If Ebby could have flown down and hand-picked a charming, intelligent, engaging millennial to lead her company into the 22nd century, or what Thomas Friedman calls the “Age of Acceleration,” I have no doubt she would have picked Chris Kelly.

I had a chance to sit down and grill Chris last week, and even with my horse bucking-sore behind, I was glued to my seat listening, learning his background, vast experience, and take on the reality of selling real estate in a highly competitive, digital world where the full value real estate model is being chipped away by so many different entities. Who are they? Entities that sure did not exist when Ebby started the firm: the i-buyers, the 100 percent real estate commission crowd, and the disruptors who want to pack the entire real estate transaction into one easy online click. 

Click this: don’t forget that when Ebby Halliday started selling real estate, those cinder block homes in northwest Dallas, she was a disruptor herself!

But Ebby Halliday, now folded into the core of Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America, is the largest real estate company in Texas by sales volume, the twelfth largest in the country, and controls a huge chunk of the local real estate market with Ebby Halliday, Dave Perry-Miller, and Williams Trew in Fort Worth. The company sold more than $8 billion in real estate last year. Ebby left the company she created to her closest friends and family to nurture, so it had to be a very special person stepping into the president’s office at the company’s Sigma Road headquarters in North Dallas.

 

Even more telling: Chris Kelly is not settling into anyone’s old office. He is moving into the space just behind the reception desk at corporate. He doesn’t plan to be sitting in his office all day: Chris is mobile, spends a great deal of time outside of his office zipping between Ebby’s branch offices.

Three take-away zingers told me that Chris, the first attorney and first outsider to lead this company, is not just the right man for the job, he is the perfect man

“I serve the agents, so the agents can serve their clients,” said Chris, ” that’s my most important role.”

And, 

“Competition? It’s good for you — competition gives you the chance to sharpen your own tools…”

And,

“We have to understand that in Real Estate, there is now no Sears or J.C. Penney’s anymore, no middle of the road. There is either discount service or Neiman Marcus, and the Ebby Halliday Companies are the Neiman Marcus of Real Estate in North Texas. Especially now that the company has the power of HomeServices of America backing it with the vast, cumulative experience of so many similar brands. We no longer have to re-invent the wheel.” Jump for the video…

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Coldwell Banker opened its newest regional business center in Southlake. The facility consolidates operations in Colleyville, Southlake, and Keller. Company officials say that the unification of three smaller offices offers better access to marketing and support personnel. The 8,800-square-foot facility includes a large training space and will support 200 affiliated sales agents

“To have synergy and collaboration you really like to bring folks together,” Coldwell Banker Dallas/Fort Worth president Frank Obringer said. “What we’ve recognized is that if you are gong to support teams, you really do need to have some brick and mortar for those support people to come to.”

This is the fourth North Texas regional center Coldwell Banker has opened in the past 12 months. The other facilities include a new Arlington office, the Global Luxury office on Sherry Lane in Dallas, and a new facility near The Star in Frisco. Plans are also in the works to open a fifth regional center in the near future.

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Is there anyone more encouraging and passionate about the North Texas Real Estate community than Linda Argo? Member of the MetroTex Association of Realtors Leadership Academy class of 2013, Argo is a seasoned networker and expert recruiter sure to be an integral part of the team at Clay Stapp + Co. Argo just accepted the mantle of Director of Operations for the Greenville Ave. brokerage.

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marketing

This seems like a picture of the view from a cute little lake house, but a Jurassic marketing plan sold it in five days, with 45 showings.

Realtor Casey Lewis with Cearnal Realtors has been waiting for a good while to deploy his dinomite marketing strategy — and he finally did in Granbury last week.

In fact, when he saur this two-bedroom, one-bath lake house, he also knew that the owners wouldn’t think it was a pterrible idea.

Yes, you can see where we’re going with this, probably.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get raptored up in this mammoth marketing story of a ploy that, despite some super short arms, had tremendously long reach. (more…)

Vivo Realty Group just launched a new membership-based business model that provides the infrastructure that agents need at an affordable, tiered pricing scheme. The brokerage has three locations in North Texas: Plano, Uptown Dallas, and North Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District. (Courtesy Photo)

As members of our editorial team cover the annual National Association of Real Estate Editors conference, a recurring theme is the transformation of the traditional real estate brokerage. The existing model, industry disruptors say, no longer serves the individual agent. 

Locally, more and more brokerages are touting their digital assets, using social media and mobile apps to make real estate transactions easier for buyers and sellers. But what about infrastructure?

“The real estate industry is not just changing, it’s changed,” says David Maez Jr., co-founder and broker at Vivo Realty Group, which launched their new subscription-based brokerage model. “We had to think, ‘What’s wrong with the way we have been doing things for over 150-plus years?’ The brokerage model has failed to innovate and deliver what agents need: Flexible pay structures, places to meet clients and work from that are easily assessable, contract, and marketing support.”

So Vivo, with three offices in hot North Texas neighborhoods — Plano, Uptown Dallas, and North Oak Cliff — made a new model that fills the gaps of independent agents without sacrifices.

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Alex Doubet of DOOR, a flat-fee brokerage.

We all know Alex Doubet, his flat-fee brokerage Door, which is home-grown, founded and it turns out funded right here in Dallas/Park Cities. We know the story of how he founded the company right out of Harvard, because he thought his mom had paid too much to the agent when she listed and sold her own Park Cities home.

(Real estate brokers get paid thusly: the broker on each side of the deal takes, on average, three percent of the selling price of the home, which is split 50/50 broker/agent. So, if a house sells for $500,000, the seller and buyer’s broker(s) collectively take $30,000 off the table for themselves. But the 3% commission rate is almost always negotiated, especially in higher priced properties, as is the agents’ split. The Door way would be a $10,000 commission on this deal.)

Alex, like many Millennials, likes to think of himself as a disruptor. And he has done a terrific job of promoting himself to date, with billboard ads, even appearing on stage at Inman Real Estate Connect in NYC, which is a pay-to-play gig but hey, you get what you pay for. He listed a challenging neighbor’s home that did not sell, but they were very pleased with the service.

There is nothing new to his flat-fee brokerage model, that has been tried and, in some cases, proven successful at certain price ranges. It may even be successful at “uncertain” price ranges, too, as home prices contract.

But what is watchable about DOOR is that he is getting people to write checks to expand the company.

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And CandysDirt will be there right on the red carpet… will bring you photos, Who’s Who, and all the buzz…. straight from The Bomb Factory!

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid: a Major Wall Street Real Estate Disruptor has finally landed in DFW. Compass aims to own 20% of the US real estate market by 2020. 

Compass, which bills itself as a real estate technology company that also sells real estate, has launched their first Dallas office by merging with the small but mighty boutique firm known as The Collective Residential. The Collective, launched by Christy Berry and Jonathan Rosen almost one year ago, branded itself as an elevated real estate experience for the agents and the clients they serve. Rosen and Berry came from Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s, where they were two of the most consistently high producing agents.

Calling itself  “a unique boutique luxury brokerage comprised of dynamic real estate advisors (never agents) in Dallas- Fort Worth, with a focus on enhanced design and innovation that guarantees clients maximum efficiency and premier access to the city’s most exclusive properties and listings,” the firm vowed to limit itself to 30 or 40 agents at most. They currently have 13. Most recently Gaynelle Henger left Coldwell Banker to join The Collective, which boasts a beautiful office on Oak Lawn just south of Highland Park that resembles a sleek ad agency more than a real estate office. The firm also added Erin Duvall, Molly Duvall ThomasCallie Brickman and Duke Jimerson III shortly before the holidays. Jimerson is the son of veteran Dallas agent Duke Jimerson at Allie Beth Allman & Associates. The Collective has clearly been building a team of millennial dynamo associates with deep family roots in Texas real estate.

The merger with Compass was actually something the duo sought before creating their company.

Robert Reffkin

Ori Allon

“We we went to New York City two years ago and talked them into opening Dallas then, but they just were not ready,” says Christy. “The Compass philosophy is much the same as our’s, very agent-centric, but they have this huge, impressive tech component that we could never compete with.”

Nor, says Christy, will others. In the New York City office, Compass has a full time tech department of about 80 engineers sitting in one room consistently working on the company’s intuitively designed software for agents to advance and improve, she says.

“They hire from Pixar, Apple, Google,” says Jonathan. “The mantra is to have full time tech people in every Compass office.” (more…)