Katie Yeager planned all along to open her own business. She studied entrepreneurship at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., earning a business degree.
To get work experience, Yeager returned to this area and got her real estate license. Yeager went to work for Platinum Realty, pushing to sell as many houses as she could.
With nearly three years’ experience in the field and broker’s license, Yeager opened her own company in January – Your Future Address – using an idea she ran into while living in Massachusetss.
“I had flipped a house in Massachusetts in 2009,” Yeager said. “I didn’t want to pay the 6 percent to a Realtor … so I had a flat fee listing service and I found it great. I wanted to create something with exceptional service for an exceptional price.”
That idea is the basis for Your Future Address: Clients play a flat fee “but get all the services of a traditional realtor,” Yeager said.
“All of our fees are paid out at closing,” said Yeager, 26, “so we only get paid when the job is done.”
Working from an office in Overland Park’s Coporate Woods, Yeager and two associates handle all the listings. Currently, Your Future Address has 31 active listings. Year to date, Yeager said her company has just under $10 million in closed or pending sales
Q: What kinds of services do you offer?
“We provide assistance from contract to close, so if anyone has questions on what terms mean they can ask us,” Yeager said. “We’ll put them MLS as well as enhanced listings on Realtor.com and we’ll provide all the traditional out door signage, a virtual home tour on YouTube and traffic reports on action.”
The company will also schedule appointments with agents and provide feedback to the seller in terms of the listing price and when it might be wise to lower the figure.
“We represent both buyers and sellers,” said Yeager, “and many sellers use us when it’s time for them to buy.”
Your Future Address has listings throughout the metro area and has gone out as far as Garnett, Kan., and Smithville and Buckner on the Missouri side.
“We primarily focus on Johnson County,” she said. “That’s where most of our business has been. We go wherever people as us to.”
Q: Describe your philosophy?
“We understand phone calls don’t stop at 5 o’clock,” Yeager said. “You can contact us whenever you want to.… We’re empathetic with people going through this experience, and we can help guide them through the process.”
Yeager said by being a small company, she and her team can respond quickly to meet the client’s needs.
“A lot of people like the small dog in the fight and are drawn to an entreprenuerial company.”
Yeager has developed her own fee structure based on the list price of the home. She claims her company’s fees are less than those the typical residential real estate company charges.
“For a home listed at about $150,000, the total commission is less than 4 percent … but we still work it as a full-service listing for a flat fee,” she said. As the value of the house goes up, the fees come down. The fee schedule is outlined on the company’s web site.
Q: You claim to be able to sell homes for less cost to the seller-how?
“I’m a boot-strapping entrepreneuer,” Yeager said. “Because I am the broker, I’m in charge of our costs and keep them low. We’re not sacrificing for our clients.”
Q: Why don’t you do open houses?
“We did them for about six months and we sat twiddling our thumbs,” said Yeager, so they stopped doing them. “A serious buyer is going to call you or a listing agent to see the home.… Sellers usually don’t like them and they usually don’t work.”
Since opening her office in January, Yeager has kept a marathon pace. Her greatest challenge?
“I can’t turn it off,” she said. “I try to turn Katie Yeager CEO off and be Katie Yeager the person. I eat, sleep and breathe my business. If I sit down for a cup of coffee with someone the conversation usually turns to talking about work.”
Currently, Yeager is focusing on increasing the sales volume for Your Future Address in a cost-effective way.
“We hired a third person when we just couldn’t handle the business volume,” she said.
But Yeager is careful with how she approaches growth.
“Adding too many licenses too quickly may stop the momentum,” Yeager said. And she’s set a lofty goal for herself.
“I always said I wanted to be a millionaire by the time I’m 30, so I’m on my way.”