Make the Move - Jonathan and Yvette Boatwright

Learn the Story of Realty Austin and Why We Do What We Do

In this episode of Realty Austin's Make the Move™ video series, Jonathan and Yvette Boatwright share the story of how Realty Austin was born and the challenges along the way as they grew to become Austin's #1 independent brokerage. Learn what inspires Jonathan and Yvette to stay on top of the latest real estate technology and how they support their team of 300+ agents.

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Transcript from Jonathan & Yvette's Video

When you have something special to share, you want to share it with a lot of people. In June of 2004, we went on vacation. We were going sailing in the Caribbean. We thought can we really start a company and what would that take and what would that look like?

We were looking at different business models literally on the back of a napkin on the airplane. We had this great asset and this great website that we could build upon, that we could build systems to help agents automate their business to create a CRM, which nobody had at the time. And by September, we went into business together.

So we took that sailing trip, week of no technology, you know, no interruptions to plan things out and that’s where Realty Austin was born. We were literally working out of our living room at our house. We hired our first employee, who is still with us today, as our accountant.

We had two desks in the study, it was Jonathan, Penelope, and I. By the end of the year in 2004, we found an office on Bee Caves Road. It was 750 square feet. We were just a mom and pop shop.

If you were in the business in 2008 or 2009, then you remember the financial crisis and what that did to real estate sales. We were fortunate enough to get people that were moving from Phoenix and Las Vegas and California, and they wanted to find homes in Austin.

Our leads and our systems and our automated marketing helped us attract agents who just needed a little extra help to succeed in a harder market. While other brokers were pulling back their resources, we were pushing forward with ours.

In 2009, we made the conscious decision during our business planning that we were going to hang up our keypads and stop competing with our agents, and that was really a pivotal moment for us, because we literally grew 60 or 70 percent the next year. We doubled down at that time and we – the gamble paid off.

As an industry, we should all be striving to raise the bar and we should all be striving to hold real estate agents to a higher standard. The true professionals really want to work here, because they want someone to hold them to that higher standard.

One of my favorite sayings is, “Your vibe attracts your tribe”. The agents that we do attract are forward thinking. They’re carrying. They’re compassionate and they’re giving. Our big mantra is work hard, play hard, and give back, and we, as a company, truly do embody that. We’re fortunate to have agents and staff that really want to make an impact in the community.

We partner with a few organizations who have benefitted greatly from not only the generosity of the company, but the generosity of our agents. Who’ve given over a half a million dollars to these organizations in the last few years. People in Austin need a place to live, a safe place to live and, you know, the more that we can help that, the better off our city will be in the long run. So we think it’s really important. We just love Austin, so we want to take care of it.

I’m pretty much a geek at heart. I enjoy building great systems. The better systems I can build, the more efficient our agents can be and the more productive they are, and that’s what gets me out of bed. The agents see me as the little Realty Austin cheerleader. I want to see them succeed. I’m happy that they’re here and I think that they have a great feeling that I’ve got their back.

I think every real estate broker should look at their agents as their customer, and as long as our agents are happy, then their clients, their customers are happy and the whole company succeeds. We have great technology, we have great tools, we have lots of leads, but the secret sauce is the people, because all that stuff wouldn’t matter if we didn’t have the right people to help deliver it to our customers, who are our agents.

That’s just what makes Realty Austin tick.

We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and improving and iterating and just – you know, we just don’t really know how to stop or slow down. That’s not the way we’re wired, I guess. We don’t intend to go anywhere. We’re just going to keep trucking on.

What do I see in the future for Realty Austin? I guess what I could say is we’ll continue to stay on top of the latest technology to make sure nobody passes us by.


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