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Featherston_Burleson_OwensWhen much beloved Dallas real estate icon Ebby Halliday passed away in September at the age of 104, it was a sad day for many. Still, her spirit lives on with all those who continue to make Ebby Halliday Real Estate one of the most legendary firms in Texas.

Founded in 1945 as a one-woman, one-office company, today, Ebby Halliday is the largest independently owned real estate company in Texas and the 10th-largest in the United States, according to RISMedia’s 2016 Power Broker Report. Its MLS covers 12,000 square miles.

“She was our pied piper and she set the pace,” says Mary Frances Burleson, president and CEO of Ebby Halliday Real Estate. “She gave back to the community and was very involved in charity. She was also the first distinguished service award winner for the National Association of REALTORS® back in 1979, and we’ve had three in total—all women, and I’m one of them.”

Burleson has been with the company since 1958 and has watched it prosper and grow over the last 50-plus years, including an 18.22 percent increase in sales in 2015. In 2016, the company is eyeing new locations and new recruits.

“We always have room for good people,” Burleson says. “We have an Ebby School for training and offer more than 600 classes a year to teach agents all they can do to be better. Our agents are not restricted to one neighborhood and are always looking to do their job better for our clients.”

New classes include ways to better interact with millennials, and advice on listing and selling.

“We teach them how to make a living and make presentations. We are very big on graphics and photos,” Burleson says. “We average about 20,000 unique visits a day to our website, and our e-commerce is a huge business for us.”

The biggest challenge the firm currently faces is a lack of inventory in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

“Builders used to take four months to build and now they take seven, and a lot of workers went into the oil industry, making it harder for builders to hire people,” Burleson says. “Apartments are being built by the thousands here, but some people want their own home and own yard.”

Financial matters are also a concern, as clients seem to have more student debt and are having trouble getting down payments. Stricter mortgage rules have also played a part.

“We have our own mortgage company and we were prepared for many months for the changes that came down; 2015 was a booming year,” Burleson says. “We have 25 loan officers and we work very hard to give service to our clients.”

Building on their founder’s philosophy to “do something good for someone every single day,” Burleson says Ebby’s legacy still continues throughout the company.

“Reputation is not something you can mess with,” she says. “We continue to learn, open the door, and always remember we are in a people business.”

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