By Grace Cassidy
For any real estate agent, a strong networking game is critical to building and maintaining a clientele. Whether it’s never missing a hot-ticket event, a one-on-one meetup for coffee or a quick catch-up over text, networking can take any number of forms.
For Greg Kuchan, it often involves a wetsuit.
A proponent of what he calls “social prospecting,” the San Diego-based agent for Douglas Elliman approaches networking as an opportunity to meet and spend quality time with people who share his interests.
“I have built my entire business around connecting with people who have curated their life around the activities they enjoy,” Kuchan said. “Coastal San Diego attracts people who don’t live their life around work—they are trying to maximize their lifestyle. I moved here to build a life around surfing, sailing, camping and exploring new opportunities. So, I consistently show up to those activities and build relationships with like-minded people. Eventually, the conversation of work and real estate will arise.”
Not all of those people become clients, of course. But for the ones who do, Kuchan finds that the shared experience can make a firm foundation for a lasting relationship.
“I am the first to admit that I am not a good ‘sales’ person,” he continued. “But I am a great consultant. I like to get to know people first, then sit down with my clients to provide a custom home selling, buying or investing experience to maximize their goals.”
Kuchan says that most, if not all, of his clients have grown from relationships with people he has met through communal activities or referrals from those clients. He also organizes networking events among his Douglas Elliman colleagues.
“I host cocktail parties at my house, fundraisers for charities I believe in or renting an entire movie theater to watch a movie with friends and past clients,” said Kuchan, who supports a number of philanthropic organizations, including education-oriented programs Monarch School and Boys to Men Mentoring; surfing therapy programs A Walk on Water and Surfers Healing; and the ocean protection initiative Surfrider Foundation.
Asked to describe the current state of the San Diego real estate market—where the median sales price has fallen 12.85 percent since May 2022—Kuchan points to signs that a resurgence is beginning.
“Well-priced properties in desirable neighborhoods are starting to receive multiple offers,” he said. “We will see prices start to increase as the year progresses and consumer confidence increases. The buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines are seeing opportunities to get into properties that were not achievable last year. Many of my clients are looking for rental properties to purchase, as rents have not eased up as much as prices have.”
Although he believes that “we have seen the market correction that consumers have been asking for,” Kuchan acknowledges this is “an unpopular opinion” and encourages prospective homebuyers to “talk to a professional and see if now is a good time for you to act.”
In such times of adversity and uncertainty, Kuchan said, agents need to be resilient and adaptable. “The successful agents have changed with the times, improved their process and systems and are reaping the benefits,” he added. “As an industry, we saw many positive changes since the start of the pandemic. Contracts are now easier to read and have increased protection for consumers. Digital meetings have become the norm, so communication is more accessible.”
And it’s times like these that make connecting with others more important than ever—not just for real estate agents, but for humanity!
“We all want to feel a part of a tribe,” he said. “I want to hold space for as many of those opportunities as possible.”