Immediately after graduating from Thomas Aquinas College, Rolfe Kratz (‘97) returned to his home state of Virginia and started to partner with his mother as a realtor. Since then, he has cultivated numerous clients in the real-estate market of Metro D.C., a uniquely fast-paced market due to the high turnover of government appointees.

Mr. Kratz isn’t just any hard-working real-estate professional. After describing the benefits he received from the College — both the challenging academics and the moral formation — he goes on to say, “At the College, I was well prepared to work with the public in an ethical manner and to analyze the market and represent my clients in the most efficient way.”

Mr. Kratz has some unusual business practices. One is that he never has his clients sign the traditional buyer/broker contract that guarantees client loyalty. Instead, he earns their loyalty by making them happy with his service.

He also has an unconventional approach to commissions. “My mom always said that ‘you can’t out-give God,’ so I give my all to my clients, knowing that God will reward me in His way.” Instead of charging the 6 percent commission that is the industry standard, Mr. Kratz decides what his commission will be based on his client’s ability to get into the house he wants. “I respect all my clients,” says Mr. Kratz. “I see my job as not only finding the right house, but beyond that, doing whatever is necessary to get my client into that house, even if sometimes that means cutting my own commission.”

Cut commissions? Well, so far it hasn’t hurt Mr. Kratz any. His generosity is paying off for him as well as for his clients: He is in the top one percent of realtors nationwide for sales and commissions. In 2005 he qualified for the Chairman’s Club of Realtors, and his clientele is more than 80 percent referral. “But the way I measure success, finally, is not in dollar signs. It’s in the number of satisfied clients I have. I love my job.”