With remodeling going on around him, Terry Yager, owner-broker of Kachemak Group Real Estate, formerly Re/Max of Homer, is settling into his new office space at 320 W. Pioneer Ave.
Active in the local real estate scene since 1995, Yager operated the Re/Max franchise from 512 E. Pioneer Ave. However, he has sold that building to Malone Insurance, dropped the Re/Max connection and launched Kachemak Group Real Estate with a total of eight agents, including himself that offer “well over 100 years of experience,” he said.
Yager purchased the Re/Max franchise about 12 years ago and had the East Pioneer building constructed to include living space upstairs for himself and his wife, Jonnie.
Over the years, Yager has developed an expertise on the foreclosure market. Other Re/Max agents developed other areas of interest, such as commercial and higher end properties.
“Then we had this opportunity to merge with some other folks and decided that we didn’t want to franchise,” said Yager. That decision came after conversations about “whether there was a good fit between me as a broker and them as licensees.”
The other part of the conversation involved separating from Re/Max. Yager valued the rapport he had with the Alaska owner of Re/Max, but was aware the expense of being a franchise, a cost paid by each agent in a group, hampered his ability to recruit more agents. He also recognized that, while Re/Max has an excellent name, “it is really limited with what it can do for a rural setting. It’s more designed for urban-type companies that draw from a large population center,” said Yager. Forming Kachemak Group was “a good excuse to make the change,” he said.
The newly formed group is an experienced team with diverse expertise to serve the southern Kenai Peninsula and beyond.
Shelly Stradling has been involved in local real estate since the 1970s, has developed a knowledge of the foreclosure process and has worked with Yager since 2006.
While Re/Max offered brand-name recognition, Stradling said what matters, whether it’s getting houses sold or getting people into new homes, is “having the knowledge, patience and a skill set to deal with the transactions. Every single one is different.”
It’s a combination that requires agents to have a thorough grasp of the many steps involved, while making the process stress-free for clients.
“They don’t need to know the details until it’s really important and impacts them,” said Stradling. “That’s what we’re here for.”
The new Kachemak Group team is “awesome,” said Stradling. “They’re all great people. All Alaskans. All locals. All have very nice personalities. And all have experience. We’re thrilled to have them.”
Karen Marquardt has more than eight years of real estate experience.
“It’s a nice combination of having your own business under the umbrella of a broker and having teammates while still having a pretty independent business,” said Marquardt, one of Yager’s new team members.
Most of her work is in the Homer area, but she also is involved in transactions on the south side of Kachemak Bay, as far north as Ninilchik and works with agents around the state.
“I tend to attract a lot of land clients, which I really enjoy, but the past several years have been mostly residential, ” said Marquardt. “It’s an interesting business because every transaction is totally different and you get to meet some really great people.”
Of the Kachemak Group, Marquardt said, “It’s really kind of a relaunch of an existing business, so it’s not entirely new. Terry and his team have had a very successful business over the years, but it’s also a new thing with a new name and we’ve got new energy with this combined group of agents, so I’m just very excited.”
Also new to the group is Denise Pitzman, with four years experience in the local real estate market.
“This is the perfect job for me. I love the people I work with. I love solving problems, discovering the perfect property for someone and helping people solve problems by selling a house or land so they can do what they want to do next,” said Pitzman. “It’s very, very rewarding.”
She credited former Homer real estate agent Kathy Westerburg for recruiting her into the real estate world.
“She’s really the one that taught me the finer points of being a good real estate agent,” said Pitzman of Westerburg, who now lives in Arizona.
The most important point Westerburg imparted was that “it’s not about me. It’s about the people I’m working with, about what they want to accomplish,” said Pitzman. “I keep that in mind always.”
She likened formation of the Kachemak Group to “putting a bunch of coals together and making a hotter fire. Separately, the coals cool off. This puts a lot of experienced agents together and it’s going to be really good for our clients.”
Yager anticipates the new office space, on the ground floor of Windjammer Suites, will be complete within the week. The Windjammer is owned and operated by his in-laws who live on-site. The remodel also included creating a second-floor living space for Yager and his wife.
In the Kachemak Group Real Estate offices, walls are still unfinished, painting needs to be done and carpeting needs to be installed, but Yager’s team has taken it all in stride.
“We’re in an upside-down, topsy-turvy world getting the expansions of our office where everybody can have a place, so everybody is working out of their homes or wherever they can,” said Yager.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owner-broker: Terry Yager
320 W. Pioneer Ave., Homer
8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
Hours (property management): 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday