For David Merrick, broker and Global Luxury Specialist in CB Bain's Vancouver, Washington office, success is all about relationships. And he has 25 years of industry achievements to back up the value of that strategy. As a gay realtor, David has taken advantage of his ability to assess people and his surroundings while working with clients, potential clients, and colleagues. He acknowledges occasional challenges, but declares he's faced very few professional obstacles based on his LGBTQ status.
"You may encounter awkward situations where a client may not be as accepting as you would like. It's ok to walk away from these situations. Professionally declining their business and referring them to a broker who may be a better fit is not only better for you, but for your business in the long term. It will also improve your chances of other brokers referring comparable clients to you."
David puts effective networking at the top of his list of best practices. He does this with memberships in multiple gay realtor organizations, such as NAGLREP (National Association of Gay/Lesbian Real Estate Professionals), the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance and the Real Pride Network. He cites the high value of these networks for acquiring, as well as sending out referrals; reciprocity builds relationships. "These groups also do a great deal of work in promoting causes with NAR (National Association of Realtors) and with federal and local governments to keep equality in the conversation in real estate and beyond."
These organizations have membership listings on their websites, which David claims are well worth the minimal membership fees. There are also other relatively inexpensive LGBTQ+ sites to help build name recognition, mainly for buyer/seller leads. Gayrealestate.com, Gay Real Estate Directory and GayRealtyNet.com are a few. David suggests there are certain feeder markets where it makes sense to run target Facebook ads, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago…you just need to know who you want to reach.
Born and raised in Southern California, David has lived in the San Francisco Bay area, New York, and Utah, but he now calls the Pacific Northwest home. He holds broker licenses in Washington and Oregon, lives and works in the Camas and Washougal area because of its "easy access to beautiful hiking trails and the Columbia River, amazing views of Mount Hood, and proximity to all the great restaurants, shopping, and nightlife that Portland has to offer."
David also uses the concept of networking with his clients. He learned early in his retail career to listen to customers and follow up by working diligently to match their needs and negotiate their best price whether buying or selling a property. He claims that getting to know his clients is the best part of his job, and he proves that by connecting them to their new communities. He's started hosting dinners and wine tastings for new homeowners to introduce them to members of their new community. "Several of my clients move into the area and don't know anyone, so helping them connect with others has proven beneficial and has been well received within my sphere!"
And he applies his eye for interior design and architecture to help clients visualize the possibilities in a home they're considering or to stage the home they're selling in a most appealing way. He also works with volunteer organizations in his community – Habitat for Humanity and the local food bank being his favorites. He says, "...it always feels good to 'give back' to the community that I work in."
Being a gay broker carries with it some special safety concerns. Realtors are easy targets, unfortunately, says David, "...as we often work alone at open houses and taking clients on property tours. So, it's always a good idea to know your surroundings and potential ways to get out of a home or property, if necessary." David says he doesn't always feel comfortable showing a property in a certain area, he makes sure he tells a trusted friend where he's going and when.
David's success as a broker draws on a comprehensive approach and a solid sense of his own talents. Here's what he has to say about it:
Be involved in local community and things will continue to grow as you get and stay connected.
Portland offers plenty of restaurants serving fantastic international dishes. Whether you're in search of a new favorite roll or you've never tried sushi before, join our brokers in celebrating International Sushi Day on Saturday, June 18 with a visit to one of these amazing Portland restaurants.