Geiger Real Estate Group, Inc.
"I've always wanted to go out on my own," said Jason Geiger, 33, owner of a new real estate company in Dane County. But now? When the housing market is arguably at its worst point in history? When the very idea of another real estate company in a highly competitive market might seem futile? Not so much, according to Geiger, who started the Geiger Real Estate Group, Inc. on Nov. 1.
"The economy didn't have anything to do with this company," Geiger insisted. "I would have started it anyway." In fact, he believes the economy created a better environment in which to do business. "People need something different," he said.
Geiger said his company's approach offers an alternative in the market because the full-service realty company is entirely Internet-based, with four separate and distinct URLs targeting people looking for homes, lake properties, condos, and land. While buyers search the Internet for properties, Geiger's kept his overhead low by working from home. "A lot of companies put a lot of money into brick and mortar, and now they're scrambling," he said. "We're focusing on putting our money in the Web."
It's all about lead generation, he said. "Instead of focusing on how to get one to two more people through an open house, we focus on getting hundreds more customers online."
Geiger has 10 years of real estate experience behind him, having worked – and learned – at both Stark Company and later, Bunbury & Associates. Since January, his new company has closed on six transactions and, as of this writing, has a dozen properties and "a couple of subdivisions for sale."
The company was funded entirely from Geiger's personal savings, including $20,000 spent mostly on website and start-up costs. Over the next five years, he plans to spend about $100,000 on Web improvements and maintenance. Yet, success is not all about the latest and greatest technology, he insisted. "It's best to keep things simple. A lot of users are out there navigating. We don't need a lot of flash, or bells and whistles. Just a website that provides people with what they want."
Perhaps Geiger's mantra is to do things differently. Besides being in tune with the Internet and the world of social-media and Facebook, his company also offers four distinct marketing packages, starting at 4.5% commission.
"I'm a guy that likes options," he said, "and not all homes need the same level of marketing." For example, a 4.5% commission package includes a listing on the Web, but does not include open houses or print mail pieces.
The idea seems to be generating interest. Geiger said he's reaching a host of young buyers, including college students who might be transitioning from college to a more permanent living arrangement.
Long-term, Geiger intends to be smart about the company's growth. "Large companies often lose consistency from one agent to the next," he explained. "I want a consistent level of customer service." He'll ensure that, he said, by hiring about two agents a year and handling trainings himself.
With one full-time real estate agent on staff (an independent contractor), Geiger hopes to achieve $7 million in sales this year.
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