At JBGoodwin Realtors, 'you’re always getting help'
The coronavirus pandemic made the process of buying and selling a home more complicated.
But the nearly 500 agents and support staff at JBGoodwin Realtors say never-ending support from senior management helped them continue to do their jobs even in uncertain times. That support largely came in the form of incredible flexibility to get work done. “Whatever it takes” was the motto.
JBGoodwin Realtors ranks No. 1 among midsize employers in the American-Statesman’s 2021 Top Workplaces of Greater Austin project. Employers in the midsize category have between 150 and 499 employees. Workers are surveyed to determine company rankings.
JBGoodwin, which has made the Top Workplaces list for 11 consecutive years, has four local offices: in Northwest Austin on Steck Avenue; in Westlake on South Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360); in the Lake Travis area on RM 620 South; and in Williamson County on Interstate 35 North in Round Rock. There are also offices in the Hill Country, New Braunfels and San Antonio. “COVID-19 introduced a lot of puzzles,” said Wesley Steck, a Realtor working out of the Westlake location. “New construction, for example, seemed like it might be canceled so we had a lot of people who were concerned.”
But after some pivoting, new homes started sprouting up once again, much to the relief of homebuyers.
COVID-19 also changed the way many clients prefer to deal with agents, according to Crystal Hirst, who is based in Williamson County.
“COVID has been really hard for everyone in every industry,” Hirst said. “For Realtors, flexibility is key. A lot of people aren’t communicating in person right now. We have a lot of focus on helping people directly, so that was difficult at first. We’re not just some faceless person working over the phone or email.”
Realtor Christopher Kirk, based out of the Northwest Austin office, said he routinely would drop off masks or offer to pick up groceries for his clients.
“Everyone, including the lenders, has had to change their processes,” he said. “The beginning and end for me is, ‘How can I help?’ That means making calls to check on how clients are doing … everything really.”
All three agents say they were initially drawn to JBGoodwin because of its reputation, its people and its commitment to continuous training. Its history as a Texas-based company didn’t hurt either.
“From the beginning, I saw we had a very strong mentorship program,” Hirst said. “Agents and managers are in collaboration with each other. You’re always getting help from another agent.”
“I interviewed around town before making my decision,” Steck said. “Coming from the live music industry, I was really worried about becoming a sales robot. They put me at ease immediately.”
In particular, Steck points to JBGoodwin’s relocation team as a major asset to the firm.
“Technology has redefined the business, but we’re still offering that personal touch,” he said.
Kirk said he learned about JBGoodwin from an acquaintance and immediately wanted to join the firm.
“I had a friend who was a part of the leadership team,” he said. “I had that inside knowledge about how they run things. It’s a high-integrity place with consistency and experience. If you do what you say you’re going to do, you can’t fail.”
CEO J.B. Goodwin and President Buddy Schilling are approachable, Kirk said, and regularly check in with agents.
“I know how busy they are,” he said. “I’m not used to that level of interaction. They concentrate on what helps you win in this industry. The second I have a need, someone is there.”
As a firm that has been around nearly 50 years, JBGoodwin has seen a lot of growth in Austin and across Central Texas. During that time, it has handled more than $40 billion in real estate sales and leases, comprising more than 100,000 transactions, according to jbgoodwin.com.
The firm gives back to the community in a number of ways, including teaming up with the Salvation Army to serve Thanksgiving meals each year;,working with the Junior League of Austin on the annual Coats for Kids campaign that collects winter gear for needy children, giving thousands of meals to the Central Texas Food Bank; and soliciting blood donations for We Are Blood, Austin’s blood bank.
“JBGoodwin is a great place to start and a great place to stay,” said Steck, the Westlake-based agent. “That’s why I continue to stay. I think it would break my heart to ever leave.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Quotes from surveys completed by people who work at JBGoodwin:
"At JBGoodwin, we are like a family. People are friendly, quick to offer support and help each other."
"Each and every manager wants you to succeed. I get to help people and I’m not stuck in an office all day."
"Good people. Excellent training. Flexibility. I am proud to be a member of this caliber of organization."