So-Cal Team Centers on Hometown Excellence

Above, Julia Archuletta, fifth from left and Dave Archuletta, sixth from left, with their real estate team in Mission Viejo, California.

For Dave and Julia Archuletta, creating a thriving real estate team while raising five children in the historic nature reserve of Rancho Mission Viejo, California) has been challenging, fun and rewarding.

“Julia came to the business before I did,” said Dave Archuletta, who took turns as a musician and a music-focused pastor in the earlier years of his career. “She was busy and successful, but four years ago, about the time she was carrying our fifth baby, things got a bit stressful for her – and that’s when I got my real estate license and jumped in with both feet.”

That was in 2020, Archuletta said, just in time for the COVID debacle to disrupt life as we knew it. But in a year and a half, working together, the pair built a 14-member team, joined forces with Orange County’s esteemed First Team Real Estate, and last year closed $128 million in real estate sales.

Barbara Pronin: Dave, tell us a little about the area you serve.

Dave Archuletta: Rancho Mission Viejo was a family ranch that goes back to well before the turn of the 19th century. Today it is the last working ranch in Orange County. It’s 23,000 acres of creeks and canyons and a nature reserve that’s home to nearly 4,000 households determined to retain the area’s ranch-like ambiance even as it has morphed into a complex of multiple mixed-use villages.

BP: What would you say is the average sale price?

DA: It’s been rising fast. For a single-family home, it’s in the low-to mid-millions right now.

BP: And you’ve kept pace with the market?

DA: In the years we’ve doing business together, we’ve done 450 transactions and $475 million in total sales.

BP: So, there you were four years ago, mid-COVID with Julia pregnant. What was your strategy for building your team so steadily?

DA:  It was organic, really. We were never actually out there recruiting. Our agents liked the way we did business, and they pretty much came to us.

BP: What is it, specifically, that attracts them?

DA: Our core values, I think. Our value system is based on helping each other win. We operate on four basic principles – How we act: being welcoming, curious, and thoughtful. The kind of people who wave at strangers…How we serve, focused more on people work than paperwork. The kind of people who clear an afternoon to help a neighbor…How we think: Being masters of forgetfulness. That is, letting the past remain in the past…and how we impact: with 360 degrees of generosity – the kind of people who are generous in all ways, to team, clients, and industry. Everything we do is filtered through those four things.

BP: How does this translate to your client care?

DA: The Archuletta brand is about going the extra mile for their buyers and sellers to ensure their real estate journey is exceptional. We are committed to building lifelong relationships with our clients, providing unparalleled support, and making them feel they are part of something special.

BP: How are you organized as a large team? How do you manage. communication?

DA: Julia and I have different strengths. I’m the idea man, more or less, while Julia excels at management. I think that makes us effective co-leaders. The team meets once a week for sharing general information, and once a week for training on a host of current market topics. We believe we are responsible for the success of every agent, so we are always focused on mentorship, positive culture, and whatever they specifically are looking for. We have no walls up. We are fully transparent – and our doors are always open. We love it when an agent asks, hey, can we try it this way?

BP: Who handles administrative duties? 

DA: We have a great transaction coordinator who keeps deals running smoothly, and we just hired a director of sales who will be a valuable new resource to integrate new agents and help keep the team centered around our culture.

BP: Are you open to new agents – and if so, what qualities do you look for?

DA: We are open to new agents who are committed to excellence, who are open to training, and are a good fit with the unique culture we’ve established.

BP: And lastly, Dave, what’s your advice to others who want to build a successful team?

DA: First, I think, a real commitment to the success of every member of your team. I’ve heard it said that something like 87 percent of new agents fail – and if that’s true, I think it’s because they were lacking in training, mentorship, and a culture focused on being the very best you can be.

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