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John_MurrayJohn Murray has spent 14 years in real estate, and in that time, he has individually listed and sold approximately 15,000 homes. He is licensed in Illinois, Florida, Maryland, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“My real estate company is unique in that we hand out our leads, tools and systems for free, so our agents are able to succeed, and all of our efforts are focused on their success,” says Murray. “I see a lot of models where the focus is on the brokerage, and we’re the opposite of that. It’s important to run our brokerage like a big team.”

Murray conducts most of his business in Rockford, Ill., and tends to focus on a specialty niche. Like many in the industry, he’s seeing a supply problem, with much more demand.

“It’s certainly a seller’s market,” he says. “We focus a lot on data and predictive analytics and working smarter to target sellers and buyers, focusing our dollars and efforts on those individuals who have a higher propensity to buy or sell.”

Using analytics in this way is something Murray has been doing for more than a decade—before it became a trendy thing to do.

“Our access to this data has changed as the availability of data has changed,” says Murray. “It’s become broader and wider, but at its root core, it’s still about utilizing data to better understand the market and specifically target those who are more likely to transact,” he adds. “We’ve been very early adopters of technology. I started with a relational database the day I started in real estate.”

Before beginning his real estate career, Murray worked as a CTO for a Fortune 500 company’s wireless subsidiary and served as IT program manager for numerous Fortune 100 companies, including IBM Global Services, so he understands the importance of doing so.

“If you rewind to 2003, real estate wasn’t systematized, but I did that from day one,” says Murray. “Today, the landscape has changed. The availability out of the box is there. Systems are extremely important today.”

Murray goes so far as to say that analytics is the future of real estate. “If you go to any market, and you can pinpoint your customers and identify them to any degree of certainty, that’s where the market is,” he says. “It’s mission-critical. The brokers that don’t adopt big data are going to lose, because at the end of the day, the consumers will be targeted by those who do understand.”

Today, Murray has a brokerage in multiple states, interfaces with multiple private equity funds and still finds the time to buy, sell and trade real property.

“The real estate firm is expanding, and at some point, it will be a national company,” says Murray. “We’re going to tie into a much larger picture with leads and referrals and a lot of these analytics. A side project we’re working on involves building the next generation customer acquisition component.”

In addition to his prowess in the real estate game, Murray is also a tech guru, serving as co-owner of Realty Pilot, a virtual, cloud-computing enterprise tech platform designed to improve the way residential brokers, agents and asset managers do business through automation and data analytics. Murray leads the ongoing development of Realty Pilot’s suite of cutting-edge realty technology platforms.

A success in both, Murray looks back fondly on his decision to retire from the IT world and enter the real estate game.

“I really like the people in this industry; they’re hardworking and fun-loving,” says Murray. “It’s been something I’ve enjoyed.”

Vitals: Key Realty
Years in Business
: 7
Size: 14 offices, 88 agents
Regions Served: Illinois, Florida, Maryland, Virginia and Wisconsin
2016 Sales Volume: $128,158,529
2016 Transactions: 1,483

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