“Being a leader is not about being the greatest, but inspiring others to be their greatest.”
In an industry that can so often be about sales numbers, awards, and competitive dynamics, Evan Johnson and Tom Bauer have taken an alternative approach. Leaving egos aside isn’t just chin music on their team; it’s the lifeblood of their culture. And, unsurprisingly, it’s working.
In 2020, the Wardman Residential team closed $77.7 million in business. The sturdy sales numbers are a testament to Evan and Tom’s success, but not the ultimate goal. “It is not about selling as much as helping our clients reach their goals, making the process as seamless as possible, and solving issues as they come up,” Evan says. “Team collaboration is one of our defined core values.”
“Our culture is the exact opposite of egotistical,” Tom adds. “We want people that are here to help each other and collaborate. We don’t pin agents against each other, numbers-wise. We don’t shame agents for sales. Your goals are your goals. That’s our noncompetitive part.
If you have agents only concerned about awards, they won’t be a team player. One of our core values is to be client-focused. If an agent doesn’t feel so much pressure, they can think more about their clients, they can act in their best interests.”
This team atmosphere leads to another favorable result: working at Wardman Residential is fun. Evan and Tom enjoy their work, and they enjoy the people they have the privilege of working alongside daily.
Tom is originally from New Orleans, and he’s had the opportunity to live in numerous places, including Hawaii. He spent time in Fairfax County as a kid, then returned to the area to attend George Mason in 1996. After graduation, he decided to stick around and has called the area home ever since.
Evan is from Anchorage, Alaska, and had the unique opportunity to move around the country due to his parents’ careers. Evan landed in Virginia in high school and stayed. “At the time, Tom was working as a teller at the bank, and I was involved in the bank as a client and investor,” Evan explains. “Pre-real estate, I was a general contractor, and one of our jobs was to build out the first branch of the bank, which was where we met.”
The couple met in 2000, and four years later, they got married in British Columbia. At the time, it was the only place in all of the United States and Canada where same-sex marriage was legal. “We went to Whistler every year,” Evan explains. “We felt married well before that but couldn’t get the sheet of paper.”
The Road to Real Estate
Evan obtained his real estate license in 2000, and Tom joined him in business during the summer of 2004. For Evan, moving from building homes to selling homes was a seamless transition. When Tom had the opportunity to work with his husband and build a more robust real estate team, he jumped on board. The couple has now been working together for 17 years.
“One thing we do well is separate responsibilities and don’t get in each other’s lanes,” Tom says. “That’s crucial. We’ve been doing it so long; it’s second nature.”
All these years later, both Tom and Evan remain passionate about their careers. They are devoted to growing Wardman Residential and supporting their agents.
“Moving from solo agents to team leaders requires a different mindset,” Evan says. “Creating seamless operations includes the best team members, employees, systems and operating procedures.”
“We are always looking for agents that match our core values and desired team collaboration,” Tom adds.
Never Stop Learning
Outside of real estate, Tom and Evan stay quite active. They enjoy daily workouts, boating, skiing, woodworking, visiting wineries, and travel. They continue to visit British Columbia almost yearly, and having a vacation booked gives them the inspiration to keep working hard.
In both their personal and their professional lives, Tom and Evan are committed to learning, growing, and expanding as human beings.
“Professionally, our goal is to be able to expand our team’s presence in the real estate community,” Evan says. “In 2021, we are hoping to bring on additional team members that match our culture.”
“And personally,” Tom adds, “we want to be remembered as positively touching people throughout everyone we meet—for giving back to people as much or more than those who have touched us.”