Brand Studio
sponsored by:
The Grubb Co.

Bespoke Agency The Grubb Company Excels with Specialized Client-First Model

Pictured: CEO and owner D.J. Grubb
Pictured: CEO and owner D.J. Grubb

It seems as though everything old is new again, given the retro revival in fashion, music and food. Yet real estate agency The Grubb Company has known that all along. In fact, CEO and owner D.J. Grubb attributes his firm’s longevity to the fact that they have never strayed from a dedication to service and strong values. 

Today, while they have evolved to meet today’s modern real estate needs, they continue to build on a 50+ year reputation in their micro market in the East Bay of California, serving a well-defined clientele. Concentrating on this enclave, which spans a radius of just 10 miles, makes them experts in a way no other brokerage can claim. “We are specifically a high-end retail residential brokerage, who can share with clients our intimacy of this area. It’s a different experience than they’ll get anywhere else,” Grubb says.

A community-centric niche brings success

From its high-touch service to its endearingly old-school marketing, the Grubb Company has a laser focus on delivering on its clients’ expectations. Grubb believes his main point of differentiation is his recognition that real estate is a sales and service business, not a “technology” business as the majority of his competitors describe themselves today.

“The industry has sold Wall Street on the notion that this is a technology industry, but it’s not. It’s a relationship business,” he says. “My competitor talks about their strengths, they emphasize technology and AI. I talk a little about that since we have the capabilities customers need, but that’s not what clients ultimately care about,” he says. Instead, he draws out stories from his sellers about raising their families in their home so he can articulate that to the buyer coming in. “I’m selling a human experience.”

This sales- and service-oriented ethos is more important than ever today, he says. As home sales exploded during the pandemic, much of the industry functioned as order takers, which meant that almost any real estate agent could do the job. But that’s all changed as clients realize the importance of market intelligence, especially when prices and conditions shift on a weekly basis.

His clients appreciate the high-touch service he provides and the specialization he offers. “I’m not a property manager or a commercial broker and I don’t handle apartments. I don’t want to be everything to everybody. My value is that I know the architecture, the history of the house. We have three fully staffed offices in our community where people can walk in to talk to us, and our agents are their neighbors,” he says, adding that this model has survived the community well for 56 years.

While he acknowledges the approach isn’t for everyone – some people just want their house sold quickly without hand-holding – the customers who welcome his bespoke service return over and over, which is why he serves many families who have worked with him for generations.

“Who doesn’t like somebody to pay a lot of attention to them and deliver open, honest, service? We all want that at the end of the day,” he says.

Brady Thomas, senior mortgage advisor at La Salle Mortgage in Oakland concurs. “As a real estate professional and business owner, I prioritize honesty and commitment over all else. D.J. Grubb is the embodiment of both of these qualities. Having excelled as a real estate agent and broker/owner, he understands the Bay Area market and brings all that experience into each deal. I can’t speak highly enough about his approach to the business and the results that have followed,” he says.

New agents revel in career growth opportunities 

It’s also a model that appeals to a certain type of real estate agent, which explains the firm’s longevity, with many agents working with them for 30 years or more. “The agents that have worked under him (some for multiple decades) are the most amazing testament to his legacy – appreciative and loyal,” Thomas says.

Grubb also finds his approach appeals to newer agents, who crave the training and guidance Grubb provides as they aim to build their careers. That’s why The Grubb Company continues to grow and recently onboarded 15 new agents, a stark contrast to many teams who bulked up over the past few years and now are shedding members with fewer transactions in the market.

“When agents sign with me, they know they walk out the door with a whole infrastructure behind them as a full-service brokerage – they have me and my partner, who’s a terrific technician; a marketing team that creates everything from brochures and postcards to ads and social media posts; an attorney; and every other resource they need to get the job done.”

He also finds that having a managing broker as hands-on as he is continues to be rare in today’s world. “My value has gone up considerably in the last 12 months because my agents rely on me much more today than ever,” he says. “Management is key to this business right now, but I see that’s a challenge for many other firms who had forgotten how intensive the personal part is when the market gets a little softer.”

On that note, he adds that he sees a market that remains strong, with more demand than inventory, which has kept prices steady. He describes it as enjoying a period of “normalcy,” where buyers recognize the benefits of tangible investments that will continue to appreciate over time. Yet today they need the assistance of a shrewd negotiator and a market strategist who can provide insight and expertise, as The Grubb Company does.

“Having worked with The Grubb Company and its owners for 20 years, I can say without reservation that it is the Bay Area’s premier luxury boutique real estate firm. The agents, who are well trained and highly educated, deliver first-class service with integrity, style and sophistication,” says Kitty Cole, a local business coach, trainer and speaker. “D.J. and his partner John manage the firm with a hands-on, creative and always-available approach. They are extraordinary industry leaders.  (I know because I have worked with all of them.)”

A marketing aesthetic rooted in heritage 

Another way The Grubb Company sets itself apart is its marketing strategies that echo a bygone era, with their clean minimalism and simplicity. In fact, it might be one of the last remaining businesses that has a bowl of branded matches on the desk, reminding patrons of the importance of personal service and “Main Street” values. 

While other firms compete for the most “high tech” house listings, The Grubb Company is recognized for the traditional line drawing ads it runs in the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle and other publications. The result is a work of art that captures the beauty of a property. Often the agent reproduces the work as notecards or a framed piece the buyer or seller can treasure.

“We take our brand and look seriously,” Grubb says, adding that he reviews every brochure and ad that goes out the door. “I’m not just driving people to beautiful homes; I’m selling an experience we weave through everything we do.”

As Grubb looks ahead, he is confident about the future. “I remain an owner/broker, manager and deal 

maker, who’s thick into the process. My team is all in and we’re going to have some fun,” he says. “We continue to hold the genuine belief that the magic of small yet mighty things and techniques holds true, and our remarkable success stands as undeniable evidence of their impact.”

To learn more, visit us today at GrubbCo.Com