Realtor opens East Hills location; relocates own family from the 'burbs

Residential realtor Julie Grevengoed recently left a real estate agency in the suburbs to launch her own agency in the city of Grand Rapids; two weeks ago her family followed, moving to a home just a five-minute walk from her office. And Grevengoed, whose niche market is second time homebuyers with children, can now share her experience with clients looking to move up.
Grevengoed's new JGR Real Estate shares the new location at 975 Cherry SE with United Properties of West Michigan to keep overhead low for both firms. The companies renovated the 1,100-square-foot space above Pristine Glass Company, adding two private offices, two cubicles, a reception area and a conference room.

"My husband and I thought anyone who had kids had to live in the suburbs, so we went out to Forest Hills," Grevengoed says. "When I moved to my new office it made sense to be close to work, so we moved into a house near Mangiamo that we've been rehabbing for a couple of years. My kids are four and two and they've met all the little kids in the neighborhood already."

A second realtor, Dawn Longcore, joined Grevengoed's agency. Grevengoed aims to recruit other realtors over time.

"It seems like a bad time (to start a real estate business) because only about 20 percent of brokers are profitable, but maybe that's an opportunity, too," she says. "What can we do differently that could make us profitable where others aren't?"

United Properties' owner, Russ Vanden Toorn acts as the agency's broker until Grevengoed gets her license in a few weeks.  

"Property management, residential real estate and commercial real estate are all the same broker's license. It all goes hand-in-hand," Grevengoed says. "Hopefully all Russ's tenants will become buyers, and as the market gets better landlords will want to sell some of their properties."

Source: Julie Grevengoed, JGR Real Estate

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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