About Jay


jayintie-smallWhy I stepped off the traditional real estate path and why you should too.

SpringtreeTerritory is the website of Springtree Realty in Durham NC and the blog of its owner and Broker. That’s me, Jay Zenner.

I’ve been involved with real estate as an owner, renovator, investor, landlord, flipper, manager or agent since the late 60’s when I bought a duplex for $18,000, renovated it, lived in it and rented out the other half.

Most of my professional career has been in marketing including 17 years in banking, the occupation that brought me to Durham 25 years ago as marketing director of Central Carolina Bank.

Real Estate brokerage has been my primary occupation for over 5 years now and I’ve been the owner and broker-in-charge of Springtree Realty and its predecessor for over two years.

At the peak there were over 1000 active real estate agents in Durham, over 500 in Orange County and over 8000 in Wake.  The challenge for everyone in the business is attracting clients.  In marketing terms, an agent must do what any business must do and provide a a good reason why a client would chose you.  A unique selling proposition.

Here’s ours.


Many people would prefer to deal with a recognized name that does national advertising but I just can’t make the business case for it.  In a rapidly changing market being independent means being nimble.


Being my own boss means that I am free to negotiate the terms of our relationship any way that makes sense for both parties.   See the SERVICES tab for more information.

Low Cost

I’m all set up to work completely out of my home office although I do have and office on Lyckan Parkway near the Durham Association of Realtors. There I share space with a local entrepreneur who has developed the best home search tool for real estate agents in the world.  This gives me daily contact with some of the brightest minds in the Triangle tracking real estate trends. This keeps me on my toes.

More importantly I can keep my costs down because I don’t have to share commissions with a broker or pay desk fees, technology fees, franchise fees, etc.  This means that I can make the same living by giving better service or better prices to the clients I do work for.


Most real estate agents came from other careers.  Some were in sales, some were teachers, some were in the military, and some were housewives.  Real estate sales was, and is, a great opportunity for energetic entrepreneurial people that want to be independent.

My background in marketing gives me an edge especially for home sellers. Most of the marketing training that real estate agents receive is on how to market themselves to get clients. During the real estate boom that was all that was necessary. Now it has suddenly become important to know how to market homes. See the tab on SELLING for more on that.

For a short course in Marketing a home in the new environment, there are seven posts under the Marketing Series Category that I began publishing in mid November that provide a good overview. For even more check out the site I maintain for agents about 4 P’s Real Estate.


October marked the anniversary for me of 25 years as a citizen of Durham and I’m a big fan. When I was with CCB I was on the Arts Council Board and Chaired the Chamber’s Downtown Revitalization Committee.  While at the bank we initiated the Gold Star Teacher of the Year Awards and I was on the founding board of the Durham Public Education Fund.

Later I was the Chair of the Marketing Committee and on the founding Board of Downtown Durham, Inc. the organization that has been most responsible for the turnaround of Durham’s now fabulous downtown.  I’m downtown almost every week as a member of Durham’s oldest and largest Rotary Club. I’m currently publicity chair and soon to be Secretary of the Club.

People don’t just buy houses. The pick a neighborhood and join a community. One of the most important things about marketing a home in Durham is marketing Durham. Many of the blogs posts that you will see here will be about the great things happening in Durham. Knowing the market is an important aspect of marketing a home.

I’m licensed to sell anywhere in the state but Durham and the nearby communities are Springtree Territory and the only place I solicit listings.


I take my role as an agent very seriously. There are legal reasons for this but more importantly, it’s good business.  I’ll be your agent first and your friend second while we do business.  Rapport is important but I would rather have you recommend me because I did a good job than because I remembered your dog’s name (although I probably will.)

New Jay Sig

Jay Zenner