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Davina Clardy: Putting Relationships at the Forefront of Real Estate

As a broker-owner of John L. Scott Talent Group in Olympia, Davina Clardy is involved with the brokerage’s day-to-day operations. She also lists and sells, works with her management team and supports new broker development for the company, which also has locations in DuPont, Lacey and Tumwater. 

To say Clardy has a lot on her plate would be an understatement, but she thrives in this bustling environment, often assuming the role of “cheerleader” to help others achieve their career and real estate goals. “Every morning I get together with a group of our brokers for a morning huddle,” says Clardy. “We discuss their wins, challenges and goals. I enjoy being a cheerleader that helps get the team fired up about opportunities.”

After all, says Clardy, we can’t turn back time and reverse what happened yesterday, but we do have 100% control of today and the future. “I encourage our brokers to think this way every day,” she adds, “and to always give it 100%.”

In surveying Washington’s current real estate environment, Clardy sees many opportunities for brokers to get involved and support clients as they make what will probably be the most important financial decisions of their lives. “Being a part of that is a blessing that we can't take for granted,” Clardy says. “That's why we need to be educated, provide in-depth consultations, establish relationships and always operate professionally.” 

Leaving a Legacy
Clardy started real estate in 2006 after previously working as a 911 dispatcher. She liked her job but was looking for a more flexible schedule. “We had a young family and my husband was in and out of military duties. Life was really crazy at that point,” says Clardy, who took an interest in real estate as a career after working with a broker to purchase her first home. She and her husband went on to own several investment properties. 

“Between learning about our broker’s business and then experiencing real estate ourselves as investors and homeowners, a passion stirred up inside of me about leaving a legacy for my family,” Clardy recalls. “I received a postcard announcing a new real estate brokerage in DuPont that was looking for brokers. That was my sign.”

Clardy walked into the new John L. Scott Real Estate office, signed up for her real estate classes and got licensed. “That was in 2006,” she says, “I’ve been with John L. Scott ever since.” In 2012, when her company’s owner decided to step away from ownership, Clardy got her managing broker’s license. She and Gergen Robinson took over ownership of the John L. Scott office in DuPont. Between 2013 and 2022, the pair would go on to open three additional offices, each of which is licensed separately but collectively known as John L. Scott Talent Group.  

Articulating Buyer Broker Value
One area that Clardy is especially passionate about right now is articulating the value of buyer brokers in the real estate transaction. “Commission conversations are something that we are used to having with our sellers, and best practice is to have the buyer agency agreements,” says Clardy. “Recently, these conversations are becoming increasingly important due to the lawsuits that are surfacing.” 

For example, she says the Northwest MLS is one group that wants to prevent such problems by encouraging brokers to be more transparent about who pays for what. “The buyers technically are paying compensation, but we haven't been very upfront with disclosing that with our buyers,” says Clardy. 

“It could be a very uncomfortable conversation if we're not upfront and having those conversations before we get to the point of actually writing a contract,” she continues, “or even showing multiple properties to our clients, because that compensation information is right on the front page of our purchase and sell agreements now, and hasn’t been in the past.”   

Knowing this, Clardy encourages brokers to use buyer agency agreements that clearly spell out who is responsible for commission payment in the transaction. “If you don't have a buyer agency agreement, and if you get to a position where sellers are not paying your compensation, then you may not get paid for the services rendered,” Clardy cautions. “Having those transparent conversations upfront avoids confusion on how compensation works.”

Clardy also sees room for improvement when it comes to articulating buyer broker value to clients. Where listing brokers have marketing presentations that highlight their services and what they bring to the table, buyer brokers don’t always outline these details upfront. For example, a lead will come in and the buyer broker will take the client to see the property without much other initial interaction. 

“Brokers should focus on their unique selling propositions and sit down with buyers before taking them on showings and/or writing offers,” Clardy recommends. “Make a list of everything you do for each deal and then come up with a way to communicate that clearly and confidently to your clients. This will help them see that you’re a professional who has earned his or her commission.”

See a Need, Fill a Need
A member of John L. Scott’s Diversity Advisory Board, Clardy understands the real estate industry’s history and recognizes that certain gaps still need to be filled in order for all Americans to have an equal shot at homeownership. “There are definitely some financial, economic and historical shortfalls that have happened for members of many different communities,” she says. “One way we can address this is by understanding where those shortfalls are and really leaning into our differences.”

Brokers can do this by taking the time to learn more about the communities they serve and who’s living in them. Then, they can work to share the benefits of homeownership with that diverse audience of buyers, versus just focusing on any single customer group. “Understand who these future homeowners are and work to be more compassionate and understanding of their struggles,” Clardy suggests.

These conversations aren’t always comfortable, but they are necessary. “Our brokers have been attending and participating in meetings for the DEI Committee for the Thurston County REALTORS association, for which one of our brokers is the director,” says Clardy, who is the 2023 Broker/Owner Director for the association. “Conversations have definitely changed over the last couple years, and we’re at a point now where it’s critical that we open our eyes, see a need and fill a need.”

The Life Tree Keeps Growing
With all eyes on mortgage interest rates and the national housing market as a whole right now, Clardy tells Washington’s brokerage community to focus on building strong relationships with buyers and sellers regardless of the other outside forces that may impact the industry. “Focus on your own ‘interest rate’ with your clients,” says Clardy, “because the higher your interest rate is in your relationship, the more success you'll have in business for years to come.”

Reflecting on the time she spent as a 911 dispatcher, Clardy remembers serving as an important conduit but never really knew what the final outcome was on individual emergencies. In her role as a broker, she’s establishing and maintaining long-term relationships and pretty much always knows how things turn out. “In real estate, we get to celebrate, see the fruits of real estate investing with our clients and even get to help their friends and family achieve their own dreams,” says Clardy. “The life tree of our real estate relationships just keeps growing.”