is celebrating its 10th anniversary in this month. Ten years ago, the business started with one agent—owner Sue Schmitz—and a vision.
Schmitz had worked for a small real estate firm that eventually went national. Soon after, the idea came to her and she started Vintage Real Estate.
Located at 501 Valley Brook Road, across from , the independent real estate boutique prides itself on marketing homes effectively using new technology and customized attention.
“Real estate today isn’t as personal as it used to be,” Schmitz said. “If you don’t have it in writing now, it won't happen. I remember the past was a calmer, simpler time. So I thought why not recreate that?”
Vintage trends on all the popular real estate sites: Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo, Realtor.com, etc., and has properties from northern Washington County to the southern Allegheny line, and between I-79 and the Monongahela River.
Schmitz said her six current agents all have myriad experience and she plans to continue to grow.
“I would like to add a few more agents,” she said. “Ten agents max. I’d like to double our volume in what we do. I’d also like to concentrate more on the local market rather than being so spread out. I want to have something I can pass onto my granddaughter or ultimately sell.”
As one of the oldest tenants in the Valley Brook building, Vintage has a “homey” feel that will make anyone feel comfortable and home buying feel simple, and even stylish.
“When I had the vision to open my own business, I knew I’d tend to live in it 10, 12, 14+ hours a day,” Schmitz said. “We’re vintage. The office has a post-World-War-II era motif with a little Tommy Bahama. My dad was in the South Pacific; I have some of his old things.
Schmitz said the biggest misconception she'd like to clarify is that the business is completely stable despite the fact that it’s independent and not a franchise.
“We’re a real office, a real business,” she said. “We do a lot of corporate relocation. We deal with citizens from Europe, Sweden, Asia, South America—among other countries—who are looking to relocate to Pittsburgh. We recently posted our relocation packet online.”
Schmitz said marketing has played a key role in recent years.
Marketing assistant and Peters resident Michele Hammerbacher is the newest addition to the team. She’s given Vintage’s website a new look and maintains it, as well as brochure design, online property listings and social media.
Hammerbacher co-owns Post Script Productions, LLC, which also assists with the creation of virtual property tours—a significant element to the company’s website.
The business also uses QR codes, which Schmitz said they put on their brochures in a box at each property. You can scan the code on your smartphone and it’ll take you to the homepage, where all properties are listed.
Schmitz, a member, said her mission at Vintage is if they do less, they aim to do it well.
“You may not see us have 50 listings at a time, but we have a good history of satisfied, repeat customers.”
She said she likes to follow a tagline—one she spotted on a house in the Outer Banks. “Deliberately and selectively smaller,” she said.
“I keep trying to work that in more and more. We provide the attention that people want. We go where the customer wants and do what’s best for them. We cater to whatever is right for the client.”
Vintage Real Estate is hosting a 10-year anniversary celebration from 3-8 p.m. on Thursday in its office (Suite 102). If you'd like to attend, email Michele@VintageRealEstateLLC.com.
For more information, visit http://www.vintagerealestatellc.com/.
Check out the anniversary video above and follow the company's updates on Facebook, too.