By Stephanie Wilson I Photography by Reynaldo Alés
This not only has created ‘raving fans’ out of clients, but the rest of the real estate community has taken note as well.
In the beginning, Waterfront Properties was a one-woman show. Joan Thomson ran the company out of her dining room, and was happy to do so. She was successful, focusing on waterfront properties, which abound in South Florida. As a result, her son, Rob, spent much of his youth learning the ins and outs of the business from an observer’s standpoint, all the while knowing that this would one day be his calling.
“I grew up in real estate, sitting in the front seat of my mom’s car,” Thomson laughs. It is a big, jolly sound that is followed by a quick smile that has set many a nervous buyer at ease. It is obvious that Rob Thomson, who now co-owns Waterfront Properties along with his mother, loves what he does. Despite little schooling, he has built more than a career out of real estate; he has forged a lifestyle that many aspire to. His formal introduction to the industry came years ago when Rob was twenty-five. He joined his mother’s Waterfront Properties, and took the company out of the dining room, and into an office building. Twenty years later, they continue to expand; the company now has 4 offices and more than 35 agents. This major growth period is the result of both a winning philosophy and determination that Rob says “came natural.”
“It seems like the people who do best in real estate are those who have a true desire to find what people want, what is a true value to the buyer,” Rob explains. “Then the property pretty much sells itself. If you are willing to work hard enough to find people what they are truly looking for, you don’t have to be much of a salesman, because you are finding them a perfect match.”
He is a little too humble. His sales skills obviously play a major factor, as he is the lead real estate sales agent in the prestigious waterfront community Admiral’s Cove in Jupiter, where Thomson currently resides with his wife and their six children. In fact, Waterfront Properties has an office in Admiral’s Cove, one of only two private businesses that operate in the club (the other being a Wachovia). “No one else has the relationship that [Waterfront Properties] does with Admiral’s Cove,” Thomson explains. The development, which has roughly nine hundred homes, has an astounding seven miles of waterfront, with three hundred homes being directly on the water. It seems fitting that Waterfront Properties would be the premier agent for such a community.
Waterfront does not only offer properties in Admiral’s Cove; they cover an area of about twenty different towns from Palm Beach to Stuart, offering only the finest in luxury real estate. “We have about six hundred properties on the market right now,” Thomson explains, adding that in this year, they have already sold more properties than they did in the entirety of 2006!
The philosophy behind the brand is simple: to do more for their customers than people should reasonably be able to expect. “Our whole philosophy is to go above and beyond. We want to create a raving fan of our client.” They accomplish this by offering a full 360 degrees of coverage, from picking up both potential and past clients at Palm Beach International Airport in the Waterfront Properties Lincoln Coach Limo, to providing complete hurricane updates for those who have purchased a home from them. “We empty their fridges when the power is out, we take photos of damage, we survey their properties. In essence, we provide peace of mind,” he says.
This not only has created ‘raving fans’ out of clients, but the rest of the real estate community has taken note as well. Thomson was recently appointed to the inaugural Board of Regents Executive Committee, which consists of the top ten real estate brokers from around the United States, all of whom are leaders in their respective luxury real estate markets. The Board of Regents, which is the exclusive affiliation of luxury brokers and the governing body of the Luxury Real Estate network, is composed of 78 brokerage firms representing 425 offices from around the world. He explains, “Being a member of the Board of Regents defines you as the top luxury broker in your marketplace, and I was extremely flattered to be nominated, and even more so to be accepted as member of the Executive Committee.”
While such success could turn any man into an egomaniac, the opposite can be said of Thomson. He is so involved in his community, he puts even the most devout philanthropists to shame. His charity, Charities for Children, donates thousands of toys each year. It began in 2004 when Rob and his children bought bicycles for underprivileged children for Christmas. When more children showed up than there were bikes, Rob and his children went to every neighborhood store, buying out their supplies, recruiting a crew to help assemble hundreds of bikes, thus creating their own version of “No Child Left Behind.” The charity has since blossomed and taken on a life of its own, helping countless children over the years, ultimately bringing inexplicable amounts of joy.
Waterfront Properties is one of the largest financial supporters of the charity, as they are actively involved in giving back to the communities they help build through the sale of their homes. But as Thomson explains, “People come to us to buy a lifestyle, not just a house.” Based on the current success of Waterfront Properties, it is a lifestyle that will continue to sell for years to come.