When people ask Chris Papineau how long he’s been in real estate, he always answers, “Since I was nine.” That tends to get a great reaction. Like all kids, Chris was a sponge, absorbing lessons at the dinner table and from the backseat of his family’s car. His parents were his first professional mentors.
Gretchen Papineau and her husband, Tom, have been a real estate duo since the early ’90s, and their family-mindedness has influenced the way they’ve done business. Clients became family friends for decades, and colleagues — some of whom Chris works alongside today — have honorary spots in the “My Former Teachers” section of his heart.
When Chris joined the Papineau Team in 2009, he was already equipped with the “person-first” approach his parents taught him, which helps the trio achieve their full potential. Chris notes an uptick in recent years of buyers who just want to click on an app, find a “door opener,” and then “disappear back into the ether of the internet.” “I want to see who’s typing to me on their phone,” he says. The team stands firm in the belief that the best way to serve buyers and sellers is to fully understand their needs. Getting to know them, person-to-person, makes that process natural and authentic.
This appreciation for authenticity means the Papineaus are careful not to speak without expertise. In these fast-paced, web-based days, says Gretchen, plenty of agents are willing to show houses anywhere within driving distance. But that approach isn’t compatible with their family’s standards. When buyers are looking somewhere they’re not wholly familiar with, the Papineaus call up a colleague in that area. “I would rather refer a buyer to that agent,” says Gretchen, “so that they really get a sense of the area. I can find an address and open a door, but that’s not my values. I think that’s really important and differentiates us.”
The focus on familiarity is of great benefit to the team’s clients because of how thoroughly their brains are steeped in local information. They’re “able to drive the Andovers in our minds with our eyes closed,” says Chris. And, he continues, it helps to have “a 3D floorplan in your head, having been in all these homes over the decades — those little details — the crown molding in a room that doesn’t show up in photos.”
Such attention to detail goes into helping both sellers and buyers. Preparing a house to put its best foot forward, even in small, thoughtful ways, can fully maximize a seller’s proceeds from the sale. Strategic updates can mean the difference in the quality and quantity of offers a seller receives for consideration. The Papineaus get involved in the nitty-gritty of making it happen and also work alongside a full team of professionals. This attention to detail in every aspect shows how much they care about their clients.
When the pandemic hit, the Papineaus never stopped serving their clients. They immediately began implementing new tools, such as the well-received Matterport space capture software, which allows buyers to tour home interiors remotely as though a mini Google Street View car had passed through.
As to one of the most simple-yet-meaningful ways in which the Papineau team serves its clients, we turn to Chris’s lifelong language geekdom. He’s fluent in French but dabbles in several other languages. Chris says being multilingual has let him forge instant bonds that would have otherwise taken weeks to develop. When people have traveled far to reach their new community, “Communicating with someone in their language really does remind them of home.”
The Papineau Team
Coldwell Banker Realty