creating an emotional connection to the business. James explained that where people get branding wrong is they think it’s about the logo but it is not. It’s the entire experience from the minute a customer sees the logo, then working with an agent, and all the way to the end of a transaction and beyond.

An important component in understanding branding is to realize that the real estate industry is struggling for relevance with buyers and sellers. Customers are questioning the value proposition of brokers and agents including the rates that they charge.

“When we set out to create NextHome, we had a focus on creating a brand that was relevant for the customers themselves. It’s about what the buyers and sellers want from the experience,” explained James.

That is easier said than done in an industry that is myopically focused on what agents want or need. James and the NextHome team partnered with Pentagram, a prestigious design company in New York City, to research and study how to change the brand experience and create a connection.  

“For example, one of the things that we created was a really cute French Bulldog mascot named Luke that was designed to change the conversation,” elaborated James about NextHome’s friendly icon. “When a customer walks into an office, we want them to say ‘what’s up with the orange dog?’ because it sets a whole different tone and interaction from the very beginning.”

For James, branding should be viewed as a shift in focus from what real estate agents do to generating an interaction with customers that is distinctive. NextHome encourages agents to hand out a plush version of Luke to kids, who then take the little Frenchie through the entire buying or selling process.

The real estate industry, in James’s opinion, is awful at promoting branding as an experience for customers. He pointed out that if people look at some of the biggest brands in real estate, they will see 17,000 different versions of a company’s logo including versions with different colors. Without consistency, there is not a cohesive message about the company itself and people don’t make a connection to it all.

Maintaining consistency across a brand is not easy. NextHome makes sure that everything the team has worked so hard to create goes all the way through the brokers and agents to the customer without getting diluted.  

“We took a stance at the beginning of the company,” James confirmed, “about the minimum standards that we would do. Business cards, for example, come from one organization so agents can’t create their own at a local print shop.”

NextHome preserves the quality of their beautiful, rounded-edge cards, and while agents and brokers can customize some of it for autonomy and their own personal branding, it must tie back into the national brand. The same goes for all their products from stationary to yard signs.

“For us, we want to make sure that 3,500 members across the United States maintain the same level of professionalism out in the market whether it’s in Portland, Oregon or on Madison Ave in New York,” James explained.

NextHome stands behind that philosophy but they understand that it’s not for everyone.  They are clear about their expectations and what they do. If someone doesn’t want to be a part of it, then there are lots of other companies out there to work with.

“What we have found by maintaining our high branding standards,” James reported, “is that we are attracting a lot more professional people into our company. As a result, customers do not question what we are providing as a service because they don’t see mediocre material.”

The level of consistency doesn’t just stop at stationary and business cards but continues all the way through their business model. James remarked that the same amount of effort that an agent puts into listing a $500,000 home should also be made when listing a $100,000 home. Customers will notice the consistency of effort or lack thereof.  Consistency within your own personal brand is another component to creating that brand experience.  

In today’s world, real estate companies are either all about their agents or, like Zillow, customer-centered. In the end, it will be the companies that are focused on the needs of the customer that will win according to James. Listening to what the customers want is integral to long term success.

“Take yard signs as an example. Most real estate yard signs advertise the agent.  However, that’s not what customers want. Sellers want their house promoted while buyers want to know the pertinent details of the listing as they drive by,” James commented.

NextHome listened and designed their signs to display the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and garage spaces. The agent’s information is secondary. It’s a relatively simple concept but it has a very big impact on how a company is viewed by customers.

“The industry has to start shifting to a customer-focused model or entities like Zillow will continue to disrupt us and change the primary person a customer will talk to,” advised James about the direction the industry should be headed.

At the end of the day, NextHome measures their branding success in smiles. James doesn’t want NextHome to be a company that people use for only a period of time but instead, be a brand that people keep thinking about and connecting with long after the real estate transaction is complete.  

Great branding is about changing the real estate conversation to a customer-centric experience through the use of consistency and a little mascot called Luke.

Doing business the heart way: bridging humanity and technology

Doing business the heart way: bridging humanity and technology

The NextHome leadership team brought a touch of orange to Inman Connect this week. Tuesday’s sessions ended with an inspiring talk from NextHome’s Chief Strategy Officer Keith Robinson. No better way to wrap up Tech Connect than to bring it all back to the humans we serve every day.

Keith brought a bit of humanity back to the tech-focused seminars by reminding brokers and agents that the next step in the evolution of real estate agents isn’t robots. Tech Connect showcases lots of tech edge and content which is great on many levels but can feel threatening on others.

Keith focused on Zillow, Opendoor, and Amazon as examples of technology dimensions that encourage the idea that real estate agents are becoming extraneous to the residential real estate world. However, nothing can be farther from the truth.

He highlighted the data behind why fears of these entities are unfounded. Opendoor, for example, does 2/10th of 1% of all real estate transactions. Fear from such a market share just isn’t logical but the concern is real.  

“I get it,” remarked Keith. “When you lose a listing to Opendoor, it’s 100% of that listing. However, does the fear we have really equal the threat these companies potentially present? I don’t think so.”

With the augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence in the market today, it can feel like humans are irrelevant. Keith thoughtfully suggested that this is a real estate business, not a technology business. He encouraged agents and brokers to do what they do best – connect to people!

“We often forget about all the microtransactions and macro transactions that we have with human beings every day,” Keith noted about not only retail sales but real estate as well.  

He encouraged everyone to realize there are so many things that technology can’t do. For instance, it can’t give someone that first-time homeowner hug. Technology doesn’t make the real estate process personal.

“The intimacy and the connection while shepherding someone through their transaction just isn’t something that technology can do yet. Technology won’t be reviewing a 300-page inspection report for their buyer,” emphasized Keith.

Brokers and agents are in the business of helping people get what they really want out of life and out of their real estate. According to Keith, it’s all about the smiles, the genuine smiles that come from people helping people buy or sell their home. Technology simply won’t replace that.

“I love this industry. I love that we get to help people. We get to make those genuine moments happen for them. When we remember that and don’t lose sight of that, it won’t matter who partners with Amazon or what next ‘scary’ thing they are going to announce,” explained Keith about keeping the focus on the humans we serve.

Keith challenged his audience and the real estate world to put #humansoverhouses. It’s not about consumers but the human beings who are buying and selling homes. That’s what will resonate so tell their story.

Share on social media about the perseverance of that first time homebuyer that put in fifteen offers before they won. Spread the word about how selling a house helped a woman get exactly what she wanted out of life.

Keith supports that if brokers and agents remain focused on the human connection, there are no threats in the real estate industry. Technology then becomes something that supports the #humansoverhouses connection. He inspired the Inman Connect audience to tell the story of residential real estate and the humans involved.

“That’s how we can all win!” exclaimed Keith at the end of his presentation. Join Keith in promoting #humansoverhouses by sharing your stories of the humans that make real estate great.