“I started as an agent, and hopefully, without sounding too corny, I found being an agent to be a noble profession,” recalls Coile. “It’s so energizing to help facilitate the American Dream of homeownership for people. Whether it’s educating a renter in regard to showing them that they can actually buy their first home, or helping a seller sell and move on, we’re the emotional anchor for people during what’s typically one of the biggest financial transactions of their life.”
For Coile, managing a real estate company is more of the same.
“We have a good, solid foothold in the four counties that make up our core market. Expansion in this market is primarily through growing our agent population, and we’re heavily focused on encouraging millennials to enter the real estate industry,” says Coile. “We’ve been featured, along with Redfin, as the two real estate companies for millennials to consider as a place to work by the Muse.com career advice website. We’ve also explored expanding our footprint, and that’s in our near-term growth plan.”
According to Coile, the firm experienced a rollercoaster of a year in 2016—way up in the beginning, a slowdown leading up to the election, and the dam about to break open on a year-end surge (at press time).
“When you have a market that cycles between hot and cold, you have to keep encouraging people to remain engaged when things aren’t breaking their way,” says Coile. “People can get personally discouraged when their production is down, but success might be just around the corner. 2016 was especially tough as certain price points or sub-markets got very quiet. If an agent specializes in one of those sub-markets, things can seem pretty bleak. My management team and I try to guide people to ‘where the fish are biting,’ to use a phrase that makes sense here on the Chesapeake Bay.”
Over the last few years, the company has increased its agent splits, and the firm’s sister companies in mortgage, title and insurance have been the engine allowing Champion Realty to do just this while remaining sound.
“Our biggest opportunity to increase business for the Champion family of companies begins with increasing our agents’ productivity,” explains Coile. “Second is to increase the participation rate of our affiliated businesses in our transactions.”
Retaining top producers, notes Coile, is less about the split and more about working together toward a common goal.
“We’ve always gone for the role of big fish, small pond,” says Coile. “We’re well-known locally, and we always stay on the leading edge of appropriate technology. Frequently, we’re retiring a technology just as others are adopting it. Also, our entire management team started out as agents. We know how to list and sell, and with a relatively small company, we can, and do, jump in the trenches with our agents as needed. We’re like a big 225-agent team at times.”
Vitals: Champion Realty, Inc.
Years in Business: 30
Size: 7 offices, 225 agents
Regions Served: The Chesapeake Bay Region of Maryland, consisting of Anne Arundel, Queen Anne’s, Caroline and Kent Counties
2016 Sales Volume: $553 million
2016 Transactions: 1,415
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