"I think that success is being of value. Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. I believe that if you can be seen as a value to others, you’re becoming successful." - Jeff Smart
Sometimes life's path lies all in one's genes.
Jeff Smart grew up in a real estate family. As a child, he spent a lot of time in the brokerage offices helping to do administrative functions such as putting together purchase agreements. Being a born and raised Tri-Citian, Jeff’s experience makes him a natural at knowing where to go and what to do in the area, which is always a plus in the real estate world.
“I'm a second-generation REALTOR whose father started the brokerage I’m currently running 52 years ago,” Smart shares. “I could consider my ?rst job as that of a real estate transaction coordinator at the age of 10 years old. On Sundays, we'd drive around and go to open houses as a family activity. Our summer vacations were postponed to November to attend the annual NAR conference. Although I've only been technically licensed for close to 20 years, I've been involved and attached to the Real Estate business my entire life."
With real estate around every bend in his early life, Jeff initially took a separate path, venturing off to college at Washington State University. (WSU). After obtaining a BA in Communications, he pursued a career in broadcasting. He found broadcasting to be fun as he was a local celebrity doing news reporting for radio and television. After some time, he realized, while it was fun to work on air, fun didn’t pay all the bills.
Jeff's direction changed to work within a similar industry - Broadcast Technology. He designed, built and managed distance learning systems for WSU where professors could teach live courses to multiple locations at the same time and interact with their students face to face in real time. As well, Smart worked in the music broadcast business. He managed a global distribution network delivering background music to more than one million business locations around the world.
Travel was a major part of the music broadcast business. Soon, disenchanted with the travel portion of his chosen career, Jeff began to reach back to his real estate roots. “When I was 10 years old, my father and I were visiting one of the branch offices of Smart REALTORS‘ in Pasco,” Jeff recalls. “The manager asked me if I was going to take over the business when I got older and I emphatically told him no. I think about that moment every day now. It reminds me that sometimes in life you are just destined to do something, and you'll end up there no matter what path you take.”
Today Jeff is content with his career path and decision to continue in the family business. “It was a natural thing for me to become a REALTOR“: It's literally in my blood. As much as I worked in the tech arena, I knew that I’d be working in real estate at some point. It’s a decision that I'm glad I made. I'm having a great time, enjoying my life and having fun." Most recently, Jeff brought on the HomeSmart brand to his brokerage. Under the new name - HomeSmart Elite Brokers - the brokerage can offer the Realtors more technology, more support and tools to better their business. "It''s always been about serving the public and with the tools that HomeSmart brings to the table, it's a perfect fit." Smart feels that if the Realtor has better equipment and technology, they can help their clients to a higher level.
Learning the ins and outs of the industry from his father, Jeff can offer many pearls of wisdom. Looking up to his father, he remembered his dad's advice his ?rst years as a licensed REALTOR’? “I've always stressed in my office the need for communication in all forms. Talk to your clients, not just the current ones, but all your clients. Be available to them. Educate your clients on how the process of selling or buying real estate works. Be the expert you are supposed to be. Spend at least 2 hours per day reaching out. If you do this, you'll be of value and we know that being of value is being successful."
Jeff is passionate about his role as a leader in his office. “I work with some of the best REALTORS” in the business in my office. The depth of knowledge they have is astounding. I feel so blessed to have the office I have. The Smart - Realtors brand has been here for 52 years and I’m thankful for being able to guide the ship.”
Although Jeff's days are busy helping his fellow REALTORS and customers, he has a passion for advocacy for Realtors and the public. He is on the board of directors for the Washington Association of Realtors as the Treasurer through the end of 2020. Most recently, he has announced his candidacy for the position of President of the Washington Association of Realtors in 2022/2023. (The state association helps the local associations advocate to our legislators in Olympia and Washington DC to pass legislation that is favorable to home owners and small business owners.)
When not running the family business, Jeff enjoys family time and the ?exibility of his career. Smart has time to spent with loved ones as well as to devote to coveted charities within the community. “I love the work schedule that being a REALTOR gives me.
I can plan my day the way I want it, take time off to see kids, grand kids or have lunch with Dani.”
Jeff’s family includes wife, Dani, and 5 adult children (Zach, Emmy, Shea, Rebecca and Jeff Jr.). Most of the Smart children still live in the Tri-Cities area with the exception of daughter Emmy. Emmy is across the country in North Carolina with her husband and 2 sons.
As self-proclaimed ‘empty nesters’, Jeff and Dani love to keep up with family and their special interests. “We have everyone that’s available come to Sunday brunch or a dinner once a week. We try to see as many of the kids and grandkids as we can all the time. Aside from family stuff, Dani and l have a place in South Richland where we have enough work to keep us busy while out of the office. Between the fruit trees, chickens, building projects and upkeep of an older home, we ?nd ourselves to be plenty busy."
Keeping busy is an understatement for Jeff. He is currently pursuing a law degree as well as involved with the local Knights of Columbus. A favorite activity is the Knights Community Hospital Equipment Lending Program (KCHELP). The group hands out (free of charge) medical equipment to anyone in need regardless of any affiliation.
More recently, Jeff and Dani added their sweet dog Otto to the mix. More than just a sidekick who won’t leave Jeff’s side often, they had him trained as a Certi?ed Therapy Dog. Otto works at Kadlec Hospital as a part of a group called Pet Partners where he comforts those going through rough times. “He enjoys going into the ICU and Pediatric wings,” Jeff shares. “He seems to know where he is needed every time he goes to work. It’s amazing the relief the patients get when he walks into the room. He also likes playing with the doctors and nurses as well. They need support with what they are doing too.”
Travel and golf are also favorite ways to spend downtime for Jeff. He smiles, “Find me a beach and sunshine and l’m one happy person.” When not able to escape to a beach, Jeff escapes by taking his motorcycle for a spin. lt has been a favorite pastime since he was young - due in large part to growing up on a cattle ranch in Kennewick. “I rode motorcycles all the time,” he says. “It was easier and quicker to herd cattle than saddling up a horse. Now it’s an escape from the cell phone at times and something to do with my sons.” Recently he and his sons took a trip outlining the state of Washington - a trip that was planned to commemorate his youngest son’s high school graduation. “We had such a great time and saw so much of this great State. I really do think we live in the best part of the country.”
Looking to the future and legacy of the family business, Smart - REALTORS®, Jeff is humble amid his successes. He sums it up by sharing, “I think that success is being of value. Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. I believe that if you can be seen as a value to others, you’re becoming successful.”