Thomas Gallagher began in the real estate business in 1986 and two years later partnered with Mike Litzner to open CENTURY 21 American Homes, which will celebrate its 30-year anniversary this coming April.
CENTURY 21 American Homes is unique, Gallagher says, in that while it is a larger than average firm, with a footprint that encompasses almost 2 million residences, it is known as being accessible to its agents and support staff.
“We believe we are approachable and truly concerned for our team’s personal well-being; despite the size, we are a family-oriented company,” explains Gallagher. “We have multiple events during the year where we can meet with everyone in a more casual setting. We have Achievers’ Clubs, Top 21 meetings, picnics and holiday parties, in addition to meet-and-greets with our mortgage and title partners.”
Gallagher’s firm has grown almost 50 percent in the last two years in a variety of ways. “We are always looking for smart growth in areas where we do not yet have marketshare, whether through M&A or roll-ins,” Gallagher says. “We increased our agent count through aggressively pursuing new licensees with the offer of marketshare, training and stability in their new career. That, and strategic recruiting of agents who appreciate a full-service company with a good reputation.”
The markets he deals with—Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn—have followed what most of the rest of the country has been experiencing, he notes, with a serious shortage of listings.
“We have had a two-month supply of listings as opposed to the normal six-month supply,” says Gallagher. “We are selling about 5 percent less homes than last year with an increase of 8 percent in prices. Having bidding wars on many of the homes leads to frustration for both buyers and agents. Sellers faced with having to make a decision need our guidance more than ever, but having so many offers, with people bidding over each other even after acceptance, has created a bit of chaos and much misguided anger to agents involved.”
Still, Gallagher sees all challenges as opportunities and knows that if the firm can continue to train and coach its agents successfully, it will continue to be the destination office.
“We attract new agents via our success and reputation, as well as our own agents recommending us,” he says. “We retain people by caring, providing a top-notch company with full services, and being in sync with their concerns.”
With a “work hard, play hard and give back” business philosophy, the firm also has a strong record of outreach and charitable programs. The firm has been one of the Century 21 System’s top fundraisers for Easter Seals for the past 10 years and participates in many community-based charities.
“We and our people are extremely generous, and it is really what makes us very proud of our family/company,” Gallagher says.
Vitals: CENTURY 21 American Homes
Years in Business: 29
Size: 14 offices, 750 agents
Regions Served: Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn
2017 Sales Volume: $750,000,000 as of Sept. 30
2017 Transactions: 1,659 as of Sept. 30
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