As a 20-something, Seth O’Byrne was brewing coffee interning at a local RE/MAX. There, he absorbed how the agents in the brokerage built their business, and how they came into success—and, how fulfilled they were in their profession.
“I was seeing people not much older than I was who seemed happy, energized, and were bettering their own lives through real estate brokerage,” O’Byrne recalls. “I was spending quality time with REALTORS® who were out there really doing it.”
He got his license, but knew he needed support. So, 10 months into his career in real estate, he began building The O’Byrne Team.
“I quickly realized I did not do well on my own,” he says. “I wanted the camaraderie, the friendship, the inspiration, and I didn’t want to run around and sell houses all on my own. I wanted to have people around me, and I wanted to build a company.”
Today, The O’Byrne Team—affiliated with Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty—is a fixture in San Diego, where, according to O’Byrne, the local luxury market is primed to shift, but healthy “when priced right.”
“There’s a common agreement in San Diego that we, like any market that has ever existed, are going to start seeing corrections and start giving back some of this appreciation,” he explains. However, “we get so caught up in real estate as an investment in the long term. In the short term, people need a place to live.”
Aligned with this inherent need, The O’Byrne Team is all-in on “approachable luxury”—a differentiator that, in their market, has served them well.
“Our growth has a lot to do with our personalities,” O’Byrne says. “We have a unique value to our clients in that we’re a really approachable luxury brand.”
With the brand comes culture, which O’Byrne believes is the competitive factor for his team, and an important prerequisite for success.
“We formed our own culture inside of the real estate brokerage,” he says. “The one thing that’s most important for real estate teams, and that I attribute to the success we’ve been able to enjoy, is that we have our own internal company culture.”
Part of that is trust. O’Byrne markets the listings, but depends highly on the members of his team, which is comprised of five buyer’s agents and five staff.
“My team can run a $100 million-dollar sales organization without me,” he says. “They don’t, but it’s a testament to my people. I hire the best, and they’re better than me.”
Backed by this dream team, O’Byrne is able to focus on marketing listings via video—an area that combines his creativity and sales skills, and, by extension, has led to numerous opportunities, including an HGTV pilot. For many of the videos, he dials into Hollywood—actors and actresses, choreographers, directors, the works. The cost is steep, but to O’Byrne—who conceptualizes the videos, and contracts them out himself—the expense is well worth it. In 2018, The O’Byrne Team was awarded 13 times for its videos, including receiving two Telly Awards.
“We outspend on video production more than any team in America, and we do that for the client,” he says. “The reason we do this is we believe that media and exposure is the only way to sell real estate today—not print, not radio, not flyers, not open houses. All of that still has a space, but the reach is so vastly different when you actually understand how to use media and social media correctly.”
As for concepts, they cover the gamut, from fun and lighthearted to suggestive.
“We want to explore the idea of the home—not just the materials of the property, but the essence of it,” O’Byrne says. “If the property deserves it, we will spend whatever it takes financially to do the best job we can, and sometimes that means we profit less on deals.”
In addition to cinematic videos, O’Byrne is integrally involved in American Dream TV, a “by agents, for agents,” nationally syndicated show.
“It’s essentially a way for someone who doesn’t know us, from anywhere in the world, to feel like Seth O’Byrne is giving them a property tour of listings and speaking directly to them,” he explains. “Highly-produced video is great for dreaming, but for our most serious clients, these video walkthroughs with American Dream are a lot more effective, because we can help educate people as to who we are.”
Whichever format, and with the support of his team, O’Byrne has carved out a distinctive presence with video. For his clients, that equals high-level marketing and service—a powerful recipe for success.
“Everyone knows The O’Byrne Team is at the intersection of media and real estate,” he says. “That’s the best way we can describe what we bring to the marketplace. To the buyer, we bring expert knowledge in the neighborhood and the transactions. We have really embraced the new role of television media and social media as it relates to real estate.”
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.