In 2004, critics told Kevin Goodwin and John Thyne that “It can’t be done” and “You’ll never make it” when the two friends proposed opening a local high-quality, full-service real estate brokerage with attorneys, brokers and Relators representing buyers and sellers of commercial and residential real estate for a low (they say “fair”) commission of only 1.5 percent rather than the 5 percent to 6 percent commissions charged by most companies.
This fair commission business model drew instant criticism from competing real estate agents, but not from consumers, and the company took flight. Competitors called them “discount brokers” and filed disciplinary actions for false advertising, claiming the company could not possibly charge that low a commission for full-service representation, but Goodwin & Thyne Properties proved it really does charge only 1.5 percent to buyers or sellers.
Since then, Goodwin & Thyne Properties signs have popped up all around town and the company has sold more than $800 million worth of property while representing hundreds of buyers and sellers. This January, Goodwin & Thyne Properties Inc. celebrates its 10th anniversary. The company prides itself on delivering its promise that “We do more, and charge less.”
Their idea was a simple one: Increase the value proposition for clients and your business, whatever the industry, will succeed.
“People define value as quality divided by price,” the partners explain, “so we increased the quality of representation with highly educated professionals and lowered the price dramatically to create a super high value.”
But how does Goodwin & Thyne Properties charge only 1.5 percent when others charge as much as four times more?
“It’s easy to do but difficult for some to believe,” co-founder Kevin Goodwin said. “We intentionally take lower profits than we could.”
Thyne expands, saying, “Commissions are like Vegas poker chips. Many agents talk in percentages to keep you from seeing the real money involved. We simply don’t think it should cost $50,000 to $60,000 to sell a $1 million home in Santa Barbara.”
By offering clients a lower commission, Goodwin & Thyne Properties has been able to complete transactions that otherwise would not close. In addition to being mavericks of the real estate world, Goodwin and Thyne have contributed greatly to the local community this past decade by serving on a host of nonprofit boards, from Old Spanish Days to Catholic Charities, the Santa Barbara County Bar Foundation, Leadership Santa Barbara County, Families Act!, the University Club, parish counsels and a host of professional organizations. Both partners have been recognized as Best Realtor in town (Independent Magazine) and both Goodwin and Thyne were named a top “40 under 40” business executive (Pacific Coast Business Times).
Goodwin & Thyne Properties seems to have solidified its position as a real player in Santa Barbara’s real estate brokerage community, having sold over $105 million in properties last year. Now their signs sit in front of multimillion-dollar Montecito mansions as well as homes and condos from Goleta to Carpinteria and more.
As for the future, the company intends to continue its sustained success and growth by adding more agents.
“Many people assume that Realtors would not want to work for our company because the commissions are low,” Thyne said. “However, our agents tend to sell three times more than agents at other companies and they do not pay any desk fees or marketing expenses.”
“It is a great arrangement,” Goodwin added, “because the real estate agents can focus on buying and selling homes for their clients while we take care of promoting the agents’ careers.”
To learn more about Goodwin & Thyne Properties, visit its website by clicking here or call 805.899.1100.
— John Thyne is an attorney and broker for Goodwin & Thyne Properties.