Names: Grant Ludwick, Matt Robinson and Nick Wilhite
Title: Ludwick and Robinson are managing partners of The Agency Bend while all three serve as principal brokers
Experience: Ludwick and Robinson have 15 years of experience each while Wilhite has seven
Location: Bend, Oregon
Brokerage name: The Agency Bend
Rankings: Top small team in Oregon
Team size: 5 brokers, 2 admins
Transaction sides: 766
Sales volume: $420,485,077
How did you get your start in real estate?
When I moved to Bend, Oregon, I began in property management, but soon after transitioned to real estate sales. I was mentored by a fantastic leader, Lawane Hunter, who has owned several real estate offices in Oregon and California.
My first year in real estate coincided with the beginnings of the Great Recession, which was a challenge, but it forced me to learn good habits, and my sales volume has increased year over year since my first year.
Robinson: I moved to Central Oregon in 2006 to work for a development company, shortly after graduating college at the University of Washington. We had various projects, from industrial complexes to residential subdivisions to condo towers in Couer d’Alene. When the market came crashing down in 2008, my boss committed suicide, and I spent over two years negotiating with seven different lenders.
Wilhite: I was fortunate enough to purchase a home shortly after college and became fascinated with everything real estate. I quickly realized how important real estate is to building long-term wealth and how important these decisions are.
Having an advocate and trusted partner in real estate transactions is crucial. I wanted to be that guy. In late 2015 a friend encouraged me to get my license, and I have been hooked ever since.
What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?
Ludwick: Real estate is the biggest investment/asset that most people will own in their lives. As a real estate broker, you are more than just a salesperson. You often turn into a counselor, a concierge and a cheerleader all wrapped into one person. Relationship skills are of the utmost importance.
Robinson: Many folks believe that a Realtor’s occupation is very flexible, low stress and just opening up homes for showings. Those who’ve found success in the industry know that’s very far from the truth.
In reality, our profession requires a full-time commitment, often outside of your typical 9-to-5 work hours, in addition to skills in trust/relationship building, organization, legal knowledge, negotiation skills, marketing and more. For those at the highest level, professional Realtors are similar in value and expertise to your attorneys, accountants and financial advisors, but often don’t get the level of respect that people in those industries receive.
What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Ludwick: I wish that I knew more about city government. City codes and zoning laws play a huge role in real estate, and a Realtor who knows how to navigate and interpret the city codes is extremely valuable.
What’s your top prediction for 2023?
Ludwick: The market in Bend, Oregon, will likely continue to slide downward another 5 percent to 7 percent, but the high end will remain strong, and we will set records for the highest-priced homes.
What makes a good leader?
Ludwick: A good leader is focused on serving others. A leader cares about the growth and accomplishments of those around them and uses personal achievement to inspire and uplift others.
Tell us about an epic fail you’ve experienced since you’ve been a broker.
Robinson: Back in about 2013, I had a large investment property listed for sale that was owned by Drew Bledsoe, the famous NFL quarterback. A successful sale would have resulted in a high likelihood of listing his primary residence for around $13 million. I worked my buns off, doing everything I could to market the property in creative and impactful ways.
The tenants were very difficult to work around, but we had many showings during our listing period. However, the listing ended up expiring without a sale, only to sell a couple of years later with a different Realtor and brokerage, who also listed and sold his luxury primary residence.
I kicked myself for years, but have since learned that luck and timing play a role in many facets of life, including selling real estate. The end result was not a product of anything I did or didn’t do, but strictly a result of market conditions and timing.
Wilhite: Some things are just out of your control. Be okay with that.
Early in my career, I had a client forfeit earnest money. It was a week before closing and my client had a job transfer. According to the contract, the seller legally was able to keep the EM and they did exactly that.
Most times the seller would understand the extenuating circumstances and do the right thing, but it did not go down that way. Of course, I did everything in my power for our client, but it did not work. My client understood, but it still was a tough situation.
What’s one thing you wish every agent knew?
Robinson: Honesty, transparency and communication make for the smoothest transactions.
Tell us about a high point in your brokerage career.
Wilhite: 2021 was the year. For most Realtors, 2021, was bananas (in a good way). I was able to serve over 20 families that year and sold over $20 million personally.
What’s your top tip for freshly licensed brokers?
Wilhite: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lean on your mentor; no questions are bad questions. Clients need to be served honestly and to the best of your ability. Real estate transactions are often the biggest financial decisions of their lives. It needs to be done right.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help immediately. Call or text 988 to reach the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.