By Lauren Huber
HDR staff recently sat down with the Harrisonburg Homes Team, a group of six agents at Kline May Realty to chat about their new office space in downtown. The Harrisonburg Homes Team is the proud title sponsor of Renaissance Night, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance's annual fundraiser held on Saturday, May 17th at Capital Ale House.
Why did Harrisonburg Homes Team decide to open an office location in Downtown Harrisonburg?
Our team has grown significantly in the past few years, and one way to resolve the issue of tight office space in the main office was to move. Downtown was our first choice due to the location and growth of the area. We love the vibrant atmosphere, being in the middle of all the great events, and providing a space for local artists to display their beautiful works in our office, which is also dubbed the Wilson Downtown Gallery.
Entry of the Harrisonburg Homes Team downtown office space.
Can you tell us about the renovation process of the former Wilson Jewelers space? Were there any interesting stories or details revealed about the space or former business during the reno?
We basically gutted the space, leaving only the one brick wall exposed. Our vision was to have an open and attractive workspace that would allow us to host events as well. Hardwood floors, accent lighting, the exposed brick, bar, kitchenette, and high ceilings make the office equally functional and beautiful. We also included two conference rooms, a receptionist desk, and a back office that can be closed off during events. One cool feature we've added recently is our outdoor touch screen computer, which allows passersby to search for properties any time of day or night, without having to set foot inside.
View of the Harrisonburg Homes Team downtown office space.
Also, during the renovation process we discovered a wall covered in graffiti that dates back to the 1890s! Prior to completing our renovations, we had a professional photographer document all of the graffiti. You can read more (and see the photos) in this blog post by Old Sough High, one of our favorite local blogs.
It’s no secret that social media has changed the landscape of almost every industry. Tell us how the Harrisonburg Homes Team has fully embraced this technology and made it a part of your business plan.
We've definitely embraced social media because it allows us as real estate agents to be connected and involved with our current and potential clients. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Plus, we've got our blog, Harrisonblog, where we post about events, local businesses, real estate stats, news, and more. One of our favorite forms of communicating digitally with our spheres of influence, though, is our monthly email newsletter, "The Word on the Street," where we include a monthly roundup of recent local news bits, sweet local videos, business buzz, and events. We're often told how much our subscribers love it, and that its the only e-newsletter they actually read!
How has it changed the selling or buying process for clients?
We're much more accessible with our social media strategy in place, which makes it super easy for buyers and sellers to get a hold of us. Also, our website provides the capability for users to save their favorite properties, create customized searches, and get home valuations. Plus, having a "brick and mortar" office allows folks to stop in and see us face-to-face, whether they're visiting without appointment, or coming in to sign documents or discuss properties. Technology allows us to process transactions completely online from start to finish, but we really do enjoy spending time with our clients. We can proudly say that many of our clients become friends!
Pictured: Harrisonburg Homes Team (from left to right): Chris Rooker, Phil Updike, Jenny Burden, Zack Koops, Brant Suter, Lisa Oates and Cathi Beighe
What’s your favorite thing about working downtown?
Having the ability to walk out our front door and be within walking distance to a whole bunch of great restaurants! Everyone on our team loves food -- especially from restaurants that serve local and diverse ingredients. Downtown's got something to please any palate!