Tammy Murphy has carved out a 20-year career in real estate, a profession that eventually brought her back home to Dayton. There, she established her own brokerage, Real Homes to Love, in January 2014. After accruing realty experience with larger firms, Murphy created her company to offer personalized service to clients supported by a deep understanding of the Dayton-area community and housing market.

“We understand we’re selling more than the house,” she says. “It’s the lifestyles, it’s the community aspect of everything that we do.”

Murphy’s time with larger brokerages taught her much, but one aspect that directly influenced her philosophy for Real Homes to Love was giving clients a consistent point of contact. She points out that larger firms often pass clients from one employee to another through the buying or selling process.

“We help guide and direct and advise,” Murphy explains. “We don’t rely upon somebody to take over from this step forward—we’re there with them through the inspection, through the appraisal process, through their lending, because people have questions along the way.”

This full-service approach is especially helpful for first-time buyers and those who haven’t purchased a new home in many years. Housing markets have changed wildly over the last 10 to 20 years and those looking to downsize now or make a change are entering a market that looks completely different than it did when they bought their previous home. And, for some, the fears of 2008’s housing crisis still linger.

All of this adds greater importance to Real Homes to Love’s supportive, communicative approach with homebuyers and sellers, one that builds a long-term relationship between clients and their agent. This client-centric, community-focused approach is what Murphy thinks sets Real Homes to Love apart.

“Why would I drive down the road to go to the Home Depot,” she says, “if I know Englewood Hardware is going to have a guy in the aisle who’s going to tell me exactly what I’m looking for? He’s there because he knows where everything is on the shelves because he put it there. That’s kind of the connection that you get with a small brokerage, is that you’re going to get that personal service. You’re ultimately the focus of our attention throughout that whole process and even after.”

Even in spite of a hot seller’s market, Dayton homes can offer a level of convenience and affordability that appeals to a wide range of buyers. Murphy points out the diversity of economic industries available throughout the region and the lack of long commutes to get from residential areas to commercial districts as two factors that enhance the overall cost-effective price of homes. But homebuyers don’t just want a good house and a stress-free drive to and from work; they’re also looking for a community that has plenty to offer.

For Murphy, her and her agents’ knowledge of their hometown makes all the difference in that regard as well.

“I like to be that mechanism where they can get on our website and see what’s going on in this community (or that),” she says. Interested buyers and sellers can find the company online at rh2l.com. “We can really be informative—that perspective we have really gives people the option to say, ‘Oh, that’s worth going out and exploring.’”