Geilman’s firm, founded with veteran local agent Rob Freedman, has been a South Bay real estate force since the pair partnered in 2015. Starting out as the Freedman Geilman Group, the two switched names to The DOMO Group as a nod to the Japanese word for “thanks.” Also embedded in that concept is, for Geilman, a focus on gratitude, humility and satisfaction.
“Many years ago I had a near-death experience and it changed everything,” says Greg Geilman. “As a result, I deal with people in a way that is different.”
This includes a real estate approach that veers from convention and results in consistent success. “High-powered sales organizations are very focused on making their numbers,” he explains. “We’re less focused on making our numbers and more focused on making happy customers.” The idea: Concentrate on people and the numbers will take care of themselves.
The DOMO GIVES initiative was established in 2017 to help people in the South Bay with one-time, urgent needs
Nearly 200 five-star client reviews across Yelp and Zillow
His firm has been The Official South Bay Realtors for the Los Angeles Kings since 2014
“I take my clients happiness very personally and very seriously,” he says. Not just clients, but those at his firm too; a close-knit, locally focused office where there’s a Director of Client Happiness on staff. “We have plans to grow,” says Geilman, “but it’s a very concerted, cautious growth. We’re very protective of our culture.”
Those who lead with calls for service and positivity, and personally practice it, are often those individuals who’ve been on the frontlines of adversity. For Geilman it was an early chapter of life dimmed by substance abuse—one that resulted in his near-death brush—that ultimately forged a meaningful rebirth, for which he remains grateful.
“There have been times in my life where I had nothing to live for,” recalls Geilman. “No focus, nothing driving me.” The Woodland Hills native would later move to Redondo Beach (“I met a girl,” he says of the woman who would become his wife), then into a real estate career, where he turned his highly attuned listening and understanding skills into gold for clients.
Geilman’s touch is twined with a knack for applying technology to real estate, and in early adopter fashion. Among DOMO’s strategies has been the acquisition of local sites, including SouthBayResidential.com, ManhattanBeachHomes.com and their latest, LosAngelesHomes.com.
“People are not really looking for a real estate agent, they’re looking for a solution to their life problem.”
“I’ve been known to have a domain-name buying addiction,” Geilman says with a chuckle, before discussing the hyper-local nature of real estate, and the value of having sites dedicated to individual Beach Cities neighborhoods.
The two agents, Freedman and Geilman, make for an apt match due to differing sets of experience that interlock nicely—Freedman with decades under his belt and Geilman with a tech mindset and novel approach to building organizations.
“We complement each other really nicely,” says Geilman. “Rob is a super-negotiator and one of the most creative problem solvers I have ever met. I bring a steady and systematic, technology-based approach to our business.” When combined, the two yield value much greater than the sum of their parts.
Then there’s their shared philosophy. “My father told me a long time ago that you don’t have to screw anybody to get ahead,” says Freedman in the opening shot of the firm’s video. Geilman then offers another: “People aren’t really looking for a real estate agent, they’re looking for a solution to their life problem.” Therein lies the DOMO, which is to say, Geilman approach: Be nice, and at the end of the day it’s not completely about real estate.
The Domo Group | RE/MAX Estate Properties
1040 Manhattan Beach BlvdManhattan Beach, CA 90266
310.504.3630 | domorealestate.com
Photos: courtesy of THE DOMO GROUP
As told to Danielle Accovelli
ROB: I have been with RE/MAX since 1984. At the time, RE/MAX was by far the most innovative real estate company in the world. The concept was to make each agent a small company unto themselves, charging a desk rent fee rather than taking a large percentage of the agent’s commission. Agents were responsible for their own success with the company as a diligent partner in helping them achieve their goals. This brought only the most productive and professional agents together under one roof. Other companies followed with their own version of this concept, but RE/MAX was the innovator and helped push the real estate community to a new level.
GREG: I moved to RE/MAX because they had the strongest presence in the areas where I wanted to grow my business. We have 18 offices along the beach from Palos Verdes to Santa Monica. Plus, our international reach is unmatched.
Having both lived and worked in the South Bay for some time, why has this area continued to be such a covetable market?
ROB: I have lived in Redondo Beach, Torrance, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. Each city has its own unique character and personality, but all share a connection to the beach lifestyle and are convenient to Los Angeles. There is no more land to build homes and nowhere to expand, so these cities continue to gentrify in a positive way. Limited inventory is a hallmark of the cities, which always seems to put upward pressure on prices and desirability. Moreover, the families that live in these areas have put a lot of their personal time and energy into local schools, which has made schools throughout the South Bay a big draw.
GREG: Great people in a great place will always create a covetable place to live. The South Bay just has the perfect blend of beach and luxury and great weather.
Although I really enjoy the ‘game’ aspect of Monopoly, I definitely don’t treat people’s real estate deals lightly. I love coming up with creative solutions to problems. Every deal is so unique and often requires us to think on our feet to keep things moving in the right direction.
GREG: I’m always thinking, ‘How can we do things better? How can we improve the status quo for the customer?’ Sometimes technology provides that solution. I love how technology and the Internet have dramatically changed our entire industry. People are always asking if I’m afraid of the big third party websites taking over, and I say, ‘No!’ Zillow hasn’t been in every house that’s sold in the last three years. Trulia doesn’t know the floor-plan or the quality upgrades of a remodel. That’s part of the value our team brings to clients.
I like streamlining and efficiencies. I also enjoy volunteering to give back to our community. I was on the Board of Directors for the last three years and was able to help Leadership Manhattan Beach become paperless and build their digital archive.
Goethe once said that architecture is frozen music. I also believe the contrary is true— music is melted architecture. I have been blessed with a balanced left and right brain; I enjoy the creative and the analytical aspects of this business. Being creative with the knowledge to back it up has literally made and saved my clients millions of dollars throughout the years.
Clearly, my architectural background from the top architecture school in the country provides benefits every day to my clients. I can help them visualize the possibilities in spaces that seem limited.
A natural outcropping of my background in architecture is development. I have been building and assisting others in building high-end homes in the Beach Cities since 1986. My wife and I founded Villa d’Arte Development in 2003 to continue this legacy. We are proud of the homes we have built and lives we have touched. Most of these homes broke price point records for the areas in which they were located. More recently, we expanded the company and became general contractors with some amazing building partners, forming First Light Development in 2012. We currently have some 14 projects in various stages of development. Greg and I are pleased tobe able to complement our cutting-edge brokerage with all of these varied value added services under one roof. This is entirely unique in our business. Buy. Sell. Build. Manage. Invest. This is our manifest.
ROB: Our business is quite simply based on the concept of trying to help the greatest number of people possible achieve their piece of the American Dream. We hire, train and teach our team members to think about their actions this way. We seek to make our customers’ experience superior. A very wise real estate trainer once told me that if you want to make more money as an agent, just be worth it. I think about that every day. I want to be better every day, learn and teach every day, provide superior service to our customers and clients, and help other real estate agents elevate our role as professionals.
I have worked diligently over the past 35 years building a business of which I can be proud. I have achieved every award RE/MAX has to offer with uncompromising dedication to my clients’ interests, and an ability to achieve their objectives. I realized long ago that if agents bring nothing more to the table than listings from multiple listing services, they better find something else to do. We are consultants for our clients… We edify, and help them make the best decisions under a specific set of circumstances. We continue to be innovative in the negotiation process, creating wins for our clients without causing others to lose. The two reasons why Greg and I make such good partners is we complement, but do not duplicate, one another, and we always try to help.