When Creig Northrop first graduated from the University of Maryland in 1989, he owned a video store and met a lot of people, and quickly realized he had a knack for sales, and that selling $250,000 houses would generate a lot more income than selling the latest movies for $2.50 a pop.
His mother had already been in real estate for a long time, so it was a natural progression for Northrop to follow in the biz.
After more than three decades of success, in 2018, together with his wife Carla, he founded Northrop Realty, a brokerage focused on education, sales strategies and techniques. Today, Northrop Realty operates in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.
In addition, the couple created NorthropU, an internal continuing education program that teaches the “Northrop Way.”
How have your markets looked so far in 2023?
Creig Northrop: I’d say it’s a pro’s market. The inventory has been interesting because it’s the first time in history I’ve ever seen pent-up seller demand. And what I mean by that is sellers are just hesitant of moving from a 2% or 3% interest rate to a 7% interest rate. So, what we’re finding in our marketplaces is that people are just content where they are until the interest rates change. That limited inventory has definitely been a challenge. We’re diversified, though. The beach market has been fantastic. Our metro market got hit hard with the low inventory while the coastal market went skyrocketing. Inventory did turn over there a little bit more than the metro side. And Carolina is just booming because people are moving down there for price.
What strategies are you initiating to succeed as the real estate market resets from the boom during the pandemic years?
CN: Getting people back to the office and creating synergy. For real estate to never go out of existence, it requires humans. One of our biggest initiatives was bringing everybody back and when we did that, it started to feel normal.
Where do you stand on technology and bringing in the latest and greatest for your team?
CN: I think technology is very important for a couple of reasons. One, to keep in touch with your present clients, and more importantly, to keep in touch with your past clients. And there has to be a mechanism to stay in front of your future clients. Technology does that for you. What’s the best CRM? It’s the one you use. The issue is everlasting technology changes. We went right to the source of Salesforce, which is No. 1 in the United States, and we built it for real estate, and I think that move has kept us in the forefront of our technology.
What’s your growth strategy for the next year?
CN: Our growth strategy was first to get on top of the market and get back to where we were because it was a trying year. Now, for the next six months, we’re going to double whatever we did in the first six months. We’re building up our inventory. This week alone (ending July 28), was the best week of listings we’ve had over the last five years. We’re also looking to grow our individual agents and our team leaders, which we are. And from the outside, each one of our offices are looking for a few good men and women—full-time agents to really enhance what we’re already doing.
What do you look for in bringing in somebody to the firm?
CN: I look for someone that wants it—I can’t help someone who doesn’t want it first. It’s called enthusiasm. I can help, teach and grow, anyone that wants to do it and is willing to work for it. If you just think you’re going to get in here and, what I call, “inherit a million dollars;” it’s not going to happen. You have to work for it. If you do, our model will help you grow to where you want to go.
What is the strongest piece of advice you can offer your team to be successful?
CN: The strongest advice I would offer is “adversity exposes character.” My other advice is to “lose better than you win.” And what I mean by that is I think a lot of times we don’t realize that losing is a learning experience when we react. We cause ourselves to lose more business, rather than learning from it and making it better on the next one.
What is your firm’s unique value proposition in your market?
CN: We’re a full-service brokerage and that doesn’t exist anywhere else in our market at all. So we do everything for the agents so they can do everything for the buyer or seller.
VITALS: Northrop Realty
Years in business: 5
Size: 16 offices, 400 agents
Regions served: Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.
2022 sales volume: $2 billion
2022 transaction volume: 4,000