With a background in real estate spanning 30 years, Brent and Lesa Blythe know the secrets to success. Co-owners of The Blythe Real Estate Team in Omaha, Neb., The Blythes built their business from the ground up—as a duo initially, and in later years, alongside their son, Chad, and more recently, Kyle Fagan, another co-owner.
“I fought it for a while—I wanted my own identity—but this is a great industry and a great business,” Chad says. “Mom and Dad have done a very good job with what they’ve built.”
The Blythe Real Estate Team has been featured on Omaha Magazine’s “Best of Omaha” ranking, driven by its mission and promise: to be available, or flexible with a homebuyer’s schedule; experienced; and reachable. If one member of the team is tied up, for instance, another jumps in, without sacrificing service.
According to Chad, “we are a family-owned team, and we operate with family values and a farmer’s work ethic.” Here, he discusses leading and mentoring the team, and more.
Suzanne De Vita: Chad, you’re a co-owner with your parents. How do you divide responsibilities?
CB: We don’t necessarily have definitive roles, because we’re a family and we’ve learned what everyone’s strengths are. We work with our own clients, and mentor and train newer agents. I tend to do the bookkeeping, budgeting and managing of our operation systems with Matt [Edwards, our office manager]. Dad tends to do the taxes each year, and handles employees and payroll.
This year, we brought on another gentleman, Kyle, who’s been on our team, as another partial owner. We’re transitioning to our next phase. We’re going to bring on people as they prove themselves, and allow them to buy into the team concept as an owner or through profit-sharing. Overall, I don’t care if you’re a top producer or brand-new; if you’re a hard worker and willing to learn and a good, honest person, you’ll be a good fit.
SD: So, when it comes to decision-making, who has the final say?
CB: The four of us will get together, but, ultimately, my parents are still majority owners. Dad’s been the team leader for 30 years, and we still run very much like a family. Mom does a good job of keeping us grounded, and offers great insight on the tough decisions.
SD: Who else helps lead the team?
CB: Matt is our full-time licensed office manager, and he takes care of the day-to-day tasks, managing transactions and overseeing some of the marketing. We’re starting to throw a few more roles in since we recently brought on Kyle.
SD: You mentioned mentoring the team. What do you focus on?
CB: We’re going to teach you how to fish; we’re not going to give you fish. We don’t promise leads. We teach our agents how to go out and build relationships. We feel they can go much further, last longer in the industry and build a long-term career that way.
SD: With that in mind, do you hold meetings as a team?
CB: We do weekly team meetings Wednesday mornings. We like to give everyone 60 seconds to talk about what they’re working on, and if they have questions or concerns or items that they want to address, they can throw that out there. We do a little bit of education, whether it be a video or working on objection handling, etc. We also talk about what our marketing plans are for that week, and upcoming listings, current buyers and what their needs are, and what types of houses they’re looking for.
SD: You’re affiliated with the biggest independent brokerage in your state. How does your broker support you as a team?
CB: We’ve been at Nebraska Realty for a little over a year. Andy Alloway, the owner, is fantastic—if we need anything, we can call or text him and he’s right there to help us. As long as we’re doing things the right way, we have free reign to go out and grow our business the way we choose to. There’s not a lot of red tape, and it doesn’t feel corporate.
SD: What are your goals for your team this year?
CB: Our goal is $50 million in volume this year, as a team, or 225 families—we work on the number of units first. One of my biggest focuses is on revamping our systems and improving the marketing of our listings. I’m working with Matt on the back-end of our system for new listings and houses under contract, so we can give clients good information to help guide them through the process a little bit better—using technology and making it a little bit more fun and hands-on for them. We think doing that will make our customer experience better, which will help us get even more referrals.
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.