Reckling Properties Invigorates Down Market:
Innovation, Creativity are Win-Win
by Chandra Graham
Mark Reckling has written the recipe for realty success in a down market. He’s happy to share his secret, but the ingredients may surprise you: take a generous portion of business savvy, mix with promotions experience, add hometown knowledge. Balance with zest of artistic ingenuity. Serve with humor.
Humor? Humor isn’t the foremost quality that comes to mind in real estate or a down market, but Reckling’s clients embrace the addition. “He knows about marketing and how to position the product,” says Karen Seabert, who has worked with Reckling twice. Read one of his full-page advertisements in the Arcadia News and you’ll understand what she means. Reckling recently included an ad for a “Luxurious Mobile Estate,” a tiny trailer, amid 10 of his listings. “Ten square feet,” says the tagline, “Wal-Mart gift card included.”
The 10 square foot pink travel trailer, surrounded by high-end homes, was listed at $299. The tongue-in-cheek ad received a lot of laughs, and a lot of attention. “Every realtor said, ‘I want to buy the pink trailer,’” says Reckling, detecting a hint of envy – and perhaps admiration – amongst his competition. Who could blame them? Reckling’s eye-popping, inventive ads stand out in a sea of traditional listings, and are so professionally executed they may well have come from Madison Avenue.
“I knew if I was going to do real estate, I had to be myself. We wanted to bring our creativity to it and be different than anyone else,” Reckling says, referring to himself and Katherine Quinif Reckling, his wife and business partner.
The Reckling team has a unique history of success. “We were in the entertainment industry for 20 years, in all different facets,” says Mark.
Katherine’s media experience complemented Mark’s networking. “When I got out of school I was working in publicity and promotion for 20th Century Fox,” she says. She also worked in numerous film productions, both in Phoenix and Los Angeles, and as a print agent. Both Recklings spent their childhoods in Arcadia – he attended Brophy College Prep and she, Xavier. Mark’s mother, Genevieve Reckling, is an internationally renowned artist who still shows her work worldwide. Katherine’s brother, George Quinif, is a well-established commercial broker in the area. Now, as realtors, the Recklings’ roots are paying off. “He is so well connected in the Arcadia area. Even connected in the most intricate ways, to a lot of different people,” says Jeanne Behrens, a client, of Mark. “He is better connected than most people in this market in this area.” When faced with a choice of realtors, Behrens felt that Mark’s connections were the right fit for her and her husband in the current market.
Mark is the public face of the partnership, with Katherine providing a seasoned perspective while caring for their two young children. “We do it ourselves,” Katherine says of her family’s desire to stick to basics at home and at work. “So there’s a lot of tag-teaming between Mark and I.”
Karen Seabert, who used the Recklings to both buy and sell two homes, appreciates Mark’s work ethic and his head for business. “Mark works really hard, but he works really smart,” she says, “He understands it can be emotional, but understands how to keep the business savvy in the forefront.”
Mark’s pro-active marketing package for each listing includes a unique, easy to remember website for every home. Complete floor plans and photo tours are posted to each website. His innovative print ad campaigns have included everything from faux movie reviews of his listings to a personal ad for an Arcadia new-build described as “tall, beige and handsome.” When selling her home, Seabert appreciated all the extra effort. “He hustled for us, and was ready to go with ads,” she says.
George Quinif, a land broker at Peak Group LLC and Katherine’s brother, shares office space with the Recklings. Quinif appreciates the Recklings’ business acumen and their innovative style. “They have a good time selling houses and they are creative. A lot of that has lent to their ability in this market,” he says. He initially felt that Mark’s business success in the music industry would have value in real estate, and was pleasantly surprised when it crossed over into his own commercial efforts. “We bounce ideas off each other,” Quinif says, “It’s been good for me.”
For the Recklings, the benefit of having their own independent brokerage was a natural. “It’s been great for us. It’s enabled us to be way more creative and create our own brand than if we were with one of the larger brokerages,” Mark says of their small boutique company. Although Mark and Katherine generally focus on Arcadia neighborhoods, the Camelback Corridor, and downtown historic districts, Quinif has brought Mark in on several land listings.
“It gets down to the people you’ve got to deal with,” says Quinif. “It’s fun to be with people who are fun to be around. Regardless of the economics.”
Seabert, who was referred to the Recklings through Main Street Financial, her mortgage company, agrees. “Mark is a win-win person, not a winner take all kind of person. He knows how to negotiate and do it in a win-win fashion.
–Residential Executive Magazine 2009