WHEN TALENTED PROFESSIONALS TALK, WE LISTEN.
Revel Real Estate
Kelly Laabs, Founder & Broker
Revel Real Estate is a boutique, independent real estate brokerage located in Whitefish, Montana. We opened our doors in December 2020 to create a better real estate experience for those buying and selling luxury recreational properties in western Montana. With an experienced yet nimble team, we operate as a real estate concierge, delivering an experience, rather than a service, which means a bespoke approach to every client, every listing, and every interaction.
What Services Do You Offer?
Revel Real Estate provides concierge-level real estate advising in Western Montana. While we manage all types of real estate transactions, we focus on luxury recreational properties, including waterfront, farm & ranch, golf, and ski properties.
How Did You Get Your Start As An Agent?
I grew up in Bigfork, MT; my mom was a real estate agent and my dad was a builder, so I was exposed to the industry at a young age. After graduating from the University of Montana, I moved to Seattle and worked in sales in a variety of different industries. I eventually moved back to Montana with a plan to ground myself in the Flathead Valley. I have always had a passion for real estate and recreational properties, particularly in this area. Combining my background in negotiation, sales, and marketing, I formally entered the real estate business more than eight years ago and haven’t looked back. Today, working alongside this fantastic group of people at Revel Real Estate, doing something I truly love, I couldn’t be happier.
What Inspires Your Work?
Being around – and working with – a team of like-minded agents who desire the same uplifting, positive working energy that I do. While most real estate brokerages employ individual realtors or groups (teams) of agents, Revel is built on a culture of team and collaboration. There are no egos here; we genuinely love working together and building relationships. There is a synergy here that I have never seen anywhere else.
A day on the job showing a client around waterfront or ranch properties hardly feels like work. I feel fortunate to have amassed a great clientele over the last eight years. These people are not only my clients, they are also my friends. My favorite feeling is getting my clientele out on these properties. You can tell immediately if there is a fit. The future years their families will spend exploring and recreating on this new property is why I do what I do.
How Do You See the Industry Changing In The Next 5-10 Years? What Does That Mean For You?
Whether it’s a seasonal home or a full-time residency, people will continue to leave high density zones for more rural areas. Whether it’s for safety, security, or simply quality of life, this trend will continue well beyond the pandemic. Montana has certainly been targeted as a landing place for those choosing a less dense area to live. There’s something romantic about Montana, but it’s having greater implications for our area.
Specifically, it has changed our market prices and reset our market. Over the past three years, the average sales prices for residential properties in Flathead County have increased 36% and 25% in Whitefish, where average home prices now sit above $1M. While I don’t see the growth staying on this trajectory, I don’t feel like this is a bubble either. These prices are our new “normal.” We’re leveling the playing field with other similar mountain resort markets, like Park City, Telluride, and Big Sky.
What Can Your Clients Expect When They Work With You?
As an independent brokerage, we give each client a personalized experience based on their needs, desires, and experiences. We pride ourselves on our ability to react and respond quickly for the sake of our clients. At Revel, our support staff to agent ratio is unprecedented (four support staff for ten full-time agents). What this allows is greater attention to detail, specialized and unique marketing, and a faster turnaround time. While clients might interface with just one Revel agent, they can feel confident knowing that the agent is backed by an incredible team whose sole purpose is to support them.
What Is The Most Surprising New Development In Your Field?
The amount of wealth and the sheer number of people moving to – and investing in – the Flathead Valley. The number and scale of current development projects in the works here in Western Montana is unprecedented. No one would have considered developing most of these projects just a few years ago. But today, with the sheer influx of people and amount of wealth coming into the area, I do believe there is a need for these developments that didn’t exist before.
What Do You Enjoy Most About Living And Working Where You Do?
The reason I’m here (in Whitefish) is the same reason many people are moving here today: it’s a lifestyle decision. Living in Seattle, you can’t get an invite at 4pm to go fishing and expect to be on the river in an hour. But here, you can. Recreation is bountiful and easily accessible.
What Do You Do When You’re Not Working?
I spend every minute that I can outside. Whether it’s skiing with my daughters (Parker is 4 and Quinn is 3), wake surfing with my wife, Courtney, on Swan Lake, hunting with my yellow Lab, Fenway, or rafting, fishing, and camping, I am at my happiest when I’m outdoors with family and friends.
What’s the best Trip You’ve Ever Taken?
While I can’t name just one, my vacations are usually centered around the same passions I have here, just usually in warmer places. In the last few years, the pace of travel has dropped off due to the pandemic, two young children, and starting a new company. But, most recently, I have visited Hawaii, Florida, and Costa Rica. I love spending my vacations saltwater fishing, hiking, and spending time with my family.
What Music Are You Currently Listening To?
At the end of the week, all of us at Revel usually find ourselves around our bar (yes, we have a bar in the office) and open the turntables to spin a few records. Most recently, we’ve been spinning Paul Cauthen, Black Pumas, and The Rolling Stones.