Best of Lawrence Profile: The Northrop Team strives to make the community better one client at a time

Debbie Heinrich and Larry Northrop

Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored content produced by the Journal-World’s advertising department. Businesses who received a top three award in the Best of Lawrence competition are eligible to participate in the Best of Lawrence Spotlight Series program, which includes a question-and-answer profile. Look for future profiles in the print and online editions of the Journal-World.

Congratulations on being voted the “Best of Lawrence”! How does it feel to receive this recognition from the community?

We are very grateful, and it is such an honor to have been voted Best of Lawrence – Real Estate Agency. The 2 of us raised families and have tried to plant deep roots in this community. It feels pretty good to get this recognition amongst Lawrence offices with 50-90 agents.

What do you believe sets your business apart?

The Northrop Team gets up every morning and meets 2 goals – To be the hardest working agents in Lawrence and to be fully engaged with our clients “For Every Move They Make” wherever in Kansas and Missouri that might be. For some of our listings we personally move all the furniture out of, coordinate carpet and paint and personally stage them to be ready for the market. On staff we have our stager Deanna, our transaction coordinator Hope, and our marketing coordinator Piper, who allow us to focus on our client needs.

Can you provide a brief overview of your business’s history, including its founding, initial goals and how it has evolved over the years?

Debbie and Larry met in real estate 20 years ago when Debbie joined the same downtown agency that Larry had been with for 5 years. In 2011, Larry bought the RE/MAX franchise for Lawrence and recruited Debbie to form a team. Throughout the years, there were 15 agents and 5 TNT members. Following COVID, we saw an opportunity to be with the #1 real estate brokerage in the US and transferred to COMPASS. Our goals however have stayed the same throughout the years, to help 100 clients and do $33 million in sales each year.

Community support is crucial. How do you engage with the local community, and how has this engagement impacted your success?

We love this community and could not imagine not being based here. We recently moved to a new office across from Target to work beside our preferred vendors. Larry organized the LHS Class of ’88 reunion last year, maintains ties to the Leadership Lawrence Class of ’99 and supports his wife Amy at the LMH Health Foundation. Debbie had 3 boys graduate in Baldwin & has been the president of the BNI business networking chapter multiple times. BNI is a network that allows us to work with 30 people focused on other areas of business such as Electricians and Financial Advisors, providing you with the best service possible with trusted referrals. We would not be as successful in real estate if we did not have our community referring their friends and family for our help.

Businesses face challenges as well. Can you discuss a significant hurdle your business has overcome and the lessons learned from it?

The one constant in real estate is that there is always change. This is our third recessionary period in our career so we can see market trends that newer agents have not experienced yet and that helps our clients overcome their concerns. 9/11, The Gulf War, the 2008 recession, COVID, had all-time low interest rates, then the fastest rising rates in history. We learn and bring them all to productive use for our clients.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to create their own successful ventures?

Being a Realtor is the greatest job in the world. Early in her career, Debbie partnered with a local builder to represent a subdivision. Larry is a serial entrepreneur – furniture store, property management company, real estate holding company, real estate brokerage, licensed independent contractor. Once you do it a few times, you will fail and succeed and you will never want to work for someone again. Small business ownership is the keystone to our economy and is essential to the success of our economy. 46% of private employees work for small businesses and 62% of new jobs are created by small businesses.

The “Best of Lawrence” title often indicates a commitment to excellence in customer service. How do you ensure that every customer has a positive experience with your business?

At The Northrop Team, we prioritize excellent customer service to ensure every client has a positive experience. We achieve this through open communication, personalized attention and a commitment to experience exceptional service and exceed the “Best of Lawrence” standard.

TNT has 175 5-star Zillow reviews – “They represent the top of the field in real estate and if you want the most smooth worry free process possible, with people who will do anything to deliver whatever it takes call The Northrop Team”.

Reflecting on your journey, what motivated you to start this business, and how does it feel to see it flourish and earn the “Best of Lawrence” title?

We change lives. To positively affect another person’s life you can help them with their health, their education, their finances…a home can do it all. We are motivated every day to do anything we need to do to improve the lives of our clients. Sometimes we help them buy the wrong house for their stage of life and we have to come up with a new plan together.

What role does employee training and development play in maintaining the level of excellence your business is known for?

We have had 40+ agents that we have trained and developed in real estate. We have been to conventions all over the US. Right now, 2 is a magic number and with the support staff we have there are no distractions. The Compass KC offices are next to the Apple Store in Leawood and on the SW corner of The Plaza in KC in the Polsinelli building – we have excellent corporate support when we need it. The Northrop Team also owns an office at Crown Center where we are developing our reach into Missouri.

Could you share a memorable customer success story that exemplifies the impact your business has on the community?

There have been so many memorable customers in the years we have done real estate. 646 Rhode Island was an abandoned home that TNT sold a dozen years ago. Those buyers poured their heart and soul into the home and TNT resold it 3 years ago for 5 times the price. Lawrence now has a beautiful home to look at downtown, the tax revenue is better, it anchors the neighborhood and there were 50 people employed for this one story to happen. Today we are meeting with a 90-year-old couple that Larry has known for 40 years and the topic of conversation is selling their home. Every day, we strive to make this community better one client at a time.


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