Realty Executives Premier could say they've had a good year. As 2016 closes, they are positioned to become the number one real estate company in Porter County, with 765 MLS closings and over $135 million in sales this year.
These numbers are impressive, but what makes it even more impressive is the amount of agents in which they do it with. They knew early on, they were not going to be the company for all agents.
“Having a large number of agents has never been a priority,” said Pam Tezak, who together with her husband Mike, founded Realty Executives Premier. “We’ve never wanted to be a large company.”
Mike interviews quite a few agents, but is cautious about bringing them on. Mike says they broke through the traditional cut-throat environment of real estate offices to create a collaborative and transparent environment. Maintaining that comradery is a primary concern when bringing on an agent.
“We want to make sure they are going to fit our diverse culture, and can really be team players.” says Mike Tezak.
Mike has also found success with not bringing on independent new agents right out of real estate school. “We feel it’s in the best interest of our clients, and the new agents.”
Pam explains there is a tremendous amount of practical knowledge that new agents still have to learn and they do not want their clients suffering through that learning curve. In the occasion of bringing on a fresh agent out of school, the new agent must be placed on a team with an experienced agent. If Realty Executives doesn’t have any current agents wanting additional team members, they do not hire the new agent.
Mike explains, “Sometimes when you have big offices, or multiple satellite offices with lots of part-time, inexperienced, or non-producing agents you sacrifice quality, consistency and the ability to shift quickly with changing markets. In the end, the client is the one who suffers.”
Things were not always looking this favorable for Realty Executives Premier. The cards were stacked against them when they opened. The local “experts” had all told them they would fail. The Tezaks knew even in the best of situations, the average company fails before 5 years. But to make things more challenging, the recession was on the horizon when they opened. Thanks to a strong international company Tezak believes he was a little more prepared for the downturn.
“Trends in real estate tend to start in California, Arizona and Florida. These are all states where we have a strong presence. Because we were already hearing what they were experiencing, we planned accordingly.”
The same happened with the recent upturn, Mike started to get word early on as prices started to stabilize, so he knew it was just a matter of time for our area. “Realty Executives International is not a publicly traded real estate company, so decision making is much easier. We can adjust quickly without approval of shareholders, or non-real estate parent companies.”
As it turned out, that decline was exactly what catapulted Realty Executives Premier into a major player in the local real estate industry. It was in that market that most home buyers and sellers created a demand for experienced, full-time agents. People were no longer satisfied with incompetent and unknowledgeable agents. In any market, the slightest misstep can cost you thousands of dollars. But this is especially true is down or “hot” markets.
“Its pretty obvious why experience is key in weak markets.” said Tezak. “But surprisingly, in strong markets like we are experiencing now, both buyers and sellers become less guarded, and are often taken advantage of by unscrupulous or inexperienced agents working on behalf of their brokers with questionable practices.”
The agents at Realty Executives knew that if they stayed focused on what they do best by providing the very best service, staying current on neighborhood trends, and providing the best marketing tools for each specific client that they would continue to be successful. Realty Executive agents do not use games, gimmicks or “some restrictions may apply” stipulations. They realize that most clients want knowledge, competence, truthfulness and dedication to getting them the best deal, whether it’s on the selling or buying side.
“I can honestly say that our agents are the foundation of our success.” Mike and Pam said. “They realize that although the ever changing market demands the latest technology and internet presence, but at the end of the day it is a people-driven industry.”
Mike adds that, “there is no amount of technology that can make up for knowledge, competency and excellent customer service. Collectively, everyone within Realty Executives Premier wants to excel. They go above and beyond anything I could ever ask. We have built a true team! They coach each other, celebrate successes, and guide each other through challenges. It’s an environment where they genuinely want to see each other succeed.”
Even with this new milestone, Realty Executives refuses to sit back and rest on their laurels. They will continue to be guided by the simple principles they started with. “Is it truthful? Is it fair? Is it profitable? Is it transparent? Is it consistent? and Is it on purpose?” If each one of those questions is confirmed, then they know it's a good business decision.
“Those values, posed as questions, apply to everything from business practices to the clients we serve.” Mike says.
The Tezaks goal each year has been to be a little better than the year before. Not to focus just on numbers.
“We want to always continue to improve. We question what we can be doing better, more efficient, or differently. We look at how the market is changing and improve on those areas. When that translates to numbers, it is just that much more rewarding. To reach number one in Porter County means our agents’ diligence and hard work is paying off.”
“We are so humbled that enough people placed trust in us with what is often times their largest financial transaction, to make us number one.”
To the Tezaks, they are much more proud of the culture the agents have created for the company. “The integrity our agents display day in and day out is much more far reaching.”
“Don’t get me wrong,” said Mike. “The numbers are great! But at the end of the day, to Pam and I, and hopefully all of our agents, knowing we are doing business the right way, working hard for every one of our clients and that it is paying off, is much more gratifying than just being number one.”
When asked what their goal is for 2017, the Tezaks say, “To be a little better than we are today.”