Matt Robinson and Grant Ludwick first met in 2008 while serving as volunteers for Young Life, and were immediately struck by the similarities between them. Both had moved to the Central Oregon area in 2006, after Grant had graduated from Seattle Pacific University, and Matt the University of Washington. In addition to their commitment to volunteering, they shared a passion for the Washington Huskies and had both worked for their family businesses in the land and multi-family development sectors. Overall, they found that they shared similar values and perspectives on life and business.
"We feel like we're trendsetters in a way when it comes to the real estate team concept," said Matt. "While real estate teams are becoming more common, they don't always work out if the partnership is unequal, or if values don't align. We started as friends, so we knew each other well and knew that our individual production numbers were very similar each year, so we had confidence that we could succeed as a team."
And succeed they have. The Robinson-Ludwick team is on pace to finish the year with 120 closed transactions and $62,000,000 in volume, numbers that have exponentially increased year over year since they launched in 2013. The team has grown to five brokers and two administrative members.
The impact of a similarity in production numbers can't be overstated, said Grant. "Even before we launched the team, we were annually producing at about one deal apart, or around a $100,000 - $150,000 difference in sales volume," he laughed. "We've structured our partnership, along with a 50-50 expense split, in a way that keeps us incentivized to bring in business and hold each other accountable, and it's a major reason why it works."
By pooling their resources they've been able to do so much more than they could individually, and the team has a unique marketing approach. They have taken out television advertising spots, purchased a 1970 Fiat Minibus (a local car show award winner!), and regularly post their "Tuesday Tidbit" videos on their social media platforms, which range from book reviews to economic trends to local real estate news. But their overall success is primarily a result of a relational approach to all aspects of their business, both within the team and with their clients, which continues to bring them a steady stream of referrals and repeat business.
"We rebranded a couple of years ago and our slogan 'Honest. Real. Estate.' is a straightforward, yet creative way to express how we do business as a team." said Matt. Added Grant, "We are very straightforward with both our buyer and seller clients with what they can expect of this market, even if it is not exactly what they want to hear. It has helped us build a strong reputation and trust in the market."
Given Bend is still a relatively small community, this authentic approach has been vitally important. Current inventory on hand is at about two weeks, so setting expectations, especially with buyers, is critical.
"Compared to other western mountain towns, Bend is incredibly affordable," said Matt. "We both feel that Central Oregon still has great upside potential in the long-term, so we see the market continuing at this pace for a while," added Grant.
Brandon Fairbanks, principal managing broker of the office, raved about the team, "Matt and Grant and their team never cease to amaze me. They are one of the hardest working and most dedicated group of professionals I have had the pleasure to work with. They know how to get business done, putting their clients' needs first."