Spokane Journal of Business

First Look brokerage to move to Riverwalk building

Relocation will coincide with global rebrand effort

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-Erica Bullock
Chris Carpenter, of the local First Look brokerage, says the new space in the Riverwalk Building is designed look more like coworking space.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices First Look Real Estate is currently rebranding, remodeling, and refreshing its real estate brokerage and property management company, says marketing director Chris Carpenter.

The Spokane-area brokerage is preparing a new office space, has hired six agents in 2 1/2 months, and also is retooling its brand message, marketing materials, and logo with a new approach and a modern design, says Carpenter.

The company is moving to a 2,300-square-foot space in the Riverwalk Building, at 1003 E. Trent—in the same building as No-Li Brewhouse restaurant, bar, bier hall—from its longtime office at 421 N. Mullan, in Spokane Valley, Carpenter explains.

“By moving our location to that Riverwalk facility, we’re going to have the ability to be there when the Gonzaga game is going on, and that No-Li facility is going to have hundreds of people coming in there,” says Carpenter. “This is a relationship business … we’re going to be able to sit across the table and share a beer with somebody and talk about where they are and what their real estate dreams are.”

Carpenter, who also is a Realtor and business-development coach, says the new space is under construction to be converted into a different style of office space from the conventional setting.

“It’s going to look more like a coworking space as opposed to a traditional real estate office. We didn’t want to have a traditional office,” he says. “This is going to be a welcoming environment for the community to come in and to meet with our agents.”

Carpenter explains that the new location will have a variety of workspaces, including conference tables as well as taller tables. The natural lighting of the space will accommodate hanging plants and a feature wall adorned with lilacs and postured as a background for social media photo opportunities. In addition, the entrance of the office will have a bespoke rolling barn door.

“Our goal is to change the face of what traditional looks like,” he adds.

The agency will complete its move into the new location by the end of June, says Carpenter, adding that the new space will benefit the brokerage with increased foot traffic.

“We are moving for a bunch of different reasons,” he explains. “The global brokerage Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is celebrating its 10th year and is going through a rebrand that we’re super excited about. We’re timing (the move) with the rebrand of the global brokerage.”

Part of the rebranding involves updating the company’s messaging that will highlight a new business approach.

“Our goal, beyond anything else, is to be the forever agent for all of our clients,” he says.

He says that people should have a relationship with a real estate agent they trust to turn to with any homeownership questions and concerns instead of an agent who focuses solely on real estate transactions.

“The forever agent model is: We are not here to chase the transaction; we’re here to develop relationships, and we believe that when we develop the relationships, the transactions will come.”

He says the rebranding also will encompass updated marketing materials such as fonts, colors, and logos in addition to new digital and television advertising campaigns.

The brokerage provides residential and commercial real estate services as well as property management services.

Residential business is the largest share of work for First Look Real Estate, Carpenter contends.

The company’s most recent annual revenue is over $1 million, says co-owner Ken Lewis, adding that it’s slightly lower than revenue earned during the pandemic due to current higher interest-rate environment making financing more challenging for some prospective buyers. Lewis says the market is improving for first-time homebuyers who have more inventory to choose from in addition to more cooperative sellers to work with compared to the seller’s market at the height of the pandemic.

The company has a total of 31 agents now, he adds.

Carpenter says, “We are in a position of strength, and we couldn’t be more excited to see where First Look Real Estate is going for the remainder of 2023 looking into 2024.”

He says that doing business in a constantly shifting real estate market can be challenging for those who find it hard to adapt, although new agents at First Look Real Estate will learn best practices from designated broker Lewis.

Carpenter credits Lewis in part for the company’s growing number of agents.

He says Lewis teaches continuing education classes for the Spokane Association of Realtors, which exposes hundreds of agents a year to the brokerage and its agents’ culture.

Carpenter says First Look co-owners Francesca Baier and Jen Collins (Collins also is Lewis’ daughter) and office administrator Savannah Esco have been working to create an agent culture that values the individual over transaction totals, which also draws in new agents.

Lewis, who has over 50 years of real estate experience, recently was awarded the Legacy of Service Award by the Spokane Association of Realtors.

The award is given to members who also serve on various committees and take time to mentor new members, help define industry-related regulations, and give back to the community, according to SAR’s website.

“His influence is far and wide … and he’s had such an incredible impact on the lives and the businesses of thousands of real estate agents and their careers,” says Carpenter.

Erica Bullock
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Reporter Erica Bullock has worked at the Journal since 2019 and covers real estate and construction. She is a craft beer enthusiast, who loves to garden and go camping with friends.

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