In this week’s Agent Migration column, we catch up with a former Virginia Cook agent from Fort Worth and meet a California newcomer. Did you make a big move? Contact Joshua Baethge.
Stephanie Quevedo Happy to be at Christie’s Ulterre
Stephanie Quevedo is settling in with the Giordano, Wegman, Walsh, & Associates (GWW) team at Christie’s Ulterre. She started at the end of May after previously being affiliated with Virginia Cook Realtors. While her former employer’s closing was a shock, she feels it may ultimately turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Jenn Riley Rice is joining the Heather Guild Group at Compass Real Estate.
According to Rice, the technology offered by Compass should streamline her job and allow her to spend more time with her clients. She also already knew several members of the Heather Guild Group team and was really inspired by their dedication to both their clients and the East Dallas community.
“These women are actively involved in their neighborhood schools and community, as am I, so it feels like a perfect fit,” she said. “I can see and appreciate how supportive they are of one another, which can be a rare thing to observe.”
Rice is a lifelong Texan who moved to North Texas when she was 11. She’s spent the past two decades in East Dallas, which is also where she has the majority (though certainly not all) of her business.
“What I love most about East Dallas is all of the interesting people that create our tight-knit community,” she said.
Team JenniSto members Miranda Ashley, Jenni Stolarski, and Emily Ruth Cannon
After a decade with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s, Jenni Stolarski has joined Compass real estate.
“It was a hard decision because we had been at Briggs Freeman a long time and had gotten used to the support that we had,” she said. “On the other hand, when the technology and the marketing services and support staff that were offered to us were laid out in full, it was pretty clear what decision was going to be best for our clients.”
About three years ago, Compass Real Estate agent Phillip Murrell discovered an attractive off-market duplex in the M Streets. He liked it so much, he and his partner bought it. Then they had to decide whether to seek out a long-term tenant or try the short-term rental market.
“At that point, Airbnb was big but a lot less tested than it is now,” Murrell recalls. “I didn’t know anyone personally who did an Airbnb.”
He initially rented out the bottom unit to a client who needed a place for six months. Upstairs, he began adding consignment furniture along with some of his own. Before long it was time to list the space and see what happened.
“The response was almost instant,” Murrell recalls. “Upstairs we were getting well over $2,700 per month.”
Last week Joe Kacynski joined Allie Beth Allman & Associates after more than nine years with a boutique brand.
“I really didn’t want to leave where I was but they (Allie Beth Allman) just offer so much that will help me grow my business,” he said. “They also have great name recognition in the area that many of my clients are moving to.”
Kacynski’s specialty has been historic homes in East Dallas, particularly the Hollywood Heights neighborhood he’s called home for the better part of two decades. A Los Angeles native whose job and family brought him to Texas, he initially didn’t know what to make of Dallas. Then he discovered a Spanish-style house that reminded him of home, in a neighborhood with its own distinct vibe.
“My agent never even mentioned Hollywood Heights or Lakewood. It was a very niche market back then,” he recalls. “I found East Dallas just driving around one day by myself.”
Longtime journalist Jason Sickles is trying his hand at real estate. He recently joined Fathom Realty, a cloud-based brokerage that now has a presence in 75 markets across 19 states.
“Fathom’s an agent-owned virtual brokerage and I believe in the direction they’re heading,” Sickles said. “Their commissions are more favorable to Realtors, and the company’s principles track my own: love, service, integrity, acceptance, respect, support, charity, and family.”
Sickles grew up in East Texas before moving to Dallas in 1989, two days after he graduated high school. A month before he turned 18, he took a part-time job at the Dallas Morning News answering phones for the sports department. By the time he graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a criminal justice degree, he was a full-fledged journalist for the paper. He later worked in both TV news and at Yahoo News.
John Jones is enjoying his new home at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate. He joined the firm in February, forming a new team.
“I’m really happy to be part of the Dave Perry-Miller team and I’m really excited about some of the changes going on over here under the new CEO,” he said.
Jones has teamed up with Sam Bullard to form the Bullard/Jones group. The two are longtime friends and have both been active in the East Dallas neighborhood where they reside.
This will mark the 20th year that Jones has been involved with real estate. He began on the mortgage side where founded Homewood Mortgage. For the past decade, he’s been selling homes, which he says he enjoys because he gets to help people. The job requires him to rely upon his analytical skills and utilize his finance and accounting background, two things that he thoroughly enjoys.
“This is a good job for people who like to be involved in the community,” he said. “I just like being on the go and helping make what for many of them is their largest purchase.”
By the time Virginia Cook Realtors officially shut down this week, the vast majority of agents from the firm’s six locations had already found new homes. Many of them were hesitant to talk about the experience out of respect for their former boss. Those who did generally shared the sentiment that they were saddened by the company’s demise but also grateful to find new firms that fit their personalities and business goals.
When Virginia Cook’s closure plans were initially revealed, search committees were formed at the Forest Lane and Park Cities offices to help agents decide where to go next. Representatives from multiple firms were then brought in to make their pitches.