With independent real estate brokerages being swallowed up right and left by big box brokerages, it may seem that independents must either get on the path to acquisition or be left behind. It doesn’t, say Liz Kroft, Lance Hulsey and Jamie Manley, founders of Sol Property Advisors in Santa Cruz County. There is another avenue for independent brokerage: strategic partnership.
Bet that big indie is the next big thing
Sol Property Advisors has forged such a partnership with Side, a venture capital-backed real estate technology company named Company of the Year by Inman at the Innovation Awards in October. But why would an award-winning brokerage and the most recently voted Best Times Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz County for 2021 want a partner? The tech space is changing rapidly and, as forward-thinking business owners, they saw an opportunity to keep their clients and agents at the forefront.
âLance and I love technology and improving the real estate industry, but we are also passionate about providing personalized service. We wanted to find a solution that would give us the tools and resources that are a challenge for brokerage firms to manage, and Side bridges that gap for us.
– Liz Kroft, co-founder and real estate agent at Sol Property Advisors
Say a harsh ‘no’ to the status quo
Independence is non-negotiable for Kroft, Hulsey, and Manley, all fiercely loyal to the local philosophy that defines Santa Cruz County. Side is not the owner, although it is the appointed broker of Sol Property Advisors. Instead, it handles the heavy lifting, providing proprietary technology and exclusive partnerships with third-party vendors that save agents an average of 62 days per year and support that gives them the ability to focus on what matters: serving their customers and supporting their community.
This is important to the founders, all motivated by the opportunity to have a positive impact on Santa Cruz County and its people. “Community involvement has always been a fundamental value for me” said Kroft, who was the membership director of Think Local First and volunteered for O’Neill Sea Odyssey, the Santa Cruz Yacht Club, and the Santa Cruz Harbor. Giving back is also part of the business. More recently, Sol Property Advisors has supported United Valley churches and everyday community heroes like frontline healthcare workers and teachers with their Heroes Housing Assistance Program.
Prioritize Santa Cruz County
âWe share Santa Cruz’s polite disregard for the big box lifestyle. Although we have received offers from the usual suspects, we have never wanted to sacrifice our brand or our family style way of doing business. It’s the heart of what we do.
– Lance Hulsey, co-founder and real estate agent at Sol Property Advisors
Kroft and Hulsey met in 2015 over lunch at Laili with a handshake and a mutual understanding that they wanted to run a business built on integrity and leave the real estate industry a better place for clients and agents. . Prior to founding Sol Property Advisors with Manley, the couple spent their early years working in NextSpace, the downtown co-working space where many accomplished Santa Cruz businesses got their start, including Looker. From the start, they were the first to embrace real estate technology, digital marketing, and anything that promised to streamline transactions or make the process easier for their clients.
As such, Kroft, Hulsey and Manley are the kind of leaders who always think 20 steps ahead. “We feel very lucky to have Side partner with us”, Hulsey continued. âThis partnership allows us to maintain our independent ownership, but with the technology and power of a venture-backed company that constantly innovates and establishes exclusive partnerships with emerging vendors and platforms.â
It’s only been a short time since their launch, but the founders are already stunned by the caliber of their colleagues – some of the best and brightest in the country – who, like them, are native Indians.
âThe technology and support we receive from Side allows us to deepen our efforts to help our clients achieve their real estate goals and to help our agents grow their businesses and live the lives they dream of. We look forward to collaborating and growing with other Side partners as we raise the industry together. “
– Jamie Manley, co-founder and real estate agent at Sol Property Advisors
To look forward
Above all, Sol Property Advisors looks to the future for its clients and agents. There will always be new technologies, systems, tools and resources to make the real estate experience more enjoyable and efficient. From the start, Kroft, Hulsey and Manley have been at the forefront of the industry, being efficient and working hard to create incredible experiences for their customers. This last movement consolidates their place there.
Originally posted on Santa Cruz Works.