Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of speaking with Michael Lederman, Lead Listing Agent & Realtor at Fulcrum Properties Group. We met at their sunny Capitol Hill headquarters located at 1328 G Street SE, which is just up the street from Eastern Market (conveniently adjacent to lesser known neighborhood gems La Lomita & Mangialardo’s), and houses a prodigious and colorful bear statue aptly named “Stripey” to greet you out front. Welcome, come on in.
As a successful real estate force, can you share a little about what makes the Fulcrum Group such a strong team?
We really try to hire from a place of culture first, rather than just focusing on recruiting the highest producing agents. You can teach a lot of the skills to better learn the market, but the foundation is always getting people on the team who value taking care of clients.
I love that! So how did this team come together? It’s always interesting to hear about the roots and inspiration for a business.
Fulcrum Properties Group is the coming together of 3 people (Principals Jim Lisowski, Tom Kavanagh & Ty Voyles) who had previously been working at a different brokerage with a more “dog-eat-dog” model where agents work on their own. Fulcrum, by contrast, was created with a different model that encourages teamwork and rewards collaboration rather than competition between realtors.
What does this teamwork structure look like? How does it affect the client experience?
Our model allows every individual on the team to have total expertise in their part of the process and really enjoy and leverage their contribution. The Capitol Hill office has 5 agents that work exclusively with buyers, I (Mike Lederman) am a seller specialist, and there are also realtors with specific location expertise working out of offices in NW DC and Northern Virginia. And there are other staff lending in house support to all locations for other crucial steps in the process, such as helping to execute the client contracts from ratification all the way to a successful settlement.
INTERESTING SIDE NOTE: The definition of “Fulcrum” gives a little insight into these team values where everyone take their part of the process and SLAYS IT.
1.) An agent through which vital powers are exercised.
2.) A thing that plays a central or essential role in an activity, event, or situation.
One of the many things that makes working at Bookstore Movers so invigorating is our company commitment to give back to the communities we serve. I was excited to see that Fulcrum shares these same values by having a formal community giving program. What is that exactly?
1% of each transaction is donated to a charity of the client’s choosing in their name. So it’s been a great way to continuously give back to local schools, nonprofits and other community organizations. We are also very events oriented, and regularly host gatherings to stay in better touch with client’s and provide an opportunity for the community to come together. Some examples would be our annual Water Works Party and Halloween Spooktacular at Congressional Cemetery. We also have been doing a Home Renovators Expo at Eastern Market’s North Hall where some of our favorite vendors can come together in one place to promote what they do, and be accessible to people in need of those services.
On a more personal note, I heard you used to work at Bookstore Movers! How did this experience connect to your current profession as a realtor?
I did work as a mover with Bookstore for about a year starting in 2012. Getting the chance to see so many neighborhoods and spaces all over the city, and the unique opportunity to help people through a stressful transition, it seemed like a natural next move to pursue real estate. It was actually Matt (Wixon, founder & owner of BSM) who introduced me to Jim (Lisowski, principal at Fulcrum). We had a burger and beer at Trusty’s sometimes towards the end of 2013 and that was how it began.
You know I have to ask. What kind of boss was Matt back in those days? How would you sum up your Bookstore employee experience?
Bookstore is such a stand-up company, and Matt is an incredible leader. I was so grateful for the experience I had working there, and try to always carry those lessons with me.
Another question on the “must” list. Favorite book? Or just maybe a favorite thing you’ve read lately?
That’s one area where I’m much different from people at Bookstore. I don’t read a lot. I think I spend my energy that other people might spend reading taking in information and the world around me in a pretty intense way.
Brief interlude for me to initially be in shock, then laugh awkwardly. I also used this a chance to poke a little fun at the Fulcrum Little Library out front that had only one book and seemed in need of some love (feel free to donate books!). Not everyone is a reader though, even at Bookstore Movers! So what, right? He did happen to mention at some point that he has been known to meditate up to 2 hours per day, and even successfully completed a 10 day silent retreat, so clearly he has found some pretty profound ways to replace reading that the average person could not muster.
As a realtor, you are traveling around the city quite a bit. Any favorite “go-to” spots you can’t resist?
Maketto was formerly my favorite place for coffee, but my current go-to is the Wydown by Whole Foods on H Street. In addition to really good coffee, they have excellent scones and breakfast sandwiches. For dinner, I’d say either the Red Hen on First Street, or All Purpose, a newer pizza/Italian place over by the Convention Center.
And if you are enjoying a rare day off, what would you be doing?
Resting, spending time with my wife and dog. We also like to travel, and have been on a number of trips lately to Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica and Pompano Beach, FL (where family lives).
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