Steve Wydler wants all the Real Producers to know that he is younger, better looking, and more athletic than his brother, Hans. Oh … and he has less grey hair, too. The co-owners of Wydler Brothers of Compass have been business partners for 17 years now, but brothers their entire lives. “While we take our business extremely seriously, it really helps that Hans and I don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Steve acknowledges.
These siblings definitely play to their strengths and absolutely capitalize on the whole sibling rivalry angle. As open as books in their marketing, they tend to focus on the “human side” of who they are. “In our ads, you can see that we have fun with this business. Incorporating humor is very difficult in marketing because it can easily come off cheesy or unprofessional. I’m the first to admit that we may have crossed that line a time or two over the years, but I’m really proud of our core marketing mission.”
However, do not mistake Wydler clowning for anything but good, clean fun — that’s for the cameras! Behind the scenes is a whole other story. When they entered this business, they weren’t just looking to get in the game, their goal was to transform the industry. Steve confesses they have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. “We want to raise the level of professionalism. We believe that if you really put thought into it and give people strategic advice, you can truly help them make better decisions and have better outcomes.”
Steve jokes that he never once dreamt of becoming a REALTOR®, growing up. In fact, “just like Harry Potter and his wand, I didn’t choose real estate, real estate chose me.” Both his parents were entrepreneurs. His dad practiced law out of the dining room and, as Steve says, “My mom did sales from the bedroom. Get your mind out of the gutter! She was a sales agent for overseas manufacturers of pottery, selling to United States distributors.”
Steve followed in his parent’s entrepreneurial footsteps. He went to Dartmouth for his undergraduate degree and then Vanderbilt Law School. He practiced contract law as an Associate at Shaw Pitman and then as Assistant General Counsel for AOL. Then 9/11 happened, and shortly thereafter, his big brother began practicing real estate in 2001. Since Hans has an MBA from Harvard, Steve took it upon himself to severely mock his move into real estate. “Like any good brother, I made fun of him mercilessly.”
Little did Steve know at the time that his trajectory was about to change as well. In 2003, Steve switched gears and followed suit. “I wanted a career where I could utilize my skills and provide value. Real estate was a perfect blend of my skills, love of real estate, and an opportunity to work with my brother.”
Steve and Hans set out to create client experiences that would be “transformational” and were never willing to sacrifice the quality of service. Steve says their business has thrived for the following reason: “We believe that it’s the combination of talented people with well-defined roles, highly efficient systems, and best-in-class technology that has helped us become one of the highest producing teams in the DMV area and the nation.”
Career-wise, Steve and his team have done over $2 billion in volume. Steve also regularly sells over $50 million per year independently. In an effort to give back to the profession, Steve is serving his third term on NVAR’s Standard Forms Committee, helping to improve the contracts agents’ use every day. Of the many awards his team has received, Steve is most proud of being Arlington Magazine’s Best Real Estate Agent (as voted by the readers of Arlington Magazine), undefeated for eight consecutive years. In addition, Wydler Brothers won the prestigious Inman’s Most Innovative REALTOR®.
Then there’s the most notorious award Steve takes credit for: “Favorite son as voted by Mom.” However, it’s not all fun and games in the Wydler world. “When you work with a relative, especially a sibling, flashpoints come quicker than working with someone who isn’t related. But the core of any business relationship is trust and we explicitly trust each other,” Steve notes, adding they may not always agree on things, but they always hash it out. With a solid business arrangement, they’ve also learned to minimize those friction points, working out of separate offices and running their own P&Ls.
A common misperception Steve thinks the world may have of him is that he comes off as having a hard shell. But with two teenage daughters, “I have become quite sappy over the years. I can be a bit of a softie.” He says his oldest, 16-year-old Bailey, just learned how to drive (manual transmission!), and the youngest, 14-year-old Ivy, is an avid reader. “They certainly keep me on my toes, but it’s been a joy seeing them grow into incredible young women.” Steve wants to focus on spending as much time with his girls as possible before they go off to college.
In his spare time, Steve loves to play sports. He has played squash his entire life and is also a devoted golfer. Recently, he picked up tennis, which, he discloses, is more challenging than expected, “My squash skills aren’t translating as much as I thought they would.”