If this real estate name is not on the tip of your tongue yet, it may well be very soon: JP and Associates REALTORS is one of the fastest-growing real estate brokerages in Dallas Fort Worth, and on its way to becoming the Southwest Airlines of real estate brokerages.
I’ll explain why in a second.
In the last two years, JP and Associates REALTORS has grown by an unprecedented 1000%. The founder, Giuseppe (JP) Piccinini launched his firm with only two associates out of his Frisco home in November of 2011. Four years later, he is nearing 300 agents and applicants knocking down his door. Of course the process isn’t easy-peasy, so why does everyone want to hang their license with the charming Italian-born immigrant?
JP dazzles me with his genuine smile and continental charm. But he is most certainly a ringleader.
“I was an agent, and I know what agents want as an agent,” says JP. “You always have to benefit the agent more than the broker. I know what I wanted as an agent and I have it right here.”
What does he have? A 100% commission operation for agents. Training, technology and five productive Metroplex offices Uptown, Forth Worth, Plano, Lewsville, and Frisco (not including Austin and New York locations) that are stunning but sleek, not heavy on square footage, not overhead hogs.
“Our biggest office is 1,500 square feet,” says JP. “JP and Associates REALTORS is a company designed to exceed expectations of agents and clients.” Just take a look at this video and see for yourself!
JP and Associates REALTORS is enjoying a 90% retention rate on its agents in an industry where the norm is about 50% or greater. That’s right — anecdotal estimates have said as many as 50% of new agents never make it through their first year as an agent. But I have heard, and read, that it may be more like 80%:
“The success rate [of new agents] seems to be fairly abysmal,” said Jay Niblick, co-founder and president of WizeHire. “It’s really surprisingly hard to find exact stats … but everyone we’ve talked to quotes an 80 to 90 percent failure rate. The question is why.”
So JP has created a brokerage that allows agents to keep more of their hard-earned commission and invest that money back into their business, while still getting top training and state-of-the-art technological support.
“JP allows us as agents and business owners to promote and further our own agenda and identity alongside of working with his brand,” says Jessica Wilson Smith, a former sportscaster. “He always tells us ‘it’s your business at the end of the day, I’m just here to help you promote it.'”
It’s working. In fact, when real estate prognosticator Stefan Swanepoel published his list of Dangers Impacting Brokers, one of them was “Brokers are undercut by outsiders offering the same support and services at a fraction of the cost.”
Who is this man, this ringleader, who is opening more Texas offices as fast as he can — in Rockwall, and Flower Mound?
He is a man who was not born privileged and grew up watching Dallas, the famous TV series of the 1980s, in a two-bedroom 900-square-foot apartment in Naples, Italy. His father worked with NATO, and the whole family emigrated to Wichita Falls in 1989 when JP was 13 years old.
“We were rooted from Naples to the desert,” he teases.
And he didn’t speak a word of English. The family lost their flight out of DFW and had to check into an airport hotel for the night.
“I remember how excited we were that night, looking out the window of our hotel at the huge airport, the cities and lights. We thought Dallas was the most beautiful place we had ever seen.”
His family settled in Wichita Falls and JP went to Burkburnett High School. Quickly he became an American through and through, trading in his Italian wardrobe for cowboy boots and jeans. When his parents returned to Naples, he stayed, attending Midwestern State University.
He got into aerospace engineering right before the 9/11 attacks put the U.S. airline industry into hard times. His engineering career took him around the world, and he even lived in Milan for two years before returning to the U.S. — to Columbia, South Carolina, where he left engineering and the corporate climbing dreams and ventured into real estate.
“It was there I had my Jerry McGuire moment,” says JP. “I realized I liked putting deals together and that I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny.”
By 2004, he was working for the largest brokerage in South Carolina a version of Ebby Halliday: Russell & Jeffcoat Real Estate where he quickly learned the ropes of residential real estate.
“After the first year, I was the number one agent in my office,” says JP. “After three years, I was the number one agent in my market. I had found my passion.”
A few years later he became a broker, and the family wished to move back “home” to the Dallas area. After doing some market research and selling real estate in DFW, his old stomping ground, he decided it was time for JP and Associates REALTORS to begin its story.
So he launched JP and Associates REALTORS out of his home, writing the company business plan on an airline air sickness bag coming back from a family vacation.
“I wrote it on a barf bag, which I still have!”
The original goal was to have a home office–based brokerage with 10 or 20 agents, max.
Now he is at 250, verging on 300.
“I like to keep it simple,” says JP, who admits he doesn’t charge monthly desk fees because he “didn’t want to mess with it.” He believes new days are coming for Real Estate agents, and his brokerage in particular.
The future of real estate is technology-driven, he explains. There will be more savvy buyers and fewer agents. Not to say that buying a house won’t always be a relationship-centric transaction at both ends of the spectrum. Lower price point buyers need an agent even more than high net worth buyers do.
And while the sizzle of the current market will uphold the broker status quo as long as sales are strong, JP believes his business model is recession-proof.
“When you sell fewer homes in a market, who is the first to chip in?” he asks?
The agent. They look for ways to keep more commission to make up for the lost sales.
There will come a time when JP believes his company could see unprecedented growth: the next recession.
“We are like the pizza of real estate,” says JP. ” When the recession hit, the fancy restaurants couldn’t sustain. But the pizza places all did just fine.”
So did Southwest Airlines.