I remember the first time I met J.P. Piccinini at his office in Plano. He was hosting a Realtor event, a ribbon cutting, with special guest Fredrick Eklund, the Swedish-born New York City real estate broker, Bravo TV reality star of Million Dollar Listing, former IT entrepreneur in his native Sweden, and non-fiction writer. He told me to go get a photo with Fredrick, make myself at home. I did. I knew, and I think I wrote at the time:
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.
Now he is buying one of the largest brokerages in Austin with $400 million in sales and more than 200 licensed agents and brokers across the state. I was right. The growth of JP and Associates has been phenomenal. The company has grown over 700 percent in the last three years, stretching out from that one Plano office where Eklund demo’ed a kick for me, to 10 or more offices in the DFW area, plus Austin, NYC, and Houston.
And now the sky is truly the limit. Prior to the acquisition of Private Label Realty, JPAR was forecasting $1.6 to $1.7 billion in sales volume for 2017, or 60 percent growth. JPAR was featured in the Dallas Business Journal‘s 2017’s Top 20 Largest North Texas Residential Real Estate Brokerages and ranked No. 586 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 List of America’s fastest growing private companies.
Throw in those 200-plus licensed agents and brokers in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio — sizzling markets all — and JPAR is poised for even more growth.
I profiled JP a couple of years ago, and his humble background made me love him even more.
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 uprooted from Naples to the desert,” he teases.
“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, JP was working for the largest brokerage in South Carolina: Russell & Jeffcoat 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 then moved back “home” to the Dallas area. He launched JP and Associates REALTORS out of his Frisco home in 2011, with three agents. He wrote 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 concept: a 100 percent commission model, as is Private Label Real Estate. That’s the model to sustain future changes in the industry, he believes, as agents get squeezed on commissions and consumers. JP also claims an 80 to 90 percent retention rate of agents, unheard of in the industry. It’s a full-service brokerage at a transaction fee cost for the agents, with a culture of productivity and service to the community and to its fellow agents. The company has listed some of the finest homes in North Texas, from Highland Park to Pilot Point.
“I was an agent, and I know what agents want,” Piccinini once told me. “You always have to benefit the agent more than the broker. I know what I wanted as an agent, and we have it right here at JPAR.”
Twelve-year-old PLR has that same 100 percent commission model, more than $650 million in 2016 sales, and more than 200 licensed agents and brokers in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.
The combined firms should kick out a total of more than $2 billion in combined sales volume 2017.
JPAR’s total agent count is now 1,100, making it one of the largest independent brokerages in Texas.
“The talent and market knowledge of PLR combined with JPAR’s productivity and service culture will continue to lead and expand our motto of exceeding expectations of our clients and agents across Texas,” said Guiseppe (JP) Piccinini. “Austin is one of the hottest, if not the hottest real estate market in Texas. Word is that Amazon is going to choose Austin for its next HQ.”
Well, maybe. Piccinini plans to open offices in south Austin and north Austin, and is moving PLR’s management and, hopefully, agents over to JPAR.
“I think the majority will transfer to JPAR,” he says, “our transaction fees are actually lower.”
And Charles Galati, SVP and General Manager of PLR, will be joining JPAR as part of the acquisition.
Galati told Inman: “PLR was created to support producing agents who want to keep more of their commission and work in a fun, rewarding and exponentially growing environment. By aligning ourselves with a leading Texas brokerage that mirrors our agent-centric culture, our agents will be able to capitalize on the additional support, tools and services that JPAR has to offer.”
Stay tuned: JPAR is planning further U.S. expansion outside of Texas. And more congrats to JP, who is getting married this coming weekend!