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Vitals: Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage
Years in Business: 26
Size: 18 offices, 575 agents
Regions Served: Southeastern North Carolina from Calabash to Jacksonville
2017 Sales Volume: $1.6 billion
2017 Transactions: 7,023

Tim Milam has been in the real estate industry for more than 26 years, and what he loves best is helping REALTORS® achieve financial success, while at the same time helping clients and their families make savvy decisions on houses, which become their homes.

As president of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage in Wilmington, N.C., which he purchased more than 20 years ago and merged with Coldwell Banker Advantage in 2012, Milam has led the firm’s growth from one office to 18. Milam is a partner in Coldwell Banker Advantage in Raleigh, Fayetteville and Southern Pines, N.C., as well as Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

How did the North Carolina market look in 2018?
Tim Milam: It’s been another record year in sales for our company. Inventory is smaller than we’d like to see; however, our firm represents some of the best builders who are doing a great job in providing inventory. We took a great hit from Hurricane Florence last fall, with a lot of damage and some flooding. We had 33 REALTORS® and three employees in our firm who were displaced from their homes. But we came back strong, and our company, as well as Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation and so many other Coldwell Banker companies, stepped in to help us.

What other factors are impacting the market?
TM: Factors that affect our good market are of course our great climate, low taxes and the fact that this is just an overall wonderful area to live in. Yes, we do occasionally have a hurricane; however, all parts of the country have some natural disaster issues, and we are well-trained on how to handle the storms. Retirees love to move here and enjoy the culture, lower taxes and lower cost of living.

What does 2019 have in store for the firm in terms of growth?
TM: We are planning to grow our firm this year, just as we have for the past 20-plus years. Our family culture that we offer is attractive to top producers, as well as new agents. We are constantly looking at ways to grow, but will always maintain a steady growth vs. having a huge growth each year. This has worked so well that we’ve been the No. 1 Coldwell Banker firm in closed sales and closed volume for 19 years in a row.

What’s your competitive differentiation?
TM: I am not, nor will I ever be, a competing broker/owner. My time is spent working for our agents and not competing with them. In addition, our managers are not competing brokers, which makes a huge difference to agents. Our culture and attitude toward our agents are very simple—we work for them and they do not work for us. Our motto is: “Do something nice for someone every week,” and our company truly lives by this.

Give us an example of that motto in action.
TM: The agents in our firm are constantly doing nice things in the community, such as building Habitat for Humanity Homes. I am very proud of the Sea Coast Family, and not because of our No. 1 status, but for the great people they are.

How are you preparing agents for success?
TM: We prepare them to face today’s consumers by offering great knowledge of all aspects of the transaction. Consumers expect us to deliver great advice in an easy-to-communicate method, as well as provide suggestions for the lender, title company, warranty company and attorney for closing. We must be able to communicate in whatever form the customer asks, and we must do it in a timely manner. Discussing your customers’ expectations and communication method up front is very important.

Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.