How to find your castle and protect your kingdom

How to find your castle and protect your kingdom

CastleWise Realty & Insurance President Tom York has a motto: “To find your castle and protect your kingdom.” 

As the principal of Jacksonville’s newest realty that offers a one-stop experience allowing clients to buy or sell a home while taking care of all insurance needs under one roof, he offers this advice: “Consolidating your contact points for everything related to your largest investment only makes sense. I started CastleWise because I felt that the service and attention to detail in both the insurance and real estate industries was lacking and I wanted to fix that. Over time, I’ve seen both industries fall prey to acquisition and franchise, and a lot of the personal experience you would expect has all but disappeared,” he said.

In both real estate and insurance, it is important that technology make things easy for the customer, he said. “Our firm offers an option for a fully touchless and electronic experience. Because it is important to have easy access to information on both your home purchase or insurance renewal, the fact that documents from both agencies can be bundled together on an app like the one CastleWise provides for both iOS and Android users, helps to simplify matters and make things easy for the customer,” he said.

“Technology should be used as a supplement to enhance a customer’s experience instead of replacing the critical human-to-human interaction so vital when buying a home or deciding on necessary insurance. People should have their semiannual risk reviewed with their insurance agent more than once a year, in person, on Zoom, or over the phone, to ensure that their personal risk management program is structured effectively,” he said, noting all that comes standard to CastleWise customers. “Life changes a lot throughout the year, and we want to make sure that we stay in lock step with our customers.”

In order to find the right product at the right price to meet a client’s individual need, it is important to have the right insurance agent, one that is able to check the offerings presented by as many different insurance carriers as possible, he said, noting his firm has access to more than 20, and that number is growing every month. Unparalleled market access is key, he said. 

And because each individual client is different, the kind of coverage and amount of insurance will vary from each person, so it is important to work with an agency like CastleWise, which offers a wide variety of coverage including personal auto and homeowners to commercial liability and even kidnap and ransom insurance. “It all boils down to the agent experience,” he said. “The key is working with a group that takes a consultative approach to your needs. If you haven’t talked to your insurance agent in the past year and don’t know their name, that’s a sign it may be time to make a change.”

The York Family
The York Family

The key is working with a group that takes a consultative approach to your needs. If you haven’t talked to your insurance agent in the past year and don’t know their name, that’s a sign it may be time to make a change.

— Tom York, CastleWise

Understanding that many first-time home buyers may not know where to start, York recommends selecting an agent that can offer personalized customer service and is committed to getting the best deal for the client. What they should look for is an agency like CastleWise, that has a stable of friendly, talented, and experienced agents who are able to draw on an intimate knowledge of North Florida’s neighborhoods and can offer exceptional guidance during every step of the homebuying process. “It is important not only to have a professional assist in the search for the right property, the agent should remain at the client’s side during home tours, negotiations, and the closing, to ensure the entire journey is hassle-free and enjoyable,” he said.

In selling a home, it is important that the agent do a complete market analysis of the neighborhood to determine the ideal selling price. Clients should also expect agents to assist them in professionally staging their home, he said. And once a buyer and seller come to a decision, it is important that a managing broker and full-time deal coordinator be on-site to assist so that scheduling, contracts, and closings come together seamlessly, he added.

Selecting the right agent, is perhaps the most important aspect in buying or selling a home. It is important to make sure they have familiarity with the neighborhood as well as the education, qualifications, and experience to serve you well, he said.  

A firm should have expertise in all areas of the region in which it serves, so that its knowledge-base covers a wide variety of neighborhoods and price-points,  he said. CastleWise’s current offices are based in Southside at 7220 Financial Way, Suite 300, just off J. Turnner Butler Boulevard, with expansion plans for offices in Avondale and Atlantic Beach. 

“As with any business, success depends on the quality of the agents and employees, and the quality of those who serve the company often depends on the compensation they receive,” he said. “You get what you pay for,” he said. “From the very beginning, at CastleWise it is our intention to always pay our agents and employees better than the rest of the market,” he said. “It’s important that both consumers and agents see the same benefits in doing a transaction – value, access to technology, and top-tiered support, which is what you get at CastleWise.”

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