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Jim Fite
Vitals: CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company
Years in business:
Size: 22 sales offices, 890 agents
Regions served: Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas
2019 sales volume: $1.572 billion
2019 transactions: 6,071

Jim Fite is following in his parents’ footsteps as he serves as president and CEO of CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, the firm they started together in 1937. He joined the business in 1972 at the age of 18.

After a year of college, his parents took him before a judge and had his “disabilities of a minor” removed so that he was legally able to get a license. Although he failed his real estate exam the first time, he passed the next time, becoming the youngest REALTOR® in the United States.

What was your firm’s response to the pandemic?
Jim Fite:
We immediately went into action, working up to 20 hours a day. Communication with our people has been of the utmost importance. Having open and timely information throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic continues to be our No. 1 priority. Our principals and district managers met daily for a morning huddle at 8 a.m. for many weeks and now meet Monday and Thursday mornings.

From a financial perspective, we went into “recession mode” and worked to reduce expenses as we have in four previous recessions. Training went into high gear with daily Zoom webinars on skill building, technology, homeschooling children, staying mentally and physically healthy, etc.

How do you stay on top of trends and innovations?
I attend conferences, read periodicals, books and listen to podcasts. I do not listen to the mainstream news. I work at keeping myself mentally positive with daily affirmations and focus on my personal mission and company core values.

Are there any market segments/niches you’ve recently expanded into, or are considering expanding into?
Our company has core businesses such as mortgage, title, insurance, property management, relocation, connection network and commercial. We recently introduced, during COVID, Instant Move (an iBuyer platform) and Judge Fite Concierge; we are working on another confidential initiative at this time to be rolled out in the next two months.

What are some new technologies you’ve implemented, and how are they helping your agents and consumers?
When COVID hit, we didn’t miss a beat. We have been 100-percent paperless for several years, and our intranet site gives agents access to everything they need, from links for on-demand training to training webinars to documents to company news. Our managers have held in-person and Zoom “Let’s Talk Real Estate” meetings for years. We can literally run our company from anywhere in the world and have been able to for years.

What are the biggest opportunities for increasing business as we go toward 2021?
Increasing our recruiting efforts and getting our agents more productive while retaining and growing our people. I also believe there will be more merger opportunities as many companies will not survive this pandemic—emotionally or financially.

Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.