Sarah D’Avignon is a Portland Redfin listing agent with a passion for people. Sarah is a true team player with a great attitude and excitement for the client-focused model of real estate. Her enthusiasm for technology has given her a leg up over traditional agents and made her transition to Redfin a very natural one. We sat down to chat with Sarah about her experience at Redfin and which Redfin values speak most to her.
How did you first hear about Redfin, and what brought you here?
I think the biggest push for me to come to Redfin was my general frustration with being a traditional agent. I was a pretty hard-core lead generator, which led me to feel kind of burned out. It was also cutting into the energy I needed to give my current clients. That traditional approach is kind of a broken model, in a way. It’s not entirely client-first, which bothered me.
How has the transition been for you, coming from a traditional brokerage to Redfin’s client-first model?
I generally lean heavily on technology. I was told that Redfin’s internal system, Agent Tools, would be hardest thing for me to learn, but once I did, it would all be fine. I felt like I was immediately comfortable with Agent Tools, and it made my job easier to have checklists and systems.
When I started at Redfin, I took over an agent’s entire pipeline and listings when she left the company. So after bootcamp I had 20 listings immediately, and there’s no way I could have done that without the system to help me check things off. Everything was systemized, and my assistants were on point at the drop of a hat and could answer my calls when I was still learning the process.
Currently I have about 10 listings at different stages. Having everything so systemized frees me up to say, “Okay, the basics are taken care of. Now I can go the extra mile to wow my clients.” I love that. It allows me to meet my clients where they are. Some people are very knowledgeable about the process, and others are totally new to it.
Sometimes when people hire a real estate agent, they’re not entirely certain that they made the best decision. But at Redfin, having this magnificent team taking care of them, staying on top of things and scheduling events and appointments, instills a sense of trust and makes the transactions better.
Is there anything else that’s unique about Redfin to you?
I think there are a couple things. Number one is our expectation to wow our clients and put customer service at the forefront of every action we take, which is refreshing. At previous brokerages, it seemed like the focus was on the bottom line and making sure you cap. If my focus is on my bottom line, then it isn’t on a sustainable part of this business. The customer service is where you earn your repeat and referral business, so if your focus is on the paycheck, you’re missing it.
At Redfin, it’s liberating to be able to give of yourself and know that your company is taking care of you, so you can take care of your clients.
What’s it like working on a team at Redfin?
When I was a traditional agent, I did have a transaction coordinator for a while, but she was more of a marketing coordinator. She was awesome, but at Redfin, having one person who helps with marketing and a whole other team that helps with the rest — I just couldn’t do this without my team, literally.
My marketing assistant is now on maternity leave, so the team at the Chicago hub bends over backward, not just trying to make me happy, but ultimately trying to make our clients happy. They’re there for me when I’m driving around and have to ask them, “Hey, can you pop into the MLS and change this thing? Because I don’t have time, and I won’t have time until I’m back at my computer tonight at nine o’clock.” Having these people who are always ready to go above and beyond is so awesome. The photos are fantastic and the listings are sold. Everybody does their job, and everybody sweeps the floors.
I love my team, and I would never want to be without them. They make my job super enjoyable. You build up trust with your team, and it makes it so relational. I’ve never even met these people in person, but we’re actually a cohesive team, caring about each other. They’re a huge reason why I love my job.
Even with management, if I run into bumps along the way and call my manager, he’s completely supportive, on my side, covering my back and coaching me through difficult situations. Up and down I feel totally supported, and it’s so refreshing.
Is there a Redfin value that really stands out to you?
For me, they’re all individually so important. I couldn’t choose just one, because given the individual challenges of each day, you tend to lean into one or another. Last week I had some challenges where we were really leaning on ‘wow’ and making sure our clients were wowed.
We were running into some “Why are we doing this the way that we’re doing this?” kind of questions, and it came down to our values. It’s our corporate value to wow our clients; that’s what we want to do.
Day to day, being honorable and humble is in my pocket all the time. I don’t know every client or every coworker’s individual story. I’m coming from a place of curiosity and knowing that every single person has something to teach me. Even if there’s an unhappy client, there’s a reason. It’s not fair to approach that with oppositional feelings. Instead, I think you learn a lot more if you ask, “What’s the lesson here? What is my takeaway? I can’t just sit here and defend myself, because that’s not going to help me, or them.”
If you’ve messed up, own it. With every single client it’s really important to remain humble and honorable. That’s a huge one.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I feel like the Redfin values are great values for work, but they’re also great values period. I don’t think they should be limited to your working environment. I mean, who are you if you’re not genuine, right? They’re words to live by. If I were hiring somebody and these were their personal and professional values, that would thrill me.
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