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Kruse_DanDan Kruse
CENTURY 21 Affiliated

With 16 years in the real estate game, Dan Kruse has seen plenty of changes affect the landscape of the business, and he understands that it’s his job to help set the direction of CENTURY 21 Affiliated as it works to provide the best for its clients. It’s a philosophy that has helped the company triple in size over the last five years.

“We are constantly changing as an industry. We are always looking at how to better respond to the consumer of today,” says Kruse. “Whether it’s making sure the Internet leads division is doing everything possible to connect to consumers, to being seen in all the right places on the Web, we know that response time is critical. We, as an organization, are doing what we can to create as close to an instant connection as possible.”

For Kruse, that means having the right systems and people in place, which is why the firm holds regular meetings with departments on relocation, agent training and education.

“We know that what we’re doing today is probably going to be different than what we should be doing six months or a year from now,” says Kruse. “We need to constantly evolve with the consumers of today.”

As a company, CENTURY 21 Affiliated is focused on growth, and is coming off a successful 2015 in which it did close to $2.3 billion in sales in the Midwest.

“It will end up being a positive year market-wise with just about every single market we’re in throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana,” Kruse says. “What we’ve seen is a 5 – 9 percent increase in homes sold on average, and a median sales price increase of 8 – 11 percent. Last year was a positive sign, and we have felt it in the market stats that we have seen in the company.”

That growth is expected to continue in the year ahead, as CENTURY 21 Affiliated already has a good number of mergers and acquisitions taking place (at press time) in the beginning part of 2016.

“Our strategy has been to continue to look at strategic markets we want to move into that we think play well for our areas, and then determine if there’s a partnership, merger or acquisition opportunity that we can align ourselves with for growth and try to move forward in those markets,” Kruse says. “In 2016, we anticipate much of the same growth, but will also make sure we backfill our existing offices and continue to recruit for those offices as well.”

While Kruse expects to see continued growth over the next 12 months as buyers and sellers move forward with transactions, there are some potential challenges he is keeping an eye on.

“Two factors we have little control over are outside elements, such as interest rates and new government regulations,” he explains. “I do think those will be relatively minor in 2016, and I don’t expect rates to change that dramatically.”

Kruse sees plenty of opportunities in 2016 and expects the market to be strong for both buyers and sellers. “We will continue to provide the right systems, tools and support so our agents are equipped with the best toolbox out there,” says Kruse, “and we’ll continue to offer outstanding customer service in a timely manner. We have to do the smart things to help our consumers make the right decisions.”

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