Compass shakes up Alexandria’s real estate market

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The Goodhart Group team (Courtesy the Goodhart Group)
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By Alexa Epitropoulos | aepitropoulos@alextimes.com

Compass has made waves since launching in the Alexandria market in June with top-selling real estate team The Goodhart Group as its founding partner.

Just two months later, Compass has a team of 15 Alexandria-based agents – many of whom were recruited from competing real estate firms in the city – working out of a temporary office space at Alx Community at 106 N. Lee St. in Old Town.

More growth and a permanent office space are in the works for Compass by the end of the year, Compass D.C. general manager Kim Harris said.

Compass was founded in 2012 in Manhattan and expanded into D.C. shortly after. Its leaders have long eyed Alexandria for expansion. Compass moved into neighboring Arlington in January.

 “Alexandria has been on our radar ever since we moved here,” Harris said. “It’s a historical gem. It has a thriving community. It gets attention as one of the best places to live, has a rich history, growing population, diversity. So, we always knew we wanted to be there, but we wanted to find the right partner, the right founding partner.”

Harris said the Goodhart Group, led by Sue Goodhart, Allison Goodhart DuShuttle and

Sue Goodhart (Courtesy the Goodhart Group)

Marty Goodhart, had a willingness to try new approaches that fit well with Compass’ tech focus. The Goodhart Group had long been part of McEnearney Associates.

“When we look at partners, particularly founding partners, we want a group or a team that believes in innovation,” Harris said. “We want people that understand and connect to our mission – not just from a business perspective, but from an emotional one.”

Harris said, since the team joined in June, they’ve made a mark.

“When you think about world-class professionals – within real estate and beyond – they are truly top-notch in terms of how they think, the way they innovate, the way they manage their team. They’ve exceeded every expectation,” Harris said.

In addition to the Goodhart Group, Holly Beville, the Jessica Richardson and Patricia Petkosek team, the MaryAshley Rhule and Helena Soprano team, as well as Jennifer Halm and Paul Pavot, have joined Compass in Alexandria. Compass has 18 listings in the city at the moment, including 14 properties for sale and four for rent, according to Harris. 

Compass recently surpassed 400 agents in the D.C. region, Harris said. The company is expanding into multiple markets with the same speed – 18 markets, from The Hamptons to Seattle to Los Angeles to Florida’s Gulf Coast, are listed on its website. Harris said the company seeks to use technology to give agents time to focus on relationships.

That technology includes a real estate platform, which uses analytics and marketing to help realtors make decisions, like when to list a property. It also uses a high-tech lawn “for sale” sign, that is being patented, with embedded information about each neighborhood.

“As we grow our business, our main strategy is to focus on people and do everything we can to elevate the experience of our agents, so they can serve their clients better,” Harris said.

Allison Goodhart DuShuttle, chief operating officer for the Goodhart Group, said she had been aware of Compass for years from attending Inman Connect real estate conferences and had been impressed by their marketing and overall philosophy.

“We had always been intrigued by them, but we weren’t necessarily planning on making a

Allison Goodhart (Courtesy the Goodhart Group)

move,” Goodhart DuShuttle said. “We sat down and talked with Robert Reffkin, the CEO of Compass, and when he laid out the future of Compass and the way the world was going, it blew us away, to be honest.”

Goodhart DuShuttle said Compass’ in-house advertising and design agency and its approach to technology stood out for them.

 “From an agent perspective, it makes life a little bit easier because agents are doing so many different things and we really want to be spending most of our time with clients,” she said. “They have the vision of embracing technology. … It’s out-of-the-box thinking. Real estate hasn’t been revolutionized in years and they’re [asking], in the world of Amazon and Alexa and Uber, how can we make things easier for the agent?”

Goodhart DuShuttle said the transition to Compass has been relatively easy.

“It’s been great. We were [at McEnearney] for a long time and we were very happy there. Obviously, we have nothing but good things to say about our experience there, but it’s been a very exciting transition. It’s just completely different,” she said.

Though Compass has recruited a number of heavy-hitters in Alexandria’s real estate industry, it’s the newcomer in a crowded real estate market. The city has an array of firms in addition to McEnearney and Compass, including Berkshire Hathaway, Weichert, Long & Foster, TTR Sotheby’s and Coldwell Banker, among others, competing for a finite number of properties.

Harris said, despite the competition, Compass has an edge.

“Our biggest differentiator is that we provide the technology, support and community to help our realtors grow their businesses,” Harris said.

“We’re remodeling and taking the old brokerage approach and putting a new spin on it.The average agent that joins Compass grows their business by 25 percent in their first year. We’re not resting on our laurels – we’re continuing to build new infrastructure and tech. … Our key differentiator is providing full-service, end-to-end support for our agents, so they can be empowered to do what they love.”

Looking ahead, Harris anticipates more developments in the coming months and years, including with the not-so-remote possibility that Amazon’s HQ2 will settle in Northern Virginia.

 “We’ve all been talking about Amazon potentially coming to Northern Virginia and what impact that could have on Alexandria,” Harris said. “… I think this is an exciting time. We’re on this new frontier of development.”

She’s also optimistic about Compass’ future in Alexandria, and said the group is actively seeking opportunities to work with developers to grow the city.

“Alexandria over the last 12 months has had about $4 billion in real estate volume. We’re seeing increases in median home sales of about seven percent,” Harris said. “Our goal is really to support that growth and to help Alexandria really, really take real estate to the next level.” 

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