The newness of Kelly Right Real Estate’s office near the intersection of Division Street and Isaacs Avenue belies the experience of its 20-odd agents.
Coming off a two-year anniversary in September, the office is a gathering of rental and sales agents who coalesced around a business model based on low overhead and a high degree of independence.
The low-key office, with a fireplace and comfortable furniture, has the feel of a lightly decorated living room, cozier than the size of the room and quieter than the urban location might imply.
Member agent Cheryl Husted said the changing realities of real estate representation makes the size and scope of an office less important than in the past.
“Everything we do is on the web or can be done on the web,” she said. “When we rented this place, it was so if we needed a place to visit with clients, we have it.”
The office has no receptionist, and the lower overhead frees up agents to make moves to close sales they might not have had the latitude to do in other arrangements.
The trade-off is that the lower overhead comes with less support in terms of a structured work week and certainty about sales leads.
Agent Greg Kelly, not related to Kelly Right founder Joe Kelly, said the practical application of that latitude allowed him to fund sewer line work needed to get a deal to the end zone, which was a win-win.
“Instead of feeling like just an engine, I can turn around and help people,” Kelly said.
Agents who gathered recently to talk shop noted the value of the city’s road work being done outside their offices, both on Isaacs and on the community as a whole.
“Anytime you have deferred maintenance and it’s repaired, it will be good for some time. ... I look at this road, and I say, ‘Awesome, progress.’” Husted said.
Like most real estate professionals, all of Kelly Right’s agents are independent business owners who support their own efforts with help from the central office and one another.
Agents noted the value of working in Walla Walla, where doing a good job pays off in word of mouth.
“It still has that hometown mentality that helps us a lot,” Kelly said.