Eric Hagstette’s social conscience is one of his strongest driving forces. Owner and principal broker of Inhabit Real Estate, Eric is this month’s Top Producer.
Starting his career in business to business sales for a Fortune 300 New York-based company, Eric transitioned into real estate in 2005. He looks back on his time in Corporate America with gratitude and appreciation for teaching him the fundamentals of sales, marketing, and most important, follow-up. “This is where I also learned that excuses are…just that,” Eric explains.
As a longtime Portlander, Eric is passionate about our city and how it is being affected by the pandemic, wildfires and smoke, protests, riots, and the current political divide. When asked how the wild ride of 2020 has affected his business, he told us, “Big question. The big picture crises we’re facing are much bigger than our work. They are more important than selling real estate, and we’re right in the heart of all of it. ‘Home’ has never been more important and we are in the business of ‘home.’ I feel torn between all of the hardships resulting from COVID-19 and the abundance that real estate is providing as a result of these unprecedented times. Transactionally speaking, we are in the right place at the right time… there is no shortage of business. Portland has certainly seen its day in the news through all of this and the long-term effect on our business is hard to predict. One of the silver linings of all of these things, from my observation, is a galvanization of the brokerage community. From COVID-19 to wildfires (and everything in between), I’ve seen brokers work together like never before. Kudos to all of you. Thank you.”
Real estate brings with it many rewards. For Eric, one of the biggest rewards comes in the form of the various relationships he has been able to foster over the years. “Hands down it’s all about the people. Not just my clients but my colleagues, my team, my mentors, my co-op agents, my vendors, our neighbors.”
Eric also finds fulfillment in owning and managing Inhabit Real Estate. “Operationally, managing a residential real estate brokerage while simultaneously running my personal sales business allows me to wear all the hats. From coaching my agents to prospecting for business, writing copy for ads, working on budgets and business plans, and everything in between. And who doesn’t love houses, photography, interior design, architecture, marketing, continuing education, networking, and all the fun stuff? Of course, our job also comes with all the tough stuff like unpredictable market conditions, challenging clients, paying taxes, delivering bad news, the emotional roller coaster of real estate, and the woes of being self-employed.
Luckily, my attention span helps me thrive in this multi-tasking, fast-paced, up-and-down market. I honestly love all of it.”
Finding passion in all of the possibilities that real estate affords, motivates Eric on a daily basis. “I have always been passionate about the unlimited possibilities that a real estate license affords us. With hard work and a simple plan, the sky’s the limit for REALTORS®. Playing such a pivotal role in times of transition for my clients is a huge responsibility. I have always held the importance of this piece with passion and drive. As a brokerage owner, I am passionate about teaching, training, and watching my brokers achieve their goals and dreams through real estate.”
Eric’s biggest reward in life is his family. Due to the pandemic, Eric has spent more time at home with his family than at any other time in his professional career and for him, this has been a huge blessing. “My family is the driving force behind my success. Not only do they motivate me every day but, as many of you know, to support the life of a REALTOR® requires a special family support unit. My family rides the roller coaster right by my side and they provide a safe haven to escape to. I’ve been married to my wife Kim for 21 years. I thank my lucky stars every day that our paths crossed. Not only is she my life partner, but she’s also my business partner and co-owner of Inhabit Real Estate, all the while holding down the fort at home and running her award-winning interior design business. We have two amazing teenagers who keep me in check and make sure I’m as ‘woke’ as possible for an almost-50-year- old dad. I learn a ton from my kids. I have so much hope for the younger generations who know more about equality, acceptance, and non-judgment. We can all take a note from the kids of today and appreciate their fire and passion, their resilience and brilliance, and their endurance through these unusual times. And, by way of osmosis and exposure (to me), my family knows more about oil tanks, sewer lines, multiple offers, and even the value of off-street parking.”
Along with the rewards of real estate comes the challenges. This year has been trying for everyone. The devastation from wildfires and the loss of life and business upheaval caused by the pandemic is horrific. We asked Eric what new challenges he has been facing and navigating since the pandemic hit and he told us, “Wildfires, extremely hazardous air quality, political unrest, social outcry and one of the most significant Presidential elections in history, all the while keeping pace with one of the busiest markets I have experienced in 15+ years of selling real estate. The erosion of affordable housing in Portland is accelerating at light speed and this is an indirect challenge that we cannot turn a blind eye to. The pandemic, wildfires, and the election will be in our rear-view mirror in the not-too-distant future, but not addressing the homeless crisis will likely have the greatest future impact on Portland livability and the bottom line of our business.”
Eric has a competitive side that he feeds with his love of cycling and bike racing. He has loved bikes since he was a child and has been racing for the past 10 years. “I’m a die-hard cyclist and bike racer. I love carbon, clicky pedals, training, going fast, and Lycra (yep, I said it…I love Lycra). Cycling keeps my body fit and my mind sane. It feeds my competitive spirit and, unintentionally, is a huge part of my networking sphere. My relationship with my teammates and fellow cycling friends is based on trust and trust is the foundation of our profession so these things go hand in hand.”
The Hagstette family are water enthusiasts. If there is water, you will find them nearby or right in it! “My family loves the water. We have a floating home and spend the summer paddleboarding, kayaking, floating, boating, swimming, and fishing.”
As you would expect, with his strong social conscience Eric does not just think about the changes that need to take place. He helps facilitate the change. Annually, Inhabit Real Estate picks a charitable cause that focuses on alleviating homelessness, “We have thrown hammers for Habitat for Humanity, organized holiday toy drives, and collected much-needed essentials for homeless children and families. As a family, our focus is on Transition Projects. Every month for the last few years, we have prepared and served dinner and lunches at multiple locations that are focused on men, women, and families transitioning out of homelessness.” Eric also aids the community by coaching youth swimming and sponsoring free junior bike racing at The Portland Trophy Cup Cyclocross series.
In closing, we asked Eric if he would like to communicate anything additional to the readers of Portland Real Producers magazine. Without hesitation, he responded, “As a longtime Portlander, I’ve always held a special place in my heart for this amazing city. I am sure I am not alone when I say that Portland is at a very important crossroads. ‘Home’ is our business and we’re paid to sell the ‘Portland experience.’ ‘Home’ doesn’t just apply to our qualified buyers and sellers. It applies to all people occupying the space called Portland including those with the means to buy or rent real estate and those that are sleeping outside under tarps. We must realize that even though we only serve a portion of Portland residents, they all make up the community, whether they have a house or not. It is our duty as ‘real producers’ and leaders in our industry to help Portland through these growing pains. While the country seems to grow in divide, it is very important for us to come together to put Portland back on track to be the darling of the Northwest. As we buzz through town enjoying the fruits of this market, I encourage you to think more critically about the ‘in your face’ issues that are easy to turn a blind eye to: mental illness, drug addiction, systemic racism, climate change, and environmental destruction and affordable housing. Raise your voice and vote. We must demand more from our local leadership and lean hard on them to properly address these big issues which not only affect our profession but our lives as well.