It's not just that it's downtown that makes Verbode unusual for a residential real estate firm.
It's that it's just unusual.
Verbode's space at 415 N Broadway, Suite 101, is laid out for conversation and collaboration — and sipping fine coffee, or a cocktail if the hour is late enough.
It looks more like an art gallery than a real estate office. That could be because of the artwork on the walls on loan from Istvan Gallery, 1218 N Western Ave.
It's all conducive to doing business with certain kinds of brokers and clientele, said founder and managing broker Sarah Bytyqi, who moved Verbode earlier this year from a downtown business incubator not far away.
“We focus on the urban core of Oklahoma City. We wanted to be a little different in our approach to how we office, so our office is more like a community work space,” she said. “We don't really have private office space. We just collaborate. You can sit on the couch. You can sit at the coffee bar. You can sit at the conference table and just do your work.”
The storefront space is open by appointment only. Customers do seem to appreciate the setting when meeting with a sales agent, she said.
“They love it. They think it's really nontraditional and fun and exciting,” Bytyqi said. “It's a different concept. They feel more at home — more like they're a guest in our home than they're doing business with us, which we find has really made the process a lot easier.”
Verbode is keeping its greenness. The company name is a mix of “verdant” and “abode” — to mean “green home.”
“The reason we've stuck with it is because being green to us is just a natural process,” Bytyqi said. “We want to promote energy efficiency and educate people about how their homes work and why it's important to live close to your work and the places you enjoy going, to lessen commute time.
“You know, being in the urban core, it's just a greener way to live. Most of the homes here are existing; you're not building on new land, and there's more access to services here in the core.”
Verbode's approach fit broker Gary Caplinger's aims perfectly. The Piedmont native returned to Oklahoma City eight years ago after several years away. He said he couldn't find the kind of firm he was looking for at first.