Now that word is out I’ll get right to it. After much deliberation and heartfelt appreciation for the Realtors, office, staff, friends, and brand we love and have worked with for the last ten years, our team is moving.
As of this week we are officially announcing the Keller Williams Real Estate Brand is coming to Downtown, Columbia, SC!
As word started to spread around the Realtor community, the first words out of some folks mouths were, “Why?” Here’s why – Opportunity. I relate it to this parallel: over the years, how many thousands of USC students have said, “Hey, someone should put a Chick-fil-A in 5-Points.” Fast forward 25, 20, 10 or five years (depending how old you are), and our cars are wrapped around the Chick-fil-A building twice sayin’ “Well, dang. Why didn’t I do this??” as we all wait on our sammies and nuggs.
While I don’t know squat about the restaurant business or chicken, I do know about opportunity and opportunity missed. When I learned why the company with the most Realtors in North America didn’t have a presence smack in our area of specialty, I had to get in front of the opportunity.
Here’s the rub, and most of my 2015 friends don’t know this about me. My dad practiced real estate in Boca Raton, Florida for about 15 years. He was the Top Producer year after year in Boca Raton, Florida. More specifically, The Polo Club, Boca Raton. It was swank. Chris Evert and Andy Mill lived there, Steffi Graf was the “Touring Pro,” Joey Sindelar was the golf “Touring Pro,” and on and on. Jennifer Capriati was the Touring Pro at the rival club called “Broken Sound,” and we were selling houses to lots of MLB players. You get the idea. After The Polo Club was almost completely built out, dad had a few decisions to make. He opened Champion Realty, which was located in the middle of about five or six competing lux country clubs. It was pretty cool. For a while all things were great until personal stuff started to happen and it was time to make a change. A new firm out of Austin, Texas called “Keller Williams” came to the door and offered stock in their company for “Champions” office/location. Well, in a situation where cash is king, stock doesn’t do much. Champion Realty chose another route. Fast forward to today, Keller Williams Realty is now the #1 company in terms of Realtors in all of North America.
Fast forward 20 years and it’s right in my face, in my professional and geographical wheelhouse. In short, I raised my hand and got ahead of the curve of what’s on the way. What I’m getting at is I’ve seen this movie before, and it’s Now Playing…..again. Knowing what I know I’d rather watch it again as a producer or director, rather than a viewer.
A few years ago three of my good lender friends approached a few young Downtown Realtors wanting to bring Keller Williams to the Midlands. Back then, I was too into a new career and didn’t want to rock any boats. Do I/we regret not going that route? No. Amy and I have loved every year we’ve been together at this job, and Amanda made it all the better, and then Elizabeth did the same. I wouldn’t change a thing. Further, the personalities that were in place probably didn’t mesh for what they were trying to build, and the office was not going to be Downtown. In short, the timing wasn’t right. Well, now that particular “Market Center” has around 100+ Realtors and the new Market Center in the Northeast is heading that way. Enter… today. If I didn’t seize the opportunity now, I wouldn’t be the real me and would have to live with a little disappointment the rest of the way.
Every now and then I use the terms ‘flattered’ or ‘humbled’ in a blog post. When it comes to Amanda, Elizabeth, and Amy I need to express how incredibly privileged and honored I am for us to be doing this together. We may fluctuate a little and go up or down in production, and that’s OK. We’ve produced grand and sometimes record breaking numbers together in this market, and had a good time doing it. We’re now laying the groundwork for a foundation that will include scaling our business and leveraging our individual time and talents, which will account for not only a better, but the finest client experience possible.
I’ll write more about this later, but the model actually fits our team structure very well. As I typed in the last paragraph it not only allows us to scale our practice, it promotes it, and will catapult creativity and innovation, something that I take personal pride in.
Monday morning, while I was heading out the door to our new venture after 10 years of loving what I did and where I worked, Jennifer had all three girls asking and tugging for something different. All three were there because it was MLK Day. The girls wanted bottles, Cheez-its, iPads, whatever. What did Jennifer say to me as I opened the baby gate? “Wish me luck, babe. You don’t need it.” I don’t know if it was scripted or not, but it was perfect for the moment. Her confidence means the world, and I won’t forget that for a long time.
The last ten years have been off the charts. I married Jennifer, had a little girl who is now five, and then was blessed with two more (at the same time YIKES!!). I poured myself into an industry, and formed a relationship with an organization to be passionate about – the Junior League of Columbia. I met Amy, then Amanda, and now Elizabeth. When we started this venture Amanda had the only child on the team. Our families now have seven. I’ve come to know and work with some of the best people I’ll ever know. The Downtown Realtor family has something pretty cool about it that’s not often seen in many markets. In our market, a fellow Realtor isn’t just a fellow Realtor, he or she is often a good friend. I have some best friends and I can’t wait to do more deals with them as our relationships won’t change. In all, it has been a great decade – personally and professionally, and the people at our former office is responsible for A LOT of it.
A huge THANK YOU to our clients for being so awesome through the transition. We will have sleek new signs in your yards very soon, and the websites are being changed over as I type this. I still stand behind an email I sent about 10 years ago: ‘As in most pure sales careers my success very much depends on the support of family, friends, and referrals. I never want to miss an opportunity in the name of silence, and I wouldn’t be doing my job well if I didn’t ask for your business or at least a shot at it.’ That is still true! My career is powered by you.
Now that I’ve broken the seal it’s time to get to work! Amanda, Elizabeth, and Amy have been incredible through this transition and continue to do stellar business as usual, and we’re having a lot of fun. At the moment we are all sitting around a conference table with our laptops facing each other on Devine Street. Like Amanda said, “OMG we look like an Internet startup company.” With our laptops all backed up to each other I say we look like we’re playing a huge game of “Battleship.”
Thank you for everything. Amanda, Amy, Elizabeth, and I look forward to representing you and your awesome referrals in the buying and listing of homes all around the Midlands, and Thank You For Being The Best Real Estate Network In South Carolina!
Our contact info until the websites & email addresses are transitioning:
Amanda Q. Payne – 803-609-0526 – email@example.com
Elizabeth Ross – 803-917-3889 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Ackerman Cartin – 803-467-0712 – email@example.com
Me – 803-447-8683 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Yard Sign # is 803-220-4447
Stay tuned! New signs are on the way!!