Throughout my entire life I have been drawn to efficiency. While I enjoyed all of my Mathematics and Economics classes, my favorite class was Operations Research. A simple summary of Operations Research is that it uses mathematical algorithms to find the optimal solution to a complex problem. My love of efficiency and economics led me to consider getting my Doctorate, and I was accepted into the top ranked Economics Ph.D. program in America. However, after careful consideration, I decided that law school at U.C. Berkeley would better equip me for the entrepreneurial future I envisioned.
Because of my unique perspective, I am also acutely aware of inefficiency. During my time as an intellectual property attorney at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati, I saw little inefficiency in a law firm full of bright attorneys who specialized in one area of law and solely focused in their area of expertise. Conversely, when I entered the real estate market to purchase my own home, inefficiencies glared at me from every angle. While others might have become frustrated, I was inspired and then excited about the chance to improve and eventually optimize an entire industry. This vision has become my mission.
“First you master the game, then you change it.”
While the genesis and mission of DeLeon Realty was formed before I entered the real estate industry, I first wanted to fully understand the industry I sought to change. After nine successful years as an agent, culminating in being named the top agent in America by the Wall Street Journal, I took the entrepreneurial leap to form DeLeon Realty. Few would foolishly disrupt a business model that put them at the top, but I have always been motivated by more than monetary success.
Three tragic life events changed my perspective as a very young man. Having lost a loved one, overcome a nearly fatal hit-and-run accident by a drugged driver, and beaten cancer, I gained a heightened awareness of what matters in life. My goal now is to leave a positive legacy both personally and professionally, and with DeLeon Realty I hope to do just that.
Formed just three years ago, here are some of the innovative changes DeLeon Realty has made or is making to the existing model for buyers. Expect more innovations to come!
Buyers Team as Salaried Specialists
In most professional industries such as law or medicine, practitioners wisely specialize and focus on leveraging their expertise in a niche area. In real estate, however, most agents chase the deal and clients wherever they may be, with some agents selling property from San Jose to San Francisco. I never wanted to dilute my expertise, so I started in Palo Alto and slowly expanded my focus to nearby cities. Yet with the growth of my sales volume and territory I saw my local insight lessening. At DeLeon Realty, I crafted a model with the client in mind and the optimal result is the salaried specialist!
All of DeLeon Realty is on salary. There are no traditional, commission-based agents at DeLeon Realty, and there are no bonuses tied to sales volume. Thus, buyers do not have to be concerned about being pressured to buy a home, increase their price range or up their offer as our talented agents are on salary and their future raises are tied to clients’ positive experiences. This model provides for more candid and objective insight from the agent, and a higher degree of trust from the client.
Our agents are specialists and focus solely on their own city or neighborhood. For example at our company, one agent focuses solely on North Palo Alto, while another focuses solely on Midtown and South Palo Alto. By knowing their neighborhoods so well, our Specialists have a strong grasp on market value, and their honed analysis prevents our buyers from overpaying.
Knowing a narrow territory and focusing solely on buyers, our Specialists provide buyers with the depth of analysis they deserve and demand. By teaming up with a Specialist on each purchase, providing my insights on market trends and appreciation, and crafting a targeted offer, our buyers receive optimal insight and outcome. Plus, our unique salary system encourages collaboration, a key element that ensures deep cumulative knowledge of the whole area.
Striving to be the Google of Real Estate by Solving Our Clients’ Problems
I have great admiration for Google, which clearly is one of the most impressive and well-run companies on the planet. Google has done an exceptional job of identifying their employees’ problems and solving them by providing free meals, free transportation, and many others solutions.
I have also sought to identify my clients’ problems and solve them. We have employees whose job is to save clients both time and money, and these services are provided for free. We have a Construction Consultant on staff who assists buyers in assembling an excellent team of contractors to remodel homes, and then negotiate the cost down for our clients. Our buyers also get complimentary time with our accredited interior designer. Additionally, with over 10 law degrees in-house, we can help our clients identify legal issues when they arise. These services, all at no cost, help our clients successfully navigate the entire home buying and selling process with little stress and a lot of support.
Becoming the First Full-Service Real Estate Corporation
While there are several strong real estate companies in Silicon Valley, these companies are more of branding opportunities, where individual agents pay for the right to use the company’s name. The salespeople are independent contractors rather than actual employees. Thus, all marketing and other services are provided by the individual agents, resulting in a wide disparity in what services are rendered and usually are limited by the agent’s resources. In contrast, DeLeon Realty stands behind each home, with our expertise which include our multi-million dollar marketing budget, our 42 employees, and fleet of 13 vehicles and a plane.As DeLeon Realty continues to expand, we will utilize economies of scale to provide clients with an ever expanding suite of services.
Look for continued innovations in 2015. Building an optimized and highly efficient business model is the goal of DeLeon Realty, and I thank Silicon Valley home buyers and sellers for embracing these continued innovations.