Since opening the company less than a year ago, Signature Properties has donated over $11,500 to local and national charitable organizations. The company's goal is to donate $35,000 by year's end.
By Pam Cox
Through "divine intervention," a young aspiring businessman, Seth Jervis, and a seasoned Realtor®, Shirley Warren, came together last year to form Signature Properties, a truly unique real estate office that donates a portion of its gross commission to a charity of the client’s choice.
Four years ago, Seth Jervis developed a unique business model for a real estate agency in which a portion of the company’s gross commission would be donated to a charity of the client’s choice. The only thing standing in the way of his dream was financing.
Seth’s mother, Teresa Jervis, is a long-time Kingsport realtor and was working at a local real estate office with Shirley Warren. Shirley tried to buy the agency where she and Teresa were working, but realized in January of last year that was not going to become a reality. Shirley confided in Teresa about her aspirations to establish her own agency.
"Teresa told me that Seth had an idea for a company and suggested we get together and talk," Shirley said. "God brought us together. The timing was perfect." In April of last year, Signature Properties was formed with Shirley as the Broker/Owner and Seth as the Director.
Signature Properties now has 16 agents, including Seth and Shirley and an office administrator, Robin Todd. Since opening the company less than a year ago, Signature Properties has donated over $11,500 to local and national charitable organizations. The company’s goal is to donate $35,000 by year's end.
The company has both Tennessee and Virginia-licensed agents and handles residential and commercial property and land throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
Clients of Signature Properties have been extremely receptive to the "give back" concept. "No money comes out of the client’s pocket. It is a portion of company’s and agent’s commission that we are donating. Everyone has been affected by something different, therefore we are allowing clients to donate to the charity of their choice," Seth explained.
Seth developed the "give back" program through personal experience. Teresa is a breast cancer survivor and his younger sister has juvenile diabetes.
"Watching my mother suffer through chemotherapy and witnessing my sister lance and inject herself daily was the motivation behind my business model," he said.
Shirley and her husband, Steve, have been lay ministers in Kingsport since arriving from California in 1992. Shirley left a law career and Steve a job in law enforcement to follow God’s calling. After finishing seminary school, Steve was invited to serve a local church that later merged with Celebration Church.
The Warrens and another couple also purchased the former Sweet’s Ice Cream Shop on Eastman Road. After a few months, their partners decided the restaurant business was not for them, and Shirley and Steve Warren found themselves as sole proprietors of Sloopy’s.
Shirley is a firm believer that what you give comes back to you full circle. Not only do the agents donate a portion of their commission to charity, but the entire office is encouraged to be active in the community. Signature Properties volunteered during United Way’s Week of Caring, sponsored the JDRF Walk and helped with local community events like "Racks by the Tracks" and "Oktoberfest."
She also encourages a "safe haven" work environment for her agents. "Real estate agents on the whole are perceived as a greedy lot," she said. "We are working really hard to dispel that perception. There is no cut-throat dealing or back-stabbing in my office. We are here to work for the good of the community and each other."
"I have to give Shirley a lot of credit," Seth said. "It is a blessing to apprentice under her. She brings a lot of wisdom and advice to the table."
While Shirley brings wisdom to the table, Seth brings a tech-savvy approach to the company. He is responsible for keeping the company at the forefront of technology and tracking trends. He writes a blog at www.sethjervis.wordpress.com, studies website analytics and incorporates social media into the company’s various marketing strategies.
For more information on Signature Properties, visit the website at www.sigprops.com or call 423-343-7777. The office is located in a newly-renovated building at 115 W. New St. in downtown Kingsport.comments powered by Disqus