Ryan Ogle | Broker/Owner
Blu House Properties
Q: Why did you start your business?
A: I worked in real estate for 8 years under different brokerages not owned by me. It was time to finally own my own brokerage and do real estate differently. I wanted to bring a higher level of professionalism and customer service to the industry and I needed to own my brokerage in order to break the industry mold.
Q: What are some key factors or decisions that contributed to the success of your business?
A: We focused on our customers and only our customers. We didn't do much marketing to the public or the industry. We just treated our customers right, took great care of them and poured on the customer service to them even after their deal was closed with us. We call our sphere the Blu House Family. They get invites to client events, birthday cards, referral gifts,etc. As a result our business is 90% referral based.
Q: What are some challenging aspects of your business?
A: Honestly the biggest challenge is the incompetence of other realtors in the industry. It's a low bar of entry and most real estate transactions involve two agents. We usually represent one side of the transaction with either the buyer or the seller. Then you have another agent usually not from your office who represents the other side of the deal. If the other agent is incompetent or not as professional then it can go sideways quickly. To combat this we have done a few things. We train our agents and staff to go out of their way to be super courteous and helpful to other agents. We even train other agents if needed. This is all to insure that deal goes smoothly for the client we represent. Then we also give back with our time and expertise. We sit on boards & committees at the local Realtor Association so we can help raise the bar in the industry. The other biggest challenge in real estate right now is the disruption coming from consumer sites like Zillow, Trulia & Realtor.com. These sites are very consumer friendly and give a lot of information away that normally comes from an agent. So we embrace the new sites and technology changes to enhance our business service. We focus on transaction management and contract expertise where you still need an agent to handle that. A new, hot real estate website can’t fill out legal contracts for you correctly or negotiate for you.
Q: Do you feel you made any serious mistakes as you were starting or growing your business? Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
A: Yes, I would have hired more slowly and fired more quickly. I also would've given my sales staff the ability to grow much bigger in my circle. If I allowed my staff/agents to grow their circles and they are inside my circle, then my circle naturally grows bigger. This way your don't lose key staff/sales people who move on because there is no more ladder to climb at your organization.
Q: What other advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
A: Live life and enjoy it. Most sales jobs are a contact sport. You have to have conversations daily about your business or product. That will lead to sales. I just live life by joining charity boards, playing ball at the gym, volunteering at church and the kids' school, etc. All of these activities don't feel like work but I get leads from everyone of them. So that's my secret, don't say no, say yes to events and activities. Live life.
About Blu House Properties
We are local boutique real estate brokerage that offers residential, commercial and property management services in the West Michigan area. After opening in 2008 we quickly grew to a 10 agent team that now sells 200 homes a year and continually grows our Blu House Family sphere. We help enough people get what they want and in return we get what we want.
"We just treated our customers right, took great care of them and poured on the customer service to them even after their deal was closed with us."—Ryan Ogle