Today in Washington D.C. the CENTURY 21 Redwood team is celebrating the opening of their third office. We had the chance to sit down with co-founder and director of finance, Nick Pasquini, to ask him how the franchise got started, how he stays positive in the recovering housing market, and how some of the best art work in D.C. landed on the walls of his offices.
C21: How did you first get into real estate?
NP: I grew up in the construction business; my father is a concrete contractor. I went to Penn State and majored in real estate. After school my business partner, Eddie Berenbaum, recruited me to Northern Virginia to sell new homes for a builder.
C21: Rumor has it a trip to China inspired the name of your franchise. Can you tell us more about that?
NP: Eddie, Shawn, and I had decided that we were going to go into business together, but didn’t have a name. Before we started the grind of owning our own business Eddie and I traveled around the world and met up in China for a month. We were headed on a three day trek in Tiger Leaping Gorge and the morning of the first day Eddie turned to me and said “How about Redwood?” I looked at him and said, “I like it. It’s stable, but progressive. I think it fits us.”
C21: Do you remember your first sale?
NP: I do remember my first general brokerage sale. It was a first time buyer, a couple, and it was in the crazy days of the market. We lost out on three contracts before we were able to get one. I had to go the night that it came on the market and wrote the contract in Starbucks. We ratified the next morning.
C21: When you bought your first home, what made you fall in love it?
NP: I have to admit my first home purchase was all about the investment. I bought a five bedroom house when I was 25 years old and sold it a year later for a big profit. My second house was really the house that I loved. It was in Arlington, VA, just across from Georgetown. I renovated it from top to bottom. It was the first place that I truly made my own.
C21: You joined the CENTURY 21 System in 2006 and are about to open your third office, congratulations!
To what do you attribute this tremendous success?
NP: Hard work, a nose for business, and guts.
C21: What are you plans for the new office?
NP: Our new office is a neat place. It is in the heart of D.C.’s Dupont Circle. It is a historic brownstone built in 1890. We renovated it in a style that kept the old world charm, but put a modern technological spin on the design. We have iPad stations for agents and their clients to look at homes, we double the main level as an art gallery and lend it for various events. The theme is a progressive, professional place to work that is fun and an overall enjoyable place. It has a great energy!
C21: Your area of focus is our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. What makes this housing market unique?
NP: This is arguably the best market in the country. D.C. has undergone a revival over the last 10 years. The demographics of the city have gotten much younger and the development is hard to keep up with. There is relatively low unemployment and there is a new building, restaurant, bar, etc. popping up everywhere you look. All of this makes for a great place to live, work, and play.
C21: Many people live in Arlington, VA, but commute to D.C. Do you find your team is selling more in Arlington or D.C.?
NP: Currently, we are more established in Arlington, however we are growing more quickly in D.C. I would imagine that our DC business will eventually catch up to our Arlington business, but both markets are great!
C21: If I had only one day in D.C., what are the three things I must see/do?
NP: Walk the mall, eat some great international food, and check out one of the amazing art galleries.
C21: You are heavily involved with the local community, including displaying local artists’ work in your office. Tell us more.
NP: We started hanging art in our Arlington office five years ago. It has been a great way for us to get involved in the community and also have a sharp looking office. We typically have 60 day hangings where we give the artist an opportunity to have an opening where they can invite their friends/clients view their art. They typically have wine and cheese and some music at the shows. We also use it for our clients and agents to gather at a Redwood event that doesn’t involve work. It’s a nice break and a great morale booster.
C21: Name the three qualities necessary to succeed in real estate.
NP: A great communicator, a diligent work ethic and marketing sense.
C21: Our company mantra is “Smarter. Bolder. Faster.” How do you embody the mantra in your day-to-day work?
NP: I feel like we have been Smarter, Bolder, and Faster from day one. Starting and growing a real estate company in one of the most treacherous markets in the history of real estate doesn’t give you much room for error. Every day we set out to make our business better and more efficiently. We (the owners) are constantly meeting and planning the next move for our business. All of us have a commitment that isn’t just an everyday thing, it is an ongoing evolving every moment intensity.
C21: If you could give one piece of advice to a young person starting out in the real estate business, what would it be?
NP: Save your money in the good times and expand your market share in the tough times.