By John Grossi
What do you think of when you hear the word “Proper?”
Something done right? Sophisticated yet simple? Not cutting corners? An almost unattainable ideal? Something to strive for…
Proper Real Estate, strategically positioned inside the heart of its founder/owner/broker Jenny Pok’s hometown, centers the new brokerage right at the beginning of what could be a very far-reaching journey. Because if you take on an investment, project, or endeavor this big, and do everything, shall we say “properly” … your new venture is bound to grow.
And grow it will. Thanks to co-founder Paul Natividad, Pok’s equally-invested, responsible, and “proper” business partner.
Natividad and Pok have set out on an ambitious conquest - a conquest fueled by passion, experience, and purpose - to create the best real estate brokerage ever. As Pok creates, manages, and runs the most efficient, realtor-friendly brokerage imaginable, Natividad is documenting the blueprint, quantifying the wins, and partnering with organizations that will take Proper leaps and bounds beyond the normal scope of what a local brokerage can be.
Like most good things, Proper Real Estate’s official grand opening – in the Summer of 2022 - has already been years in the making. In fact, a majority of their unique and revolutionary business plan was already taking place at the previous real estate franchise for which Jenny Pok had become Broker of Record.
After decades of being a real estate agent in Long Beach, Pok was hired as broker to cultivate an agent-forward environment for a successful, well-respected, and forward-thinking local franchise owner.
Natividad and Pok first met and bonded through their shared admiration of that franchise owner. Natividad had left his lucrative corporate job to help grow a real estate vision in which he believed.
Fast-forward to 2021. Tragically, that local franchise owner - their shared mentor - passed away from an unforeseen accident.
Scrambling to piece together understanding, purpose, and (most importantly) taking care of their agents, Pok and Natividad quickly realized their career fates were intertwined. Driven by a passion to honor and build upon what their mentor had started, the two made a pact to go all-in. They had been putting the pieces together for years to build the perfect brokerage. In August of 2021, Proper Real Estate was officially born. As the pieces had already been cut, they fell into place quickly.
Agent Treatment Says Everything
How a brokerage treats its agents says a lot. The traditional practice is to supply agents with a number of basic amenities including a physical location, meeting rooms, and some marketing help. However, traditional brokerages by no means underestimate their own services, regularly collecting up to 20% of commissions, in addition to collecting monthly dues.
By contrast, discount brokerages take a significantly smaller cut from their agents; and also provide significantly less support.
Neither option sounds exactly … well, proper right?
At Proper, Pok and Natividad are trying something drastically different. With the help of shareholders and the investment arm of their firm (more on that later), Proper is able both to provide MORE support and amenities than traditional brokerages and to take LESS off the top than discount brokerages. Sounds like a dream, right? Yes! But even the Proper founders recognize there’s a right fit for everyone.
“This is still very much a referral-based brokerage,” explains Jenny Pok. “Agents refer like-minded, like-quality, honest and loyal agents. We don’t want the revolving-door type agent always looking for the hot new brokerage. We want the right type of people who want to grow at Proper.”
In fact, hard-working, quality agents are key to their business model. In any business, the idea of providing more and charging less than the industry standard seems like a bad idea. Jenny and Paul know that the right agents will use this brokerage to scale their business, thus making the brokerage profitable. Growth is key, and in addition to Proper only taking minimal fees so that agents can invest more back into their own business, every single amenity is offered by Proper so that their agents have every opportunity to grow.
“If you put in the work, you will grow,” said Natividad. “If agents take advantage of their value proposition, the agents will grow their business and Proper Real Estate will grow as well.”
Proper Real Estate’s In-House Amenities
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) - If a “proper” real estate agent should have it, Proper Real Estate provides it. The robust CINC PRO CRM software, which would cost an agent thousands of dollars, is provided free at Proper.
COACHING- Natividad’s long-term connections have granted Proper agents highly discounted access to one of the top “coaching platforms” in the industry. The Real Estate Mastery Coaching duo has trained over 10,000 successful agents with their unique program. The program provides both one-on-one coaching meetings and a software platform that leads agents through weekly tasks. Accountability is tracked through the software and agents actually receive a report card. The Proper discounted price for the coaching is a no-brainer and goes along with the theme… if you put in the work, growth will happen.
INVESTMENT ARM- You’ve never seen anything like this at a brokerage. A massive investing Master-Fund accessible only to Proper agents and their friends and families. Created and run by two highly respected investors and top-notch entrepreneurs (who also happen to be trusted friends and colleagues of Natividad), the Proper Master-Fund sets Proper apart from other brokerages in a big way. Agents not only have the ability to invest their money in the sort of fund often reserved for the ultra-wealthy and to invest in major diversified deals, but they also have the ability to use the fund’s capital.
ESCROW- Proper has its own in-house Escrow office consisting of two individuals who have been in the industry a long time and are now dedicated to helping the Proper team grow. In addition to great customer service and timely escrow services, the in-house escrow team piggy-backs on top of the coaching platform, providing their own monthly teachings and lessons so that Proper agents are up-to-date and knowledgeable about everything in the escrow world.
LENDING- The same goes with mortgage lending! Not only does Proper have an amazing partnership with the CEO of American Quest Mortgage (one of the largest privately owned mid-cap size lenders in California), but American Quest Mortgage is giving Proper its own in-house lender. This means that every day in the office, Proper agents have access to home loans and home loan information for their clients at their fingertips. Need to quickly pre-qualify a client for a house? Done. Have some specific questions about the lending industry for a client? The lender is on-site and ready to take a phone call or a meeting!
OTHER RELATIONSHIPS- Vendor relationships are of utmost importance for Pok and Natividad’s brokerage. The two owners screen their vendors vigorously and cultivate long-term partnerships that will benefit their agents. Things like marketing, social media and other resources are at Proper agents’ fingertips- all for the purpose of agent growth.
In addition to the tangible amenities that exist for the sole purpose of business growth, Proper’s office puts a major emphasis on culture. Starting with their ”Delos” certified office. Delos is an organization that designs workspaces and homes to optimize efficiency, aesthetic, and environmentally-friendly infrastructure as the leader in their space. In short, the Proper office is beautiful, clean and green. Its features are designed to complement human nature and bring out the best in productivity.
That means filtration systems, a sustainable, oxygenated green wall, and a circadian light pattern that is the most optimal light setting for human efficiency. It naturally adjusts during the times of day where humans crash and during the times of day humans are most efficient, to help stabilize the environment.
When fully completed, the Proper office will have a meditation/think tank area with a massage chair, spa music, scented oils, and a decompression chamber for agents and partners to chill, regroup, and rejuvenate. There is a gaming area as well and beer, wine, and shots always available for visitors!
Jenny Pok and Paul Natividad believe heavily in culture outside the office. The term “holistic,” as applied to their brokerage, means they want to be a resource to agents as business mentors, real estate partners, and humans. Team building events, community building events, and personal health are all part of the culture at Proper.
The final piece of culture at Proper is their philanthropy. Doing real estate proper means giving back from day one. Proper is cultivating partnerships with a number of charitable organizations and instills the importance of “giving back” in every one of their agents. Proper wants their name in the Long Beach community to be synonymous with that phrase, “giving back.”
Real Estate Done Proper
Proper Real Estate is already turning heads and has big plans for the future! To contact the brokerage or an agent at the brokerage you can visit their website at proper-re.com.
Follow Proper Real Estate on Instagram @proper_re!