Like any major life step, buying or selling a property involves dozens of small decisions. Is it time to move? Where are you moving? What features are you searching for in a home or commercial space? Should you work with a REALTOR®? Which agent or real estate company should you choose?
We might be biased, but those last two questions are critical as you begin the buying or selling process. How you answer them can make or break your real estate experience.
We already have resources dedicated to helping you choose the right agent. But does it really matter what real estate company the agent works for? (Spoiler alert: Yes!).
Why Real Estate Company Choice Matters
When choosing your real estate agent, you’re not simply choosing a REALTOR®—you’re choosing the values and reputation of the agency they represent. The agency’s closing department, local connections, affiliated partners, team of agents—all of these factors have a direct impact on your real estate experience.
At Urban Acres, we strive to be different from other local and national real estate agencies. We were founded to break the mold and turn the real estate industry upside down. Our refreshing approach to real estate helped us surge to the top of the market in just one year—and we haven’t stopped growing since.
Here’s what makes our company and agents unique, and how that helps you as a buyer or seller.
1. We’re An Independent, Agent-Owned Agency.
Other major real estate agencies in the Iowa City area fall into one of two categories:
- A local branch of a national agency
- A local agency, owned by a small handful of agents
We’re neither. Why? Because we’re the first (and only!) member-owned real estate firm in the area. Our agents are given the opportunity for equal ownership of the company. They don’t just work for the company—they are the company.
We strove to be different from the very beginning. We were founded by a robust group of experienced local REALTORS® in 2015. They wanted to establish themselves independently of a larger corporation and give the vast majority of agents the chance to have an ownership stake in the company.
That’s also why our company name is not tied to a particular agent or family name. It’s tied to the community we serve—representing all that the Corridor has to offer, whether that’s urban, acres, or everything in between. This fresh take on real estate has set us apart from the competition.
How You Benefit
Urban Acres is agent-owned. What does that mean for you when it’s time to buy or sell?
Simply put, our focus is on you, the client, at all times. We put our clients and our community first in everything we do, not just in our company name, but in every step of the buying or selling process.
It also means that when you work with an Urban Acres agent, you have direct access to an owner of the company and all of their local connections—in real estate, finance, inspections, staging, home repair, and so on.
2. We’re Locally Owned, so Your Investment Goes Right Back into the Community.
Urban Acres was built for people who love to shop local, by people who love to shop local. Since we’re not affiliated with a national franchise, any real estate fees you pay stay right here in the community.
Plus, when you buy or sell with one of our REALTORS®, you’re supporting a local business and a fellow community member. Your agent’s paycheck is reinvested in the local economy any time your agent shops local or grabs a bite to eat with their family. Our agents have established their livelihoods here, and we’re invested in helping the Corridor community grow and thrive.
Our unique business model also allows us to give back to the community in ways other agencies can’t. As a company, we give back thousands of dollars every year in donations and sponsorships. And that doesn’t even account for the contributions of our individual agents—nearly all of our agents support local causes and organizations that are important to them.
How You Benefit
As an Urban Acres client, you can rest assured knowing your money is being used to improve the community you call home. You also get the peace of mind of knowing your agent shares the same values.
3. We’re Servicepeople, Not Salespeople.
When you picture a REALTOR®, you might picture the home equivalent of a car salesman—eager to get your money, as quickly as possible.
At Urban Acres, our agents strive to be the exact opposite. We approach your transaction from the mindset of a customer service specialist. We take the time to get to know you, your situation, and your wishlist.
Our bottom line isn’t getting you to buy or sell a home. Rather, our mission is to provide support every step of the way to help you achieve your real estate goals, acting as your guide and go-to resource.
Providing that gold-standard experience often involves being a Swiss army knife for our clients. We’re strong negotiators, supportive listeners, financial consultants, master task jugglers, problem solvers, market monitors, and more—whatever our buyers and sellers need to be successful.
How You Benefit
When you work with an Urban Acres agent, you’ll be treated like a person, not a transaction. We see you, not potential dollar signs. Our agents understand that buying or selling a property is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make, so you can expect zero pushy, high-pressure tactics. We’ll empower you with the information and tools you need to be comfortable and confident in your decision.
4. We’re Equal Parts Professional and Playful.
Many real estate companies advertise their personalized experience. Urban Acres actually delivers on that promise.
With nearly 60 agents in our firm, we have the brightest minds in real estate on our side. Whatever type of property you’re looking for—residential, commercial, investment, development, or land—chances are we have an agent who specializes in exactly what you need, wherever you need it. That level of expertise is available around the clock.
However, all work and no play is not how we operate. We’re an animated bunch, and we love to have fun. You never know what you’ll come across on any given day at our Coralville headquarters—work pups stopping by for a visit; a grilled cheese cook-off; a potluck lunch; a friendly, competitive fundraiser; or even a food truck.
We like to bring the fun to our clients, too. Our annual client appreciation party is always a blast, whether we get together at Wilson’s Orchard for a fall festival or Xtream Arena for an Iowa Heartlanders hockey game.
We spread merriment in the community as well. We take the University of Iowa Homecoming parade to the next-level, going bananas as minions (get it?), or recreating scenes from the movie Up. We sponsor events—such as the Summer of the Arts’ Free Movie Series—that bring the community together for family-friendly entertainment.
Last but not least, we’re known for our fun giveaways, which we do multiple times a year on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Anyone can enter, even if you are not a current or former Urban Acres client!
How You Benefit
When you work with an Urban Acres agent, you can expect a real estate experience that’s anything but cookie cutter. You might even have fun along the way!
It’s why our clients say things like this about their experiences:
“The experience was very painless and dare I say pleasurable.” – Younis I. about Anne Aguirre
“What could have been so much more stressful of a move was made so pleasant (and even fun at times) with Becky guiding us through the home-buying process.” -Davis about Becky Halsch
“Shaner made the entire process painless and actually kind of fun.” – Jenny and Robert Magsamen about Shaner Magalhães
“She never pushes the upsale, she is super fun to work with and made our home-buying experience stress and hassle-free.” – Beth Westermann about Andrea Hicks
“She’s professional, funny, easy to work with, and low pressure.” – Jennifer Wittman about Whitney Russell
“I feel like I’ve made a new friend for life.” – Jenny Whitters about Daphne Patton
“Very personable, fun-loving, kind and hard-working.” – Chris Lowe about Polly Riggan
“I’m proud to call him my real estate agent and my friend.” – Josh Nichols about Eric Casebolt
“Sean is a great guy and a patient man, and was absolutely a pleasure to spend time with during our intense house hunting.” – Todd and Daria about Sean McIntyre
It’s easy to see why so many of our clients turn into repeat clients and even friends!
5. We’re #1 For a Reason.
Despite being younger than many other local real estate agencies, we shot to the top of the market in our first year and haven’t looked back since. It was fascinating—and humbling—to see how our clients appreciated our unique approach and our company’s playful-yet-professional personality.
Other accolades we’re proud to have earned:
- We’ve been voted the area’s most-loved real estate agency in the Locals Love Us Awards, six years running.
- We’ve been voted a top residential and commercial real estate company in the Corridor Business Journal’s Best of the Corridor awards two years in a row.
- We’ve been named one of the coolest medium-sized businesses in the Corridor Business Journal’s Coolest Places to Work Awards in both 2021 and 2022.
- We’ve been voted the best local real estate company in the Press Citizen’s Best of the Best (formerly Best of the Area) awards for six consecutive years.
Individual agents and teams within Urban Acres have also amassed many awards for best REALTOR® and best real estate teams over the years.
How You Benefit
We tell you this not to brag, but to help you feel confident that when you choose to work with an Urban Acres agent, you’re choosing one of the best REALTORS® in the business.
It’s great to earn awards, but at the end of the day, the plaques on our shelves don’t matter as much as making sure you have an excellent experience—that’s our main mission. The awards are a (happy) by-product.
Delivering Excellence from the Ground Up
Our agent-owners, assistants, and top-tier staff are redefining the local real estate scene, one transaction at a time. That refreshing approach makes a world of difference to our buyers and sellers.
Want to learn more about what it’s like to work with Urban Acres? Ready to find the Urban Acres agent that’s right for you? Explore their bios on our website, or reach out! We’ll match you to the expert REALTOR® that fits your needs.