October 2006. As the pin pricks of reality were puncturing the Southern California real estate market, Surterre Properties launched with a desire to provide a full service, progressive, environmentally conscious brokerage with a team player environment for the luxury market.
That desire has now, four years later, blossomed into a serious company providing sought after services by both buyers and sellers as well as for real estate agents seeking something truly unique that extends beyond the mere platitudes of typical brokerage rhetoric.
But all was not rosy at the onset.
Launching during a market decline and targeting the one segment of the market affected most – the luxury end – presented both extreme challenges and fabulous opportunities. “The obvious challenge was stimulating profit and growth in a flagging market, which we were able to do thanks to our innovative platform which attracted both agents and clients,” Gary explained. “Our platform is based on a three-fold commitment to our valued clients, to our accomplished agents, and to our community. We deliver on this three-faceted commitment by offering: unparalleled support and tools to our top agent talent; an unsurpassed team environment; breakthrough marketing and branding; and company-wide green/eco initiatives that all positively impact our clients and the communities we serve. The proof of our approach is our success.”
That success is deeply apparent. Not yet four years in business, Surterre Properties has grown to 240+ agents in two offices and are on track to do $1 billion in luxury real estate business in 2010.
Their agents are not run of the real estate mill by any stretch. They are people who don’t roll their eyes at innovation, or fold their arms in defiance over technology. These people are savvy, seasoned, and above all else, understand how to deliver service in the manner by which their clientele are accustomed.
The engine running the firm is made of the following cylinders: Microsoft Exchange 2010, which runs their email platform; SQL 2005 for their Database Platform; and Sharepoint which runs their Intranet. Inner-office communications are managed by Microsoft Communicator for IM, VoIP/ Unified Communications for their phone systems and MPLS Networks – Cloud Connectivity for their Office connectivity.
Regarding SEO, Surterre has integrated an aggressive internet advertising program that includes the launch of a powerful new website, listing syndication & paid enhancements on real estate search websites worldwide, pay-per-click advertising on major search engines, consistent SEO efforts to improve search rankings of their website, social media marketing, and GPS-based mobile applications for all handheld phones.
The firm markets itself through referrals “by utilizing the unparalleled talents of our agents and understanding the highly specialized needs of the world’s most sophisticated clientele,” Gary said. “In addition to our aggressive internet marketing program, we include a broad mix of traditional print advertising created in our full service, in-house advertising agency.
Is it working? Their unrivaled market share that stems from their defining characteristics, commitment to preserving the environment and a belief in innovative client service speaks for itself.
Success can be described many ways. For Surterre, their greatest success story to date is their growth during the most challenging residential real estate market in history, located in one of the worst hit locations-the luxury market in Orange County, California. A feat that Gary clearly attributes to the collection of the finest agents in the marketplace who have seamlessly merged their ideologies, skills, talents and efforts with Surterre’s aggressive eco-initiatives and vision.