Whether you are a buyer, seller, investor, or renter, Expert Properties has you covered! Employing a “high tech – high touch” approach, the company utilizes cutting edge technologies accompanied with personalized service.
Available seven days a week, ten hours a day, Expert Properties has solutions for all your real estate needs. Their vast knowledge and experience of every aspect of housing makes them uniquely qualified to help navigate all your housing decisions.
One client recently equated Expert Properties’ real estate versatility to that of a “Swiss Army knife,” stating they have the tools and services to handle every real estate need.
This month Expert Properties opened their new office in downtown Ashland. We spent the afternoon chatting with founder and owner Graham Farran.
Graham, I first want to congratulate you and your team on your new office in Ashland and the great growth of your company!
We’ve been working with clients in Ashland for more than 10 years so we’re excited to finally open an office here to serve them better. Ashland is a great market for us. We focus on selling and renting nicer properties, and you can’t get much nicer than Ashland. Having a local office is a great way for us to meet the needs of more customers here in Ashland.
To begin with, will you please tell us about Expert Properties? This is not your typical real estate company.
We are structured differently. We offer more services and we approach the market using both a high tech and a high touch strategy. We are one company. Everyone is an employee and we don’t hire independent contractors like all other real estate companies. All our employees work in their own area of expertise, and everyone is focused on the client. For example, when a client hires us to sell their home, they get a team to work with them. Our local broker will head the team and have at his/her disposal our stagers to stage the home, our marketing department to market the property, and our maintenance department to manage any pre-sale improvements or any repairs that come up in the home inspection.
What are the primary benefits to the customers when working with Expert Properties?
You guys pride yourself on the high-tech offerings of the company.
We are really good at using new and effective technology to market homes we are selling or renting. We have mastered the use of High Definition video, which you can see on our website. We use drones to fly over a property and film looking down, which gives the viewer a great view of the entire property. On rural properties we film more than just the home. We have filmed rivers, vineyards, outbuildings, and views. We edit the outside and the inside videos to one 3 -5 minute video tour of the home. It’s so convenient for buyers to sit at their desk or on their couch and fly over and through homes for sale. In addition to video, we post our listings to over 2,000 internet sites and mobile phone applications, and have a dominant presence online. We use a text-back system that allows buyers to get an instant text of the homes they are interested in, complete with photos and video, and we use email marketing to reach buyers from all over the world. Not all our marketing is high tech. We also do a lot of print advertising and direct mail. To improve our customer service and add efficiency, we use online document signing for sales and rental transactions, an online document management system, and online payment systems. All our tenants and owners have their own client portals so they can access their information at any time.
And you’ve still kept your feet on the ground with the “high touch.” Say more.
We use leading-edge technology to market homes for sale and rent but we believe in the personal touch. We have four professionals answering the phones from 9 to 5, so instead of getting a voicemail prompt, you get a live person on the phone who can answer all your questions. We also believe in working with clients at their convenience, not ours, so we show rental properties and homes for sale seven days a week and 10 hours a day. We have a “rapid deployment team” of realtors that can respond to multiple showing requests. On a Friday a few weeks ago, we had five potential buyers call us. Each was in front of a different home we have for sale. Because of our team approach, we were able to show all five homes on short notice. Our rapid response resulted in immediate sales of two of the five homes. We may use technology to attract our clients, but once we get them we believe in high touch personal service.
Graham, please talk about your furnished housing. This plays an important role to both buyers and sellers.
We have built a market for furnished rentals by catering to businesses that need to find short-term housing for their traveling employees, couples who are here to buy a home, as well as clients in the midst of a remodel. Our furnished rentals are all equipped with kitchens, Wi-Fi, TV and more. All you need to do is bring is your suitcase. Currently, clients have the option to stay in an Extended Stay Hotel along Interstate 5, or stay in one of our studios, cottages or homes in Ashland or Jacksonville. What would you choose? It works out beautifully! Buyers stay in our furnished rentals while we find them their dream home. Once we find their dream home, we coordinate the moving out of the rental with the closing of their new home.
Expert Properties goes above and beyond to promote Southern Oregon.
We really feel like we’re selling Southern Oregon and our job is to show its virtues and its variety. We advertise our “rent while buying” service in many tourist publications, so we attract a lot of families looking to relocate here. Our service starts by picking them up at the airport and showing them the valley, from Ashland to Applegate to Shady Cove. After what feels like a thousand miles in driving around the valley, we narrow down the locations they feel comfortable in and we find a home that works for them. We’ve answered the same questions about our valley enough times that we finally got smart and are now publishing “Discovering Southern Oregon” on our website. Here you can find fun activities to do in Southern Oregon, like wine tasting, hiking, biking, boating, rafting, shopping, theaters, snow sports, and more!
Please tell us about the investment opportunities you have to offer.
We are in a unique position of being experts in the furnished and unfurnished rental market, so we know how to get the greatest yield from a property. When we speak to an investor, we usually give them quotes on renting out the property as furnished or unfurnished.
How do you manage so many rental homes?
It’s all about processes. Working in the past for large companies, we have learned the key to their success was to implement a great process, train everyone on that process, and don’t deviate from that process. We start with aggressive advertising so we can attract a wide range of tenants. We screen them well through the use of four different databases of information, and we have an ironclad lease. We inform the neighbors that we are managing the home, and are open to their calls. We also have a great maintenance team and inspect the home often and do preventive maintenance. Last, and definitely not least, we communicate well with our owners.
I would love to hear more about the Expert Properties team.
Jason E. is our executive broker. Jason first moved to Ashland in 1993 and will be heading up our brand new Ashland location! Robert is our general manager and oversees all activity on both the sales side of the business, as well as the property management side. Robert was a captain in the Marine Corps for 22 years. Tracie oversees all of our escrows and makes sure that each transaction runs smoothly! Cindy is our listing coordinator; she collects all the data for each new listing, enters that information into various sites and helps the brokers with organizing showings with buyers. Johanna and Ronaka handle all the traffic on the property management side, as well as directing calls to our sales team. Jason B. is the head of our maintenance department, directing the tasks of our maintenance team and managing the maintenance requests. Wendi is in charge of all of our marketing, she is a great graphic designer and wordsmith. And Gayle does it all! She is our principal broker, a licensed contractor and has her degree in nursing. Aside from her duties as a principal broker, Gayle oversees all of our special projects like remodels and staging.
Graham, you have had over 14 years in the real estate industry. What are some situations that have occurred that have inspired you to do things differently?
I ended up in management for both John L. Scott and Keller Williams. I was training and managing real estate brokers. Being a real estate broker is really a hard job! Brokers are all independent contractors and have to be experienced in prospecting for business, staging, marketing homes, client relations, negotiating contracts, managing time lines, understanding home construction, real estate laws, and being an expert on our valley. They also need to be available ten hours a day, seven days a week. This experience made me think that there had to be a better way to structure a real estate company. So, we started Expert Properties. At Expert Properties everyone is an employee. We all work together; we all focus in our individual areas of expertise, so our clients get a team of experts.
In the home rental business I quickly learned the need for a better rental situation for those who would otherwise end up living in extended stay hotels. These hotels are usually located in a commercial district. You park in a parking lot, enter the stark building from a hallway, and have no outside yard. This isn’t a great way to live for six months, so we created our furnished rental program. Our program allows clients to live in the community with all the amenities of home for the same price or less than the cost of an extended stay hotel. You can even bring your dog!
Last but not least, do you have any additional thoughts or comments you might like to share with our readers?
Thank you for your support! At Expert Properties, we look forward to helping you wherever we can. We will be writing a monthly column in the LocalsGuide to answer all your real estate questions, and hopefully help educate people on important real estate issues.
116 Lithia Way, Suites D & E Ashland 97520
Sales: 541-899-7788 Rentals: 541-899-2030