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|Articles - March 2013|
|Monday, February 25, 2013|
Page 1 of 2
BY LINDA BAKER
On a recent Tuesday morning, the Southeast Portland office of Living Room Realtors feels more like a Pearl District art gallery than, well, a real estate company. About 30 people are milling about a warehouse-style space featuring an open-cubicle environment, exposed brick walls and a collage series made of recycled packaging labels resembling brightly colored flowers.
The agency’s energetic vibe is more than skin deep, says Living Room’s owner, Jenelle Isaacson. “We are a stylish, optimistic, forward-looking company,” she says. Dressed in an elegant black pantsuit and boasting a mane of red hair, 36-year-old Isaacson presides over a fast-growing agency that almost tripled its sales volume last year.
The 5-year-old company is also turning real estate conventions on their head, eschewing traditional sales strategies that focus on high-performing agents in favor of triple-bottom-line business practices. Creative marketing revolves around people living and working in Portland’s signature neighborhoods.
At Living Room, there are no flyers featuring agents’ mugshots, Isaacson says. Nor do realtors participate in the Million Dollar Club, an industry tradition advertising how much money agents make. “No other profession does that,” says Isaacson. “It’s embarrassing.” Instead, Living Room’s culture, marketing and growth strategies revolve around a clear mission: “to develop vibrant communities.”
A longtime realtor and single mother of two young children, Isaacson founded Living Room in part because she wanted a more family-friendly work environment. She also wanted to create an agency that made sustainability a priority. At Living Room, all agents are Energy Trust-certified, biking is a preferred mode of transportation, and Isaacson is working to get the company certified as a B Corp, signifying social and environmentally responsible practices.
Carving out a visible neighborhood presence is the “third leg” of the Living Room stool, Isaacson says. Even as many agencies go virtual, Isaacson sought a tangible way to deepen her referral network. “I thought if we had a brick-and-mortar storefront, people would identify us as the neighborhood experts. I wanted that community presence.”
In 2011 Living Room’s sales volume was about $59 million; in 2012 that number jumped to about $167 million. There are 45 agents working for the company, up from 21 in 2012. That growth trajectory, of course, is due in part to the improving housing market, especially in the urban core neighborhoods serviced by Living Room. But the company’s collaborative environment also has an impact on the bottom line, Isaacson says. Working in real estate can be a lonely enterprise, with long hours and little sense of community. But at Living Room there are no private offices, agents share information freely, and weekly meetings are devoted to figuring out how agents can “best service clients as a team.”
Thursday, April 17, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER
The “polar vortex” of 2014 seems to have finally thawed and we believe this change in weather will bring more sunshine to the U.S. economy as well.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Kelly Dachtler, president of The Clymb, redefines outdoor retail.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY BRANDON SAWYER
A conversation about the event-planning industry with sales directors from McMenamins and the Portland Art Museum.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.
Friday, March 21, 2014
TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
During a recent talk to HR Directors, I asked if they saw leaders trying to solve every problem, instead of delegating to and empowering staff. Every head nodded. Every single one.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER
I don’t think anyone can (or should) remember what it was like to get things done without the internet. This milestone in technology has certainly benefited brick-and-mortar companies and subsequently launched a new era of businesses.
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