In 2015, Geoffrey Bray and Lindsay Bacigalupo partnered to establish Engel & Völkers Minneapolis Downtown, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based brokerage, with Bray serving as the firm’s managing broker. Since its inception, the Minneapolis/St. Paul market has been strong.
“Some would consider 2016 a seller’s market, and that continues to be the theme in 2017,” says Bray. “However, as we all know, with historic low interest rates, it’s still a great time to buy. One of the biggest reasons our business has grown over the past year is because we hire great people who want to help great people. We do everything in our power to make sure that if there’s a home out there that one of our clients wants, we’re one of the first people in the door so that our hat gets put in the ring. With less than half the inventory on the market than there should be, swift and professional action goes a long way.”
As a relatively new company, the firm isn’t looking to expand simply for the sake of expanding. With plans in place to grow by advisor count and possibly opening a few more shops in 2017, Bray notes this will only happen if they find the right people who want to take a step forward in their career.
“Our culture and our people are what matter most to us. If we’re taking care of them, they’re taking care of the clients,” says Bray. “One misstep in hiring an agent that doesn’t understand that they’re part of something special here could set us back a long way.”
The Engel & Völkers Minneapolis Downtown way is different than other firms out there, as it’s part of an international brand that’s more than just houses, yachts and planes.
“We’re connected to some of the best real estate advisors in the world, and the relationships we form with them are invaluable,” says Bray. “We choose not to spend our marketing dollars on billboards or radio ads because that isn’t focused on our current clients who have already chosen to work with us. We like to tie our marketing dollars to experiences and events.”
For example, this summer, the firm is sponsoring a music festival featuring artists such as the Goo Goo Dolls and Phillip Phillips. Clients will be invited to the event, with the belief that this will lead to more business.
On a simple level, it’s one of the only companies in the market that requires professional photography on every single home it lists, no matter the price point. On a larger level, they now offer virtual reality on every listing.
“We keep the bar high. We don’t think we’re better than anyone else in any way. We simply think that as a company, we can try to do this job better than anyone else,” says Bray. “Engel & Völkers has a lot of gusto behind its three core values of competence, passion and exclusivity, and we hold that last one in high regard. We aren’t for everybody, and that’s okay with us. But for those professionals that get us, it’s the perfect fit. We’ll go to battle with and for our people, and do everything in our power to make them successful.”
Vitals: Engel & Völkers Minneapolis Downtown
Years in Business: 2
Size: 3 shops, 45 advisors, 6 staff
Regions Served: Minneapolis/St. Paul and all surrounding suburbs
2016 Sales Volume: $ 120 million
2016 Transactions: 410
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