REALTOR® Profile, Jennica Holmquist

jennica holmquist

When you talk to Jennica Holmquist, it is readily apparent that this is a real estate professional who doesn’t let much stand in her way, get her down or keep her from moving ahead. 

A go-getter who started in the industry when she was just 20 years old, this REALTOR® with Washington Lifestyle Homes (Keller Williams) in Tacoma has already served as the past president of the Tacoma-Pierce County Women’s Council of REALTORS® and is the current YPN chair for the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS®. A 2018 REALTOR® Magazine 30 Under 30 honoree, Holmquist continues to break down barriers in the industry—and then climb up onto the ruins to get to the next level. 

Holmquist’s career trajectory started while she was still in her teens and working as an assistant manager for Massage Envy. Ready for a change, Holmquist learned about real estate from a friend’s mom who happened to be a REALTOR®

“We connected and I worked with her for a little while,” says Holmquist. “Then, I realized that I wanted to get out on my own, so I left my other job and jumped into real estate.” Three months later, 21-year-old Holmquist was working full-time at her new real estate career. 

Ready to get to the next level in her career and learn the ins and outs of running a business (versus just being in real estate), Holmquist joined Keller Williams. Last year, she joined forces with Cristina Ross to form the Washington Lifestyle Homes team, which also includes a transaction coordinator, an administrative support professional, and a social media expert. 

Determined to Get It 

Ever since she got into real estate, Holmquist has set her sights on REALTOR® Magazine’s 30 Under 30. “I had that baby on my radar from day one,” she says. “In fact, I’ve even used ‘30 Under 30’ as a password for a while; I was determined to get it.” For example, she knew that industry involvements would help propel her to the top of the candidate list, so four years ago she started volunteering her time and insights to groups like YPN and the Tacoma-Pierce County Women’s Council of REALTORS®. For the latter, she started out as a committee planner and then subsequently moved up into the roles of secretary, incoming president, and president.

“I was a part of WCR’s leadership for five years and I’m still involved, and not just on the board level,” says Holmquist, who sees significant value in such participation, and encourages other agents to get involved on this level. “From being involved with WCR, I began traveling to the national meetings and was able to get involved with YPN, which introduced me to the political side of our industry and the importance of being involved at that level.” Cumulatively, Holmquist says these involvements helped her become a 30 Under 30 honoree this year. 

“I wanted that honor so badly because of the relationships that I knew were going to come from it,” she explains. “When I think of the people I talk to on a daily basis, much of the time they’re real estate agents from across the country and friends that I’ve met from going to conferences. I look forward to forming even more relationships from being a part of the very tight-knit 30 Under 30 group.” 

jennica holmquist “It’s Going to Change Your Life”

When Holmquist flew to Denver to mastermind with other 30 Under 30 honorees earlier this year, several colleagues had already told her that her life would never be the same once word got out about the award. “They kept saying, ‘It’s going to change your life,’” she recalls, “but I didn’t know what that actually meant.” It didn’t take long for Holmquist to figure it out. “The sheer number of resources and people who were there in Denver, and the level of conversations that those people were having with one another,” says Holmquist, “made me realize that I needed to get more together on things.”

The changes didn’t end there. Holmquist says the high-energy group that she suddenly found herself a part of pushed her to think harder about her own career and her potential in real estate. Since then, she’s participated in an industry panel in St. Louis, Mo., and been interviewed for a podcast. “There’s already been a few cool things to come out of the 30 Under 30,” says Holmquist, “and I’m looking forward to continuing my role as part of this very driven, motivated group of agents.”

Not one to avoid tough, controversial topics, Holmquist says she respects companies that aren’t afraid to voice their views on social justice and related issues. “I respect them so much more for that,” she says, “and I think that as REALTORS®, we need to do the same. We’re not afraid to use our voice.” In July, for example, her team set up a booth at Pride in Tacoma, and it also regularly attends Tacoma Community House luncheons (the center is for immigrants who are coming into the area). It also supports Planned Parenthood and donates to other community groups. “It’s important to stand up for what you believe in,” Holmquist says, “and I haven’t seen too many other people in our industry going in this direction.”

Not Just Selling Houses  

Working 95% on referral, the Washington Lifestyle Homes team relies heavily on its strong, established relationships to fill its pipeline. “We plan events, send out birthday cards, and do everything else it takes to stay out in front of people,” Holmquist explains, “so that they remember who we are.” 

Right now, Holmquist is in the middle of hiring a director of operations who will be charged with implementing new systems and helping the team work even more closely with its surrounding community. “I’m pretty excited about this move,” says Holmquist, who has been revamping her team’s logo and brand in a way that reflects that community and the people who live there. She’s looking forward to doing even more community events, and serving as a valued resource for other business professionals and individuals. 

“We want to be a resource of vendors, referrals, and other things that we can provide for the community—not just selling houses,” says Holmquist. “For example, we’ve talked about maybe starting a rental affiliation with our company and just seeing what we can do to make an impact on what’s been missing in our area.”

As she mulls over these and other possibilities, Holmquist says she’s always keeping an eye on “what’s next” while also sticking to thoughtful, calculated team growth. “With a lot of teams, you experience a high increase in growth and then either the production isn’t there, or they grow too quickly,” she says. “We’ve been really cautious about that. I want to make sure everyone on our team feels productive before we start adding more team members.” 

Let’s Just Do This 

Like many young entrepreneurs, Holmquist put a lot of pressure on herself to succeed at a young age. She also felt the pressure of being a 20-something in a world where experience, knowledge, and market expertise are often associated with age. 

Holmquist says she struggled under the weight of everyone wondering how old she was, and the fact that she had yet to purchase her first home (incidentally, she did own her own home by the time she was 23).  

“At one point I remember thinking, ‘Maybe I should go get glasses to make myself look older,’” she recalls. “I wish that I didn’t put that pressure on myself because I see these younger agents coming into the industry that are killing it with their ‘let’s just do this,’ attitudes.”  

Getting and Staying Involved 

As you might have already guessed, Holmquist loves networking events, happy hours, and other opportunities to bounce ideas off her peers and colleagues. She credits YPN with helping her connect with other young real estate professionals, and says she’s formed numerous long-term relationships as a result of that affiliation. Her leadership role with the group propelled her into a brighter spotlight, and allowed her to connect with an even broader group of peers. 

“Some of my best friends came out of YPN, but that network took a long time to build; it didn’t just happen overnight,” Holmquist explains. “A lot of people go to these networking events and kind of just crowd surf, thinking they’re going to get business right away. But it doesn’t work that way.”

In lieu of the “crowd surfing” approach, Holmquist decided to get involved with YPN’s board. “I wanted to make an impact and learn from the association—not just come in and try to take what business I could get and walk away.” She says her board-level activities have helped her build both her business and her own professional pipelines. “I’m a firm believer in networking and also doing what you already love (i.e., playing soccer) in a group setting,” says Holmquist. “It’s fun to just get involved and then, subsequently, build more relationships out of those involvements.”

jennica holmquist

Looking Ahead 

As a current Political Action Committee (PAC) chair in Tacoma and a PAC trustee for Washington, Holmquist has her sights set on a national position in the near future. “My goal for next year is to turn in my first application for national,” she says. 

Solidly on the path to success, Holmquist works with a wide range of buyers and sellers in the Greater Tacoma area. During one such deal, some good friends had purchased a home in an area where they didn’t necessarily want to live. Three years later, she helped the couple sell that home and put the equity into a larger home located in a more desirable area. “It’s really cool to be able to help people achieve those dreams,” says Holmquist, “and to be a touchpoint at so many different points in people’s lives.”

Holmquist has come to view her age as an advantage, mainly because her longevity in the industry will virtually ensure that she’s able to help clients—and their friends and family—out at numerous different junctures. “Return clients make up the bulk of our business, and I can’t tell you how many baby showers and other events I’ve attended over the years,” says Holmquist. “It’s just a great honor to be part of my clients’ lives and to serve them in different capacities over time.”




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