It was operating as a team within a local brokerage at the time. Its Instagram messaging and authentic style captured her imagination, inspiring her to get her real estate license.
She kept the license in her back pocket until May 2015 when she saw an Instagram post by Lucky To Live Here’s creator, broker and top producer Elena D’Agostino, announcing the brand’s launch as a brokerage.
Elena made this post on her Instagram in May 2015, alerting that she had taken the entrepreneur’s leap with the launch of Lucky To Live Here Realty. This image attracted at least one future Lucky To Live Here Realty agent, Jackie Stephens, to join.
A few days later, Stephens knocked on Lucky To Live Here’s new office door and introduced herself: “You don’t know me but I’ve been following you and I want to work here,” she said. She joined that day.
Just nine months in, the firm has grown to 15 agents, many of them new, as it continues the upward trajectory it started in 2010 as D’Agostino’s dream.
The brand seems to have a life of its own, D’Agostino intimated. And it’s growing up. Lucky To Live Here Realty serves the many communities surrounding the Five Harbors (Cold Spring Harbor, Lloyd Harbor, Huntington, Centerport, Northport) of Huntington Township. In addition – they serve all of the North Shore of Long Island.
Curaytor clients since 2013, Lucky To Live Here became a brand in 2010, then a team when top producer Joyce Mennella joined Elena in 2012. In May 2015 it became a brokerage.
Joyce Mennella and Elena D'Agostino
“We didn’t plan all this,” D’Agostino said. For example, it hasn’t recruited any agents; they -- like Stephens -- have all just shown up.
Lucky To Live Here’s growth
2015: 32 units, $41.5 million (As a solo brokerage: 14 units, $19 million)*
2014: 40 units, $53.8 million
2013: 31 units, $33.1 million
2012: 19 units, $17.5 million
2011: 11 units, $11.3 million
Source: Lucky to Live Here Realty
*Production dipped 2014 to 2015 as D'Agostino and Mennella focused on launching the brokerage.
It has a catchy, authentic name, but a thriving brand is much more than that.
D’Agostino and Mennella genuinely love their community and work, which is exemplified by the local groups and events they host, as well as their blog and social media presence.
The young firm’s path to orbit proves (yet again -- see Stephanie Lanier) that a strong brand paired with smart, passionate, community-focused leaders leads to a vibrant, successful brokerage.
From brand to movement
Walking along the beach in Lloyd Harbor, D’Agostino came up with her brand -- "Lucky To Live Here." Photo credit: Flickr via Benson Kua.
D’Agostino immediately trademarked the name -- she was surprised it was available -- and started using it to promote her business as an agent.
Most of Lucky To Live Here’s business is local, approximately 80 percent, according to D’Agostino. So cultivating community, with the same energy that incited the brand, is part of the business, and of her and Mennella’s genuine love for the area.
It hosts events through a group it founded, the Lucky To Live Here Club.
Some are as informal as an afternoon party at the beach for mothers and children, some are more formal gatherings such as a “Paint The Town Night,” a CPR certification course, or an event at the Vanderbilt Planetarium.
The firm also gives back, supporting local charities and nonprofits, including a local music festival, a charity 5K run/walk for a local park, a nonprofit supporting families dealing with pediatric cancer, a Halloween girls night out in downtown Cold Springs Harbor (“Witches Night Out”) and Habitat For Humanity through the residential real estate home-focused network Giveback Homes.
D’Agostino and Mennella also focus on training up their agents. All but two came to the firm as newbies.
“We teach them everything we know,” D’Agostino said.
Stephens can attest. She asks a lot of questions, and D’Agostino and Mennella always answer, even though Stephens sometimes feels she’s asking for too much.
Lucky To Live Here’s social media presence, blog and integrated community flavor just doesn’t attract agents. Its exposure, which helped it secure first page status for Google search results for “cold spring harbor homes for sale,” wins business.
For example, a London buyer found the brand on Google when hunting for a home in the area. He became a client three times over: he bought a Lucky To Live Here listing, then sold the home and bought a new one in December. The firm represented him on the latter transactions.
Another relocation buyer found the firm after doing research on the area and coming across its rich blog, which includes a monthly custom calendar of fun things to do in the area and posts like the area’s five best breakfast joints.
The buyer was looking for a community, not a home. Lucky To Live Here was there. “We promote the town,” D’Agostino said.
The firm blogs several times a week, with posts usually tied to area events or holidays. It shares posts on its Facebook page and on Instagram and Twitter.
It also runs Facebook and Instagram ads, targeting buyers in its busiest local markets. The firm promotes its social media through monthly event calendars it mails out and also through social media contests hosted on Facebook with the Heyo app.
The firm is young, but the steadily growing six-year-old brand seems to have big plans, especially with D’Agostino at the helm serving clients with service that, in her words, “makes them feel lucky to live here.”