Category: Crye-Leike in the News
286 articles included in Crye-Leike in the News
BRENTWOOD, TN - Crye-Leike, Realtors agents from the company's Hermitage and Mt. Juliet branch offices were big winners during a recent celebration at the Drees Homes Cobblestone Landing development on North New Hope Road in Hermitage. Hermitage Affiliate Broker Barbara Huttsell won an all expense paid cruise vacation aboard the Drees Homes "Sell and Sail" Cruise in January 2008. Donald Jasmine and Bobby Hill, also agents from Crye-Leike, Realtors Hermitage office, were lucky winners of impressive specialty gift baskets. Agent Judy Roark from the Crye-Leike, Realtors Mt. Juliet office was also a lucky gift basket winner. Drees Homes entertained more than 50 area Realtors to celebrate the completion of the pool and playground area at the Cobblestone Landing development. Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Today, Crye-Leike?, the nations 4th largest real estate company, has a network of more than 3,900 sales associates and 125 corporate and franchise offices located in 65 counties through-out the eight-state southern region of Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
Mt. Juliet, TN- The Crye-Leike, Realtors Mt. Juliet office will hold a blood drive to benefit the Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 11-5 p.m. "We began the office blood drives in 2003 and ever since, we've held two a year," said Mt. Juliet agent Gary Rabideau. "With an average of nearly 45 pints per drive during the past 10 drives, we've contributed approximately 450-plus pints of much needed blood." Under normal circumstances, every two seconds someone in America will need a blood transfusion. Blood transfusions are used for trauma victims - due to accidents and burns - heart surgery, organ transplants, women with complications during childbirth, newborns and premature babies, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia. Donating blood is one way citizens can help those in need and each donation can be used to help save as many as three lives. Currently, the American Red Cross collects almost half of blood donations across the U.S. The Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at the Crye-Leike Mt. Juliet office located at 1285 North Mt. Juliet Road and donors will receive meals prepared by office agents. "We prepare meals fit for kings (I mean donors) and we get lots of comments on how good the food is," said Mt. Juliet agent Dee Lawrence. "Good food, good friends and good cause - what more can you ask for." To schedule an appointment time to donate during the blood drive, please contact Mt. Juliet agent Barbara Parrish at (615) 754-8999. Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Today, Crye-Leike?, the nations 4th largest real estate company, has a network of more than 3,900 sales associates and 125 corporate and franchise offices located in 65 counties through-out the eight-state southern region of Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
Clarksville, TN.- Crye-Leike, Realtors agent Ron Farson has been awarded the "Senior Real Estate Specialist" (SRES) designation by the SRES Council of the National Association of Realtors. "With this designation, I am more aware and educated on how to assist and help with the wants and needs of the Baby Boomer and other age group markets, which are the fastest growing markets in the nation," Farson said. Seniors Real Estate Specialists are Realtors qualified to address the needs of homebuyers and sellers age 55-plus. The SRES council awards the designation to members who have successfully completed its education program. By earning the SRES designation, Ron has demonstrated the necessary knowledge and expertise to counsel clients age 55-plus through major financial and lifestyle transitions involved in relocating, refinancing, or selling the family home. Ron works in the Crye-Leike Clarksville-Sango office and provides real estate service for clients in the Clarksville / Ft. Campbell and surrounding areas. He has been in real estate for five and a half years and enjoys working in residential, commercial, investment properties, first-time home buying, relocation, new construction, condominiums and land. Farson also maintains membership with the National, Tennessee and Clarksville Association of Realtors. Prior to entering the real estate industry, Farson worked for nine years in manufactured housing sales, and prior to that, spent 20 years in management and sales in the automobile business. He was also stationed at Ft. Campbell after returning from Viet Nam, where he served with the First Infantry Division's "Big Red One." Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Regional operations have since been added in Middle Tenn., East Tenn., Central Ark., Central Ga., Central Miss., and Northwest Ark., allowing the company to grow into a network of 3,800 sales associates and 118 corporate and franchise offices located throughout Tenn., Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., Miss. and N.C. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
Last updated Friday, September 7, 2007 11:57 PM CDT in Business BY THE MORNING NEWS Crye-Leike Realtors will construct a new office building in Bella Vista at the corner of U.S. 71 and Benton County Road 40. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Memphis-based real estate company said in March it would spend approximately $8 million in the next three years constructing four new offices in the two-county area. Construction on the new site will begin in the next two months and should be completed by February 2008. Harrison-French and Associates of Bentonville will provide the architectural and engineering services for the project. Crye-Leike, the nation's fourth largest real estate company, came to Northwest Arkansas earlier this year with plans to hire 150 agents in 2007 and increase to 400 in the next three to four years. The company is doing business in five locations across Northwest Arkansas and has recruited 85 agents since opening in March. The company has 125 offices located in seven states across the Southeast region. In 2006, Crye-Leike had combined sales of $6.1 billion.
Chattanooga Tennessee based Crye-Leike, Realtors Affiliate Broker Bill Sewell, ABR, e-PRO, Awarded "Graduate, Realtor Institute" (GRI)
BRENTWOOD, TN.- Crye-Leike, Realtors Affiliate Broker Bill Sewell, a Downtown Chattanooga based Realtor, has received the prestigious designation "Graduate, Realtor Institute" (GRI) awarded by the National Association of Realtors. "As a graduate of the Realtor Institute, I'm making a commitment to provide a high level of professional services to my clients," said Sewell. "The GRI curriculum helps to keep me up to date on the latest real estate trends and issues." Developed for members of the National Association of Realtors and offered through State Realtor Associations, the GRI program includes 90 hours of coursework on topics from marketing and servicing listed properties to real estate law Bill Sewell lives in Hixson Tennessee and is licensed in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. He's been an Affiliate Broker for five years, working with buyers and seller in and around Hamilton, Catoosa and Dade counties. His real estate specialty is residential properties. Sewell is a member of the National Association of Realtors and the Chattanooga Association of Realtors. In addition to his years of real estate experience and knowledge, Sewell holds an MBA from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Today, Crye-Leike?, the nations 4th largest real estate company, has a network of over 3,900 sales associates and 125 corporate and franchise offices located in 55 counties through-out the seven-state southern region of Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
BRENTWOOD, TN.- Crye-Leike, Realtors Affiliate Broker Stan Peacock, ABR,CBS, GRI, has successfully completed the e-PRO course of instruction to be certified as an Internet Realtor Professional. Endorsed by the National Association of REALTORS, the e-PRO course teaches professionals the nuts and bolts of working with real estate on-line: Web sites, e-mail, on-line tools? what today's home buyers and sellers really want. "As an e-PRO Realtor I can get my clients more information, more easily," said Peacock. "With electronic files, they will have less paperwork to deal with. And since I use e-mail, we can even eliminate phone tag. I offer my clients a streamline process - from start to finish." Peacock has been a licensed real estate agent in Tennessee for nearly six years and works with buyers and sellers, primarily in Sumner, Davidson, Robertson, Wilson, Trousdale and Macon counties. His specialty is residential sales with an emphasis on clients who are first time buyers, relocating and buying new construction or investment properties. Peacock is a member of the National Association of Realtors and the Sumner Association of Realtors where he serves on the Golf Task Force Committee for Habitat & Dues Maintenance and the Hearing Panel Committee. Stan considers his clients like family, and obtaining the e-PRO designation in his words "? keeps me focused on the well being of the family," said Peacock. "I personally have been very computer friendly since 1985 and e-PRO just enhances what I already know, giving me the internet based tools that I know my customers like," said Peacock. Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Today, Crye-Leike?, the nations 4th largest real estate company, has a network of over 3,900 sales associates and 125 corporate and franchise offices located in 55 counties through-out the seven-state southern region of Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
BRENTWOOD, TN.- Crye-Leike, Realtors agent Michelle Simmons has successfully completed the e-PRO course of instruction to be certified as an Internet Realtor Professional. Endorsed by the National Association of REALTORS, the e-PRO course teaches professionals the nuts and bolts of working with real estate on-line: Web sites, e-mail, on-line tools? what today's home buyers and sellers really want. "As an e-PRO Realtor I can get my clients more information, more easily," said Simmons. "With electronic files, they will have less paperwork to deal with. And since I use e-mail, we can even eliminate phone tag. I offer my clients a streamline process - from start to finish." Simmons is a licensed Realtor in Tennessee working out of the Crye-Leike, Gallatin Tennessee office. She works with buyers and sellers, primarily in Davidson, Sumner and Robertson counties. Simmons' specialty is residential sales. Simmons is a Certified Tennessee Real Estate Education Graduate, a member of the National Association of Realtors and the Sumner Association of Realtors. Prior to joining Crye-Leike, she was employed as a loan officer with Southeast Financial Federal Credit Union - and brings more than 20 years of mortgage banking and finance experience to her real estate clients. Simmons currently serves on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity in Sumner County, is a member in good standing with the Real Estate Investors of Nashville and volunteers with the Sumner County special Olympics. Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Today, Crye-Leike?, the nations 4th largest real estate company, has a network of over 3,900 sales associates and 125 corporate and franchise offices located in 55 counties through-out the seven-state southern region of Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
Memphis, TN.- Crye-Leike, Realtors agent David Truong has successfully completed the e-PRO course of instruction to be certified as an Internet Realtor Professional. Endorsed by the National Association of REALTORS, the e-PRO course teaches professionals the nuts and bolts of working with real estate on-line: Web sites, e-mail, on-line tools? what today's home buyers and sellers really want. "As an e-PRO Realtor I can get my clients more information, more easily," said Truong. "With electronic files, they will you have less paperwork to deal with. And since I use e-mail, we can even eliminate phone tag. I offer my clients a streamline process - from start to finish." Truong is a licensed Broker in Tennessee and Mississippi. He works with buyers and sellers, primarily in Shelby and DeSoto counties. Truong is a monthly Sales Leader for Crye-Leike, Realtors and a Muliti-Million Dollar Club Member with the company and with the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. He received a national sales award in 2004, is a Continental Who's Who Premier member and a Sales Award recipient of The Realty Alliance one of the leading residential real estate sales professionals in North America. Truong speaks both English and Vietnamese, and his specialties include; Residential, commercial sales, investment properties, land sales, leasing, multi-family, new construction, office buildings and relocation services. For more information, e-mail David truong at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 901-503-3947 Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Regional operations have since been added in Middle Tenn., East Tenn., Central Ark., Central Ga., Central Miss., and Northwest Ark., allowing the company to grow into a network of 3,800 sales associates and 118 corporate and franchise offices located throughout Tenn., Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., Miss. and N.C. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
Olive Branch, MS- Crye-Leike, Realtors agent Terry Thomas, an Olive Branch Mississippi Realtor, has been awarded the Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR) designation by the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council, Inc., an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors. "This designation is just one of many that I plan to earn," said Thomas. "I believe that increased knowledge and advance training is essential in this complex business that is undergoing changes daily." Thomas has served the real estate needs of clients in the Northwest Mississippi and West Tennessee region for three years. She assists both buyers and sellers in and around Desoto, Shelby, Tate, Marshall and Fayette counties. Thomas already has earned her Certified Relocation Associate (CRA) designation, is a Crye-Leike, Realtors Multi-Million dollar Producer and is a member of the Million Dollar Club of the Northwest Mississippi Association of Realtors (NWMAR) "If I am going to be the best for my clients, then developing my skills and obtaining a higher level of training is a must," said Thomas. Thomas is a member of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR), Northwest Mississippi Association of Realtors (NWMAR), Mississippi Association of Realtors (MAR and the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC). Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Regional operations have since been added in Middle Tenn., East Tenn., Central Ark., Central Ga., Central Miss., and Northwest Ark., allowing the company to grow into a network of 3,800 sales associates and 118 corporate and franchise offices located throughout Tenn., Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., Miss. and N.C. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
Little Rock based Crye-Leike, Realtors Broker Tracey Maulden receives ABR, GRI and Executive Broker License Designation
Little Rock, AR- Crye-Leike, Realtors Executive Broker Tracey Maulden, a Little Rock Arkansas based Realtor, has been awarded two prestigious designations - the "Accredited Buyer's Representative" (ABR) by the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council, Inc., an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors and the "Graduate, Realtor Institute" (GRI) awarded by the National Association of Realtors. In addition - Maulden has received an Executive Broker's License and is now serving as one of the managing brokers for Crye-Leike, Realtors in the Kanis Road Branch, which is the company's Regional Headquarters for Central Arkansas. "Achieving my executive broker license, ABR, & GRI designations is only part of my overall personal goal to continually pursue higher education and training in order to provide superior marketing and unsurpassed real estate services to my clients," said Maulden. Maulden has served the real estate needs of clients in the Greater Little Rock Area for nearly three years. She assists both buyers and sellers in and around Pulaski and Saline counties, specializing in single family residential, relocation, first-time homebuyers, new home construction and condominiums. Maulden is an active member of the Little Rock Realtors Association and the Arkansas Realtors Association. And in addition to her other designations, she is a Certified Relocation Associate (CRA). Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Regional operations have since been added in Middle Tenn., East Tenn., Central Ark., Central Ga., Central Miss., and Northwest Ark., allowing the company to grow into a network of 3,800 sales associates and 118 corporate and franchise offices located throughout Tenn., Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., Miss. and N.C. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
Ridgeland, MS - Crye-Leike, Realtors agent Shari Lackey has been selected as the exclusive Realtor for the new and prestigious Ridgeland Mississippi new home development, Gallagher's Pass. A groundbreaking ceremony for the subdivision was held August 7th, 2007. Lackey joined in the festivities, along side the Mayor of Ridgeland, Gene McGee, community developers, Crye-Leike representatives and descendants of the Gallagher and Stringer families. The development will feature a Gated Community with Architectural Guidelines, 2400 square foot minimums, a wooded park and gathering pavilion all backing up to the Natchez Trace Corridor. The property is named for one of the five local families that owned and resided on the land. Each family's contribution to the founding and growth of Ridgeland is significant and it is from the rich history of the Gallagher family homestead that the development gets its name. "It is my privilege to be associated with the Davis family in this unique development. Madison County is exploding before our eyes and this type of gated community will enhance the area," said Lackey Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Regional operations have since been added in Middle Tenn., East Tenn., Central Ark., Central Ga., Central Miss., and Northwest Ark., allowing the company to grow into a network of nearly four thousand sales associates and 118 corporate and franchise offices located throughout Tenn., Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., Miss. and N.C. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
NASHVILLE, TN.- Crye-Leike, Realtors agents in the Memphis area are responding strongly to counter what they contend is a false perception about the local home sales market. In the face of general media reports about a continued decline in the national real estate market, Crye-Leike agents are being pro-active in an effort to set the record straight. According to a report published in the Memphis Commercial Appeal on Sunday August 12, 2007 - "Realtors say negative news media coverage about the national real estate market, combined with a local dip in sales after two record years, has Mid-South home buyers confused." Here's how Crye-Leike Managing Broker Tommie Criswell- Jones responded in the Memphis Commercial Appeal: "The Memphis market has been better than it's ever been these last few years," said Tommie Criswell-Jones, managing broker of the Crye-Leike Collierville Office. "And 2007 is shaping up to be the second-best year in history." Those sentiments from Criswell-Jones are bolstered by Crye-Leike Affiliate Broker Joe Spake of Memphis. On his Web-Blog, Spake addressed a proactive step that's been taken by the Memphis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR). "MAAR has initiated a multi a multi-media campaign which includes advertising, press releases and information stressing the positives of the real estate market?" wrote Spake on his Blog, posted Monday August 13, 2007. "Hopefully we will see this type of initiative in other markets." Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Regional operations have since been added in Middle Tenn., East Tenn., Central Ark., Central Ga., Central Miss., and Northwest Ark., allowing the company to grow into a network of 3,800 sales associates and 118 corporate and franchise offices located throughout Tenn., Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., Miss. and N.C. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn.?Crye-Leike Senior Broker Consultant Scott Boles recently attended the National Association of Realtors midyear legislative meetings in Washington D.C. and met with congressional representatives on Capitol Hill to talk about real estate industry issues. Issues of critical importance which were addressed during the meetings were creating affordable housing opportunities, protecting consumers in real estate transactions, and enacting health insurance legislation. Great progress was made, including passage of The Federal Housing Finance Reform Act, H.R. 1427, by the House of Representatives, which establishes stronger regulatory control over the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac government sponsored entities. Also passed by the House of Representatives was the Industrial Bank Holding Company Act, H.R. 698, which maintains and strengthens the separation of banking and commerce. Boles, who serves as managing broker of Crye-Leike's Broad St. office in Murfreesboro, Tenn., also serves as president of the Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors (MTAR) and holds the nationally recognized designations of Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS). Boles serves buyers and sellers in the greater Murfreesboro area and specializes in real estate brokerage, relocation, and new home construction. His office is located at 1139 N.W. Broad St., S-100, Murfreesboro, TN 37129, and he can be contacted by telephone at (615) 895-9518 and via e-mail at Scott@ScottBoles.com. For more information about Scott Boles visit his website at www.ScottBoles.com. Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Regional operations have since been added in Middle Tenn., East Tenn., Central Ark., Central Ga., Central Miss., and Northwest Ark., allowing the company to grow into a network of 3,800 sales associates and 118 corporate and franchise offices located throughout Tenn., Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., Miss. and N.C. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
MEMPHIS, Tenn.?Crye-Leike, Realtors' Saeed E. Nia recently earned the Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP) designation from the National Association of Home Builders signifying Nia's advanced knowledge of the home building business, the construction process, financial and legal aspects of new home sales and customer service. Nia also holds the e-Pro, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designations. He has been awarded Crye-Leike's customer service award, is a member of its Multi-Million Dollar Club and holds the title of vice president within the company. He is a member of the Memphis Area, Tennessee, and National Associations of Realtors. He has served as a director for two years with the Board of Realtors, a director of the Multi Million Dollar Club, and is currently a member of the governmental affairs committee of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. Nia serves buyers and sellers throughout Shelby County and specializes in residential properties. He can be contacted at Crye-Leike, Realtors, 6525 Quail Hollow Road, Memphis, Tenn. 38120; by telephone at (901) 337-1020; and via e-mail at email@example.com. For more information about Nia and his services visit his website at www.gotsaeed.com. Crye-Leike, Realtors was established in Memphis in 1977 by Harold Crye and Dick Leike, and within three years, the company grew to be the largest in the city. Regional operations have since been added in Middle Tenn., East Tenn., Central Ark., Central Ga., Central Miss., and Northwest Ark., allowing the company to grow into a network of 3,800 sales associates and 118 corporate and franchise offices located throughout Tenn., Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., Miss. and N.C. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides and is ranked #4 in the Nation.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.? Jay Robinson, Crye-Leike, Realtors' 2006 Producer of the Year recently earned the Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) designation, the industry-wide symbol of excellence in brokerage management. The designation is the highest level of professional achievement and recognition in the specialized field, and Realtors earning it have completed a comprehensive program combining experience with management education. "My goal in life and work is to do my best, and in obtaining this certification I move toward that goal of providing the best possible service to my customers and clients and the best possible leadership to my team," says Robinson. Robinson holds 22 years of professional real estate experience and has completed over $200 million in transactions. He is a licensed broker in Tenn., Ga., and Ark., and he also holds the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR); Certified Premier Property Specialist (CPPS); Certified Residential Specialist (CRS); Graduate, Realtors Institute (GRI); Crye-Leike Multi-Million Dollar Club; Realtor (National Association of Realtors); and Number 1 Expert designations. He has earned his company's Producer of the Year honor for the past six years and was the top producing broker of the Chattanooga Association of Realtors in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Robinson heads a team of seven specialists, The Robinson Team, each of whom concentrates on their individual area of expertise. Collectively they serve residential buyers and sellers throughout Hamilton, Bradley, Sequatchie and Marion counties in Tenn. and Walker, Dade and Catoosa counties in Ga. Their team website can be found at http://www.robinsonteam.com/. Jay and his wife Christopher live in scenic Lookout Mountain, Ga. with their four boys and chocolate Lab, Clancy. He is active in the Downtown Chattanooga Rotary Club and serves on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity. His office is located at 1201 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402, and he can be reached by telephone at (423) 593-7131 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Crye-Leike, Realtors is the nation's 4th largest real estate company and the largest in the Mid-South. The full-service company has been serving real estate clients for thirty years and is comprised of a network of over 3,500 sales associates and 114 corporate and franchise offices located throughout Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi. In 2006, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $6.1 billion with 35,498 closed transaction sides.
Tennessean, The (Nashville, TN) Tennessean, The (Nashville, TN) January 15, 2006 Column: EXECUTIVE Q AND A Q & A with Harold Crye Author: JEANNE ANNE NAUJECK Author: FREELANCE OK Edition: 1ST Section: Business Page: 1E Estimated printed pages: 8 Article Text: Crye's mantra: Be ambitious, kind, and don't sweat minutiae You may not know Harold Crye personally, but you've certainly seen his name on someone's lawn. He's one-half of Crye-Leike, Realtors, a company he founded with partner Dick Leike in Memphis in 1977 that has grown to become the nation's 10th-largest real estate company. Last week, the company reported $5.6 billion in residential and commercial sales for 2005, an increase of 16% over a year ago, representing 34,039 closings. For the Middle Tennessee region, Crye-Leike reported residential sales of $1.5 billion, up 12.83% from a year ago. Along with Crye-Leike's original Memphis office, the company has hubs in Chattanooga, Little Rock, Ark., and Brentwood, where Crye is based, as well as title, insurance and property-management businesses. Crye-Leike continues to expand in the South, entering Atlanta last month, and building offices in Jackson, Miss., and Rogers, Ark., near Wal-Mart's Bentonville, Ark., headquarters. Crye recently talked with freelance writer Jeanne A. Naujeck about Crye-Leike's growth, changes in the real estate business and the future of the Nashville market. What kind of real estate company did you set out to build in 1977? 1977 -- that seems like a long time ago. Then again it seems like only yesterday, but it was a totally different world, obviously. In Memphis the companies that were the big players then are no longer even in business. The Sterling Co. was the largest in the market, and that's the company Dick Leike and I worked for. I was their sales manager and he was their top agent, and we formed the Crye-Leike company in 1977. We felt like we could build a company that treated our agents better. There were some mindsets they had that were pretty harsh. We felt like we could build a warmer, fuzzier, friendlier, more family-oriented type of company, but we didn't know we could be successful, or as successful as we are. We had good reputations, and people immediately began to come work for us. Our goal was to have about 20 agents because we thought then we could pay the bills and the rent. The very first sales meeting we had, all the agents sat on the sofa. Now we have probably 1,300 (agents) in Memphis, so it's a long way from that first sales meeting. Most real estate companies are small and local. What took Crye-Leike beyond Memphis? We had credibility, we had energy and we had a following. A lot of companies have that, but they get to one office and they're just content with one office. We felt like we had additional leadership skills, additional administrative skills that allowed us to put in the second office, the third office, the fourth office. And then you've got to change and set up systems to be able to handle that size. We've put systems in place where we do things consistently and do it consistently well. For example, a lot of real estate companies only pay their agents once or twice a month. Well, that's a bummer if you're an agent. We pay the real estate agents the day they have the closing. So we set up a system where you get your money immediately. Our accounting system is almost like an assembly line. One person's doing the checks, one person's doing the escrow accounts, one person's paying the bills and you have a software system that allows you to do all that, and a CFO. And we have our own courier system. It's also being enough of an entrepreneur, enough of a risk-taker that you are willing to buy that building or buy that land and build that next building. Out of 62 branch offices that our company owns, we own probably 50-something of the buildings, and we've built most of them from scratch. A lot of people aren't willing to do that. You have to build up a net worth in order to do that, and we have been conservative in our lifestyle. We haven't gone out and blown money on a lot of trivial things. We're more investment-oriented. Your business is built on people and the contacts they have and the relationships they build. What makes a good real estate agent? The honest answer is you can't tell. There've been people that I've looked at and said "They won't make it," but then they've made it. And there are people that I've said, "They're a slam-dunk, they're going to make a lot of money and do very, very well because they seem like they know everybody." But what we can't tell is, what's the internal ticking, what's the internal drive? Sometimes we meet a person and they're very talkative and glib and salesman-like, then we find out that they don't have the inner drive to show up. It's not just about being a good talker, it's really about being a good listener and also about being a good "follow-upper." The people that make the most sales, they're good listeners. They figure out what it is that you're wanting, and then they go do the behind-the-scenes work to go find the right thing for you, and they do all the necessary things afterward. You don't get good people unless you search for them, unless you treat them right and let them run their world, run their operations without having your thumb on them all the time. You give them the goal and the plan and you let them do their thing. You give them suggestions or advice, but I think you try to hold off on the criticism. Everybody makes mistakes, and you have to be somewhat forgiving and not get too bent out of shape over things. Many homebuyers are now using the Internet to gather their own home and market information. Is it making the agent obsolete? There's a certain change in the way sales are being made, but it's not the change that was thought of when the Internet first came out. It scared the daylights out of a lot of real estate agents and brokers because they said, "Customers aren't going to need me anymore." Well, it's just the opposite. Customers need us more, but they don't need us to be someone that necessarily helps them find the properties. They now need the real estate agent in more of a consultant role to take them through the process. In the old days, we were the ones that had the information. Now, they've already got the information, in many cases, because they've seen it all online. In the old days, we were hauling people around for days and showing them 100 houses, and now it's narrowed down to showing them a handful of houses. The real estate agent's value now is consulting with them -- negotiations, writing the contract, taking them through the process and making sure everything is being done properly. We're advertising our Web address on just about everything we do, trying to drive as much traffic to it as we can. We think that's positioning the company very well. If the market slows, then the seller wants a company that has all the tools. In a fast market like we've been in, just about anybody could sell a house. You hardly had to put up a sign. But as time goes on, the customer's going to need someone with the services and tools that we have. What about the FSBO (for sale by owner) movement? Is that a threat to your business? For-sale-by-owners have proliferated in the hot market. They'll have a difficult time, they'll slow down. There are a lot of companies -- assist-to-sell, or help-you-sell type companies -- that are somewhat of a stopgap between a full-service company like us and being a for-sale-by-owner. They tend to have a tougher time in a slower market. I think we're going to a slower market overall. There has been talk of a real estate slowdown in other parts of the country. Where do you see Nashville on that curve? I don't know whether Nashville will experience as much of a slowdown as what is predicted for the rest of the country. Nashville's on a roll right now. It's on a good roll with a lot of people coming in from California or wherever. Nissan moving here. We're on a good enough roll that I suspect that, if there is a landing, ours would be a soft landing. You talk to all the people that are making the decision to leave California, and it's all the same thing: quality of life. They feel like they're in a rat race out there. They have to commute long distances, work long hours just to be able to afford a house that's half the house they would get here. Nashville's centrally located, and that bodes very, very well for us. If you look at consolidation in the rest of the United States in different industries, they're saying, "We need a centrally located place to manufacture whatever we make so we can ship it out all over the country." Nashville has a central location, moderate climate, no state (income) taxes, low taxes, not heavy unions, an education system that seems to be working reasonably. There'll be some peaks and valleys on the overall growth, but I see Nashville as so well positioned, and it's no longer a well-kept secret. That word gets out, and there will be other announcements made, maybe not the size of Nissan, maybe smaller, but still nice-size headquarters coming into the market. What Nashville has to do is stay ahead of the curve -- the road system, the sewer system, the water treatment plants. If they can't put the infrastructure in place, then that tends to slow down growth. We keep getting compared to Atlanta, but most of us don't want to be in Atlanta because of their uncontrolled growth and lack of roads and lack of quality of life. And so the job here is for the politicians and government to stay ahead of the curve. Which parts of Middle Tennessee stand to gain the most? Nashville is a 360-degree city. Some cities go up against an ocean on one side, they can only grow three ways. We can grow four. Williamson County is going to benefit, but so is every county out there. Not everyone can afford to live in Williamson County. Some of our best offices are Hendersonville and Mt. Juliet, Hermitage. We sell a lot of houses, have great agents, and they do a tremendous job at selling more modest-priced houses. But they've got high-priced houses, too, in Mt. Juliet. They have $1 million houses. They just don't have as many. That's one of those self-fulfilling deals. Once an area gets a reputation, and Williamson County and Brentwood did, more people come to it and build $1 million houses. If you're going to build a $1 million house you want to be around other $1 million houses to protect your value. But you can live in Hendersonville and it's like resort living. Johnny Cash's house on the lake is a prime example. His brother, Tommy Cash, who's one of our agents, sold it. A rising tide lifts all boats, and the tide's been rising for Nashville for the past 10 years at least. Crye-Leike came here in late 1992, and every year's been a better year. Where do you live? I live about three minutes from here in the Belle Rive subdivision in a regular house that was built about 25 years ago. I can go home for lunch. We moved here two years ago this month from Memphis, and we couldn't find exactly what we wanted. My wife is a contractor. She couldn't find what she wanted and is pretty particular. Having built houses, she kind of knows what she wants. So finally we said, "Why don't we just find something we can live with now and be able to resell easily?" So we found a nice house, remodeled it with hardwood and granite countertops and brought it up to current standards, and we'll probably live there for a few years while we find the right site -- a couple acres, three or four. Many successful Realtors work round the clock, seven days a week, to make sure their sales go through. Are you a workaholic? I don't think so. Over the years I've mellowed out a whole lot. I used to be more uptight about things, but you probably couldn't get this size if a lot of little things bothered you. You have to let some things roll off your back and be a little more laid-back than that. During probably the first 10 years we were in business, I can't remember taking much of a vacation. They were few and far between. You were totally consumed and focused, and you also were struggling to make sure you paid the bills You get to the level we are now, and you're not worried about your next meal but you have to worry about the planning process and making sure you're meeting deadlines. I've got a wife and a 6-year-old at home. My Christmas present was a bicycle to be able to ride to the park with my 6-year-old. Life's too short. I realize that a little bit more now than I did when I was younger. I heard this saying: No one on their deathbed says, "I wish I spent more time at the office." I have to remind myself of that from time to time. o Executive Q&A is a regular feature in the Sunday Business Section. GRAPHIC; PHOTOS, CREDIT: ERIC PARSONS / STAFF: CAPTION: Crye-Leike President Harold Crye founded the nation's 10th-largest real estate company with Dick Leike in 1977. --- CAPTION: Harold Crye, president of the nation's 10th-largest real estate company, Crye-Leike, says that a good real estate agent is a good talker, a good listener, and a good "follow-upper." Copyright (c) The Tennessean. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc. Record Number: nsh2006011813585775
Written by David Smith, Reporter Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Harold Crye reached his goal almost a year early. Crye's Memphis-based Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. opened its first Little Rock office in June 2002. Before the office was furnished and with only one agent on staff, Crye said he expected to become the largest residential real estate company in a four-county area of central Arkansas ? Garland, Faulkner, Pulaski and Saline counties ? within three years. Now, with eight offices and 207 agents in the four-county central Arkansas area, Crye-Leike had $194 million in volume through July this year, Crye, the firm's chief executive officer, said last week. That's $78 million more than any other real estate firm in the four counties. It is a pattern Crye-Leike, the 10 th-largest real estate firm in the country, has repeated in its several major markets. The strategy includes hiring many agents, opening several offices, staying open late, advertising heavily and opening several affiliated businesses, such as a title company and a mortgage company. It's all part of Crye-Leike's efforts to provide as many services as possible for clients, Crye said. Crye-Leike (pronounced crylike) was founded in Memphis in 1977 and became the largest agency there in three years. Starting out using a pay phone at a Shoney's Restaurant to recruit agents in 1993, Crye-Leike became No. 1 in Nashville, Tenn., in a year. Crye-Leike became No. 1 in Chattanooga, Tenn., in four years. Crye-Leike has grown to 74 offices and more than 2,800 agents in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky and Florida. It had total volume of $3.7 billion in 2003. The twist in central Arkansas, some of Crye's competitors said last week, is that no other agency has offices in all four counties. But Crye-Leike also is the largest firm in Pulaski and Saline counties, with $146 million in total volume for the first seven months of 2004, $30 million more than perennial leader Janet Jones Co., which did $116 million with 32 agents in one Little Rock office. Roddy McCaskill, who owns Roddy McCaskill Realty in Little Rock, said he's surprised Crye-Leike has grown as quickly as it has in central Arkansas. "But they've done the same thing in other markets," McCaskill said. "So maybe it shouldn't be surprising." Wayne Richie, who sold his successful Audio International business in 1997 and now owns and runs Coldwell Banker Advantage Realty, is familiar with Crye's strategy. Coldwell Banker Advantage is also one of the fastest-growing agencies in central Arkansas, with almost $115 million in volume through July. Richie bought several firms in the market, including Real Estate Central of North Little Rock, and now has almost as many agents as Crye-Leike. ?CRYE'S MODEL WORKS' "It's obvious Harold Crye's business model works," Richie said. Crye-Leike is making central Arkansas "a very competitive arena," said Vic Hiryak, vice president of Rector Phillips Morse's residential division. "But I haven't noticed that they've taken over the market to the extent they predicted," Hiryak said. "Everyone is still in business. But if they've done anything, they've made the market very competitive for listings." One Little Rock agent, who asked not to be identified, said Crye-Leike can't be making a profit in central Arkansas, since it has the expense of opening eight offices and paying commissions to more than 200 agents. Another expense will be a $3.5 million, 30,000-square-foot building in west Little Rock. Crye said construction will start soon on the building that will serve as Little Rock headquarters for the company. The agent also said Crye-Leike makes most of its money off the ancillary businesses, such as a title company, mortgage company and even insurance companies. Crye didn't disagree with the agent's points. "Anytime you go into a market, you expect you're going to have some losses for a period of time," Crye said. "But we're heading toward becoming profitable a good bit quicker than we had calculated." Crye-Leike will make much of its profit later on the ancillary businesses, Crye said. Crye-Leike opened First Trust Mortgage in Little Rock this year. It should open Realty Title Co. this month and will open property and auto insurance companies later. It opened a property management division in Little Rock this month and has a division that sells houses that banks foreclose. "All research shows consumers far and away want the convenience of one-stop shopping," said Crye, who added he expects to open an office in northwest Arkansas at some point. "We're on the leading edge of providing that, much more so in the Little Rock market." FEW PAID WELL, RIVAL SAYS Last year, a competitor said Crye-Leike typically hires a horde of agents, and so the firm's average volume per agent is very low and few agents are paid well. Crye-Leike's 207 agents in central Arkansas averaged more than $900,000 in volume through July, less than the $3.6 million average for agents at Janet Jones and less than the average for agents at other top firms. But Crye-Leike is generating some top producers, too. Through July, at least 12 Crye-Leike agents in central Arkansas have exceeded $3 million in volume, according to the company's records. That is on pace for more than $5 million for the year. Jackson Rozelle, an agent in the Maumelle office, has produced almost $8 million in seven months, a pace that would generate almost $14 million for the year. Crye-Leike also is attracting agents with no real estate experience who are becoming top producers. CAREER CHANGE Becky Bien, who had a successful career as an executive in the health-care and legal professions, joined Crye-Leike in May last year. "I wanted to do something where I could be more in charge of my life," said Bien, 59, an agent in Little Rock. Used to making $70,000 to $80,000 a year, Bien started slow last year. She generated sales of only $2 million in 2003. It was four months before she got her first commission check. She got a $100,000 job offer in the health-care industry earlier this year, Bien said. Crye told her to be patient, that she would do better than that in real estate. "The other job was a safe harbor," Bien said. "But I read in my morning devotion the day I had to make a decision that a ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what a ship is built for. I just felt that was a direction from God that I should stay where I was." Bien turned down the job. So far this year, she has about $6 million in volume, putting her gross income above $150,000, she said. "I'd never worked on commission in my life," Bien said. "It was scary at first. But I work very hard. I'm at the office until 7 or 8 every night except Saturdays and have open houses on Sunday. But I believe the sky is the limit. I think God is going to really bless me in real estate." To entice agents to sign on with him, Crye offers up to 95 percent of the sales commission to top producers, compared with the typical 50 percent split for new agents. Most agencies also have graduated commission scales. ?LIKE A WAL-MART' "We're like a Wal-Mart when it comes to town," Crye said. "We're offering a good product at a discounted price. The discounted price is not to the guy who is buying or selling his house. The discounted deal is that we're providing such an aggressive commission schedule for the real estate agents. "It's very difficult for small companies to compete with." It is impossible to determine which firms are losing business to Crye-Leike, said Jim Carroll, chief executive officer of Carroll Mortgage Co. in Little Rock. "You can see some to the extent that agents or brokers leave one company to go to Crye-Leike, but that's about all," Carroll said. "But that's not unusual. Realtors move around all the time." Crye-Leike's rapid growth in central Arkansas almost could have been predicted, one Little Rock agent said. No company has ever had a big share of the market. Janet Jones led with about 10 percent of the Pulaski County market. "If a company hires 100 agents who each do a little bit of business, that doesn't mean it's better than a small firm where each agent does a lot of business," the agent said. Another goal Crye set that first month in Little Rock was that the company would do $300 million in volume in the four central Arkansas counties within three years. With $194 million in volume through seven months, Crye-Leike could reach $300 million by the end of the year. "We've grown 124 percent compared with this same time last year," Crye said. "Next year we'll probably grow by 50 percent, then 25 percent the next year and then we'll probably level off." Mike MacKinder, president of Rainey Realty, said there has not been much consolidation in the market. "There aren't any old-line companies merging or being bought," MacKinder said. But Crye said consolidation is also almost a certainty in central Arkansas in the next several years. When agents realize Crye-Leike's pay structure, that eventually will attract more experienced agents to the firm, Crye said. "Or it will force mergers and consolidation in the market," Crye said. "It doesn't always happen real quickly because agents are reluctant to make changes."
By George Waldon, staff writer - Arkansas Business As appeared in the special edition of Arkansas Business entitled, "Arkansas' Top Real Estate Firms and Agents", June 14, 2004. Residential sales among the 10 largest realty firms in Arkansas totaled more than $2.1 billion during 2003. The figure represents a whopping one-year change of 40 percent, which was boosted in part by the combination of two Pulaski County firms: Coldwell Banker Advantage Realty of Little Rock and Real Estate Central of North Little Rock. The acquisition propelled Coldwell Banker Advantage, led by Wayne and Paulette Richie, from No. 24 in 2002 (more than $54 million in sales) to No. 5 in 2003 ($182 million). Real Estate Central ranked No. 7 in 2002 with sales of $118 million. The firm was the dominant player in North Little Rock home sales and also operated offices in Jacksonville, Cabot, Conway and Little Rock. The ranks of the state's top 10 residential firms were shuffled with the addition of another new name: Crye-Leike Realtors. Crye-Leike's Arkansas operations, based out of Little Rock, generated sales of more than $260 million during 2003. That performance moved it to No. 4 statewide, up from No. 11 based on sales of $110 million the previous year. The Memphis-based chain also expanded its central Arkansas presence with offices in Bryant, North Little Rock, Maumelle and Benton. Aiding the Crye-Leike cause were operations in Hot Springs (started with the 2002 purchase of Prudential Lakefront Real Estate) and a new Conway office that opened in early 2003. Both Crye-Leike and Coldwell Banker Advantage reported 175 active licensed agents and brokers, the largest tally among residential realty firms in Arkansas. Adkins McNeill Smith & Associates Inc. of Little Rock registered a 41 percent leap in sales during 2003. The move was linked with the addition of two big producers formerly working at Chenal Properties, Gene Eberle and Cindy Loux-Cole. Harris McHaney Realtors of Rogers claimed a 29 percent increase in annual sales, climbing from $240 million in 2002 to $310 million. Other 20 percent-plus sales gains were reported by a trio of Fayetteville firms: Bassett Mix & Associates Inc. (24.6 percent), Re/Max Associates Inc. (23.8 percent) and Coldwell Banker Faucette Real Estate of Fayetteville (21.2 percent). The 2003 list of top-producing residential real estate agents in Arkansas grew from 190 to 270. The increase is notable because the minimum requirement for inclusion remained $5 million in combined sales and listings. The very top tier was dominated by producers employing the team-sales approach. Among the big movers in 2003 are Steven Blackwood of Blackwood Realty of Cabot, No. 95 to No. 9; Jack McHaney of Harris McHaney Realtors of Rogers, No. 102 to 29; Dale Carlton of Lindsey & Associates of Fayetteville, No. 93 to No. 37; and Mike Mycka of Re/Max Real Estate Results of Bentonville, No. 80 to No. 36. New names joining the list include Linda O'Brien, No. 14 ($20.9 million) and Victoria Robertson, No. 27 ($14.9 million), both of Re/Max Real Estate Connection of Cabot; Jenny Talley of Dixie Real Estate of Fayetteville, No. 44 ($12 million); Linda Williams, No. 46 ($11.9 million); Bobbie Miller of Ron Calhoun & Associates of Fort Smith, No. 52 ($11.4 million); and Amelia Eldridge of Lindsey & Associates, No. 57 (nearly $11 million). Two deaths will leave their mark on the next roster of top residential real estate agents. Lanny Grissom of ERA Henley Real Estate Inc. of Conway died in January. The final production of more than $9.7 million for his team ranked at No. 80. Grissom was credited with $17.2 million in sales, No. 16 in 2002. Carolyn Vernetti of Century 21 A-1 Realty of Bentonville, the No. 1 producer at the firm, died in September 2003. Vernetti, a leading residential seller for years, cranked out more than $7 million in sales in less than nine months. She ranked No. 27 statewide in 2002 with $14 million in home sales.
by Brian Forrester Crye-Leike Commercial has expanded beyond its traditional real estate turf to take in the buying and selling of businesses. Crye-Leike formatted a business brokerage division in September and has seven brokers focused on buying or selling businesses. "We were leaving money on the table," says Keith Crowe, a new director of the division. No longer. Crowe's crew has completed six deals since last fall and has another five pending. Adding business brokerage services was a natural extension of services, Crowe says. In the past, clients wanting to sell commercial real estate sometimes were trying to sell a business at the same time, but the real estate company wasn't equipped to help. Crye-Leike's business brokers' services span the spectrum of consulting, investment and income property brokerage, merger and acquisition assistance, site selection and tenant representation. Business owners pay a 10 percent commission at the time of their business' sale. Crye-Leike isn't the first real estate company to provide business brokerage services. "It does mesh well," says Debbie Foust, CEO of Hermitage-based Century 21 Music City. "The more you're capable of doing, the better you can serve your client." Foust has provided business brokerage services for more than 25 years. Century 21 Music City, which has a business brokerage staff of four, has helped sell companies with sales ranging from $50,000 to several million. Despite potential synergies between real estate services and business brokerage, not everyone is convinced Crye-Leike's move will pay off. "I think it's a stretch," says one real estate professional about Crye-Leike's expansion. "It involves a lot of things that don't have anything to do with real estate." Crye-Leike expects accountants, attorneys and financial institutions to act as lead generators for its business brokers. The company will work with clients in southern Kentucky and northern Alabama in addition to Middle Tennessee. Crowe says revenue for business brokerage clients ranges between $100,000 and $3 million. Most are closely held companies. "It really doesn't take that much more time to sell a million-dollar business than it does to sell a $100,000 business," Crowe says. Business brokerage is an unregulated profession, which means the state of Tennessee does not require a license like it does for other professional services, says Bren Letson, owner of VR Business Brokers' Nashville office. Traditionally, business brokers target companies with fewer than $20 million in revenue. Companies with revenue less than that fall off the radar of investment bankers who provide business brokerage services. "There is this no-man's land between $1 million in sales and $10 million to $20 million in sales," says Letson. To contact Nashville Business Journal reporter Brian Forrester, e-mail him at: email@example.com, 615-248-2222 ext. 115
Written by Linda A. Moore, reporter of The Commercial Appeal Dave Robertson was driving on Poplar near St. George's Episcopal Church in Germantown on Friday when he saw what looked like money blowing in the breeze. Curious, the Crye-Leike Realtor from Collierville turned around, stopped in the turn lane and started to pluck $100 bills from the pavement. "A lady stopped, grabbed some bills and said, 'Here, mister, here's your money,' " Robertson said. Another motorist also stopped and helped gather what they thought was Robertson's money. With bills stuffed in his pockets, an envelope with more bills, along with a deposit slip, Robertson drove off and parked his car. "I looked at the deposit slip. It was for $6,100," he said. "As it ended up I had 61 $100 bills." That's when Robertson called Sheila Vernon of Germantown to ask if she'd lost something. Robertson had identified himself as a Realtor, so she thought he was just making a sales call. As she listened, her son Jason Vernon, 23, walked in. "I didn't know it had been lost," Sheila Vernon said. But Jason Vernon did. His mom had given him the money to deposit in the bank. He had put the envelope with the money down on the roof of his car as he dealt with a cooler he'd left there. Then he and a college buddy drove off to return a rental trailer. Once Jason realized the money was missing he and his friend started hunting for it, driving back along their path. "I didn't get nervous because when something bad happens, I get into the 'How can I fix it?' mode rather than the 'I'm in trouble' mode," he said. His mind was on how he'd pay the money back. "I didn't feel nervous until after it was all over," he said. So he and his mom met Robertson, collected the money and deposited it in the bank. "Sure enough, there are good people in the world," Sheila Vernon said. She offered Robertson a reward, but he refused. "I told her you can't pay me anything," he said. "Just pass on the favor to someone else."
As published in the Memphis Business Journal, June 7, 2004 edition. by Jane Aldinger, staff writer Founded by two unassuming home salesmen, Crye-Leike Realtors has matured into a regional real estate powerhouse with an aggressive growth strategy and a booming franchise business that has landed the company as the No. 10 largest residential brokerage firm in the nation. Crye-Leike is ranked No. 28 on the Memphis Business Journal's Top 100 Private Companies list with $126.6 million in revenues in 2003. Crye-Leike was No. 33 on last year's list with 2002 revenues of $108.4 million. Harold Crye and Dick Leike founded the company in 1977 in Memphis with "two people that sold houses," Crye says. Humble about their success, Crye and Leike both attribute the company's impressive statistics to their support staff of agents and employees. "If you surround yourself with good people, you'll find success," Leike says. "If we can get a few people to go to work, we'll pay the bills." Crye-Leike is doing more than just paying the bills, though. With a closed sales volume of $3.6 billion in 2003, the company ranks No. 24 in REAL Trends' national sales ranking volume. "We thought maybe 20 agents -- that would be pretty good," Crye says about the founders' thoughts when the company was born. The company has grown into a full-service real estate firm with over 2,800 sales associates in 71 branch and franchise offices in six states. "I think we were just hoping to survive and pay the bills at that time," Leike says. "Now, it grows itself if we do what we're supposed to be doing." Crye-Leike also posted in the residential real estate publication's annual rankings as the No. 10 largest and most successful residential brokerage firm in the country and as the No. 7 largest privately owned and independent real estate company. Crye-Leike offers its customers a full spectrum of real estate services including residential real estate, relocation, commercial business and investment real estate, property leasing and management, development and construction, REO and foreclosure, mortgage lending, insurance, title, home, auction, apartment locator, franchise sales and builder resource. "Consumers want one-stop shopping," Crye says, and that's why the company has incorporated all of a homeowner's needs under one company umbrella. Crye-Leike started franchising its name about three years ago because Crye says they kept getting calls from smaller towns. "We just couldn't get to them quickly enough," he says. So the company started licensing the Crye-Leike name and Web site capabilities to franchisees, and both say that regional franchises are becoming a trend as it goes along with industry consolidation. The company currently has 18 franchise offices in smaller markets. The owners expect that number to increase to nearly 100 franchises within the next several years. Low interest rates have fueled home sales, but Crye and Leike are confident that as long as interest rates stay moderate, they will sell homes. "People buy and sell whether it's a good or bad market," Crye says. Crye and Leike are storming their active markets and trying to remain ahead of the competition focusing on their four major markets: Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Little Rock. "Everything else is a competitor, and we can handle competition," Crye says. Crye and Leike are both still active in sales and in local associations including the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. A service-oriented approach is the key to any successful business, and the company's two founders insist that providing a comprehensive and quality service is what has allowed them to accomplish so much. "If we're the largest, it must mean we're doing the best service," Crye says. "That's the only way somebody can do better." CONTACT staff writer Jane Aldinger at 259-1727 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By reporter Carl D. Holcombe Street-churning development is remaking North Little Rock's downtown, but its historic Park Hill neighborhood is generating interest by relying on old-fashioned charm, affordable housing and an infrastructure touch-up. Those three factors, business and civic leaders hope, will take the tree-canopied neighborhood out of the shadows of Little Rock and imbue it with a new sense of vitality by attracting new businesses, residents and respect. "We really want to pattern Park Hill after what The Heights has done," said Terry Hartwick, president and CEO of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. "The Heights really took off, and Park Hill is about to do the same ? quaint shops and quaint restaurants are coming." The city has recently finished installing 1920s period light poles, sidewalks and improved medians on John F. Kennedy Boulevard as part of a facelift by Marlar Engineering of North Little Rock that ran up about an $800,000 bill, according to city officials. A multimillion dollar project to improve John F. Kennedy Boulevard drainage was also finished a few years ago. Soon to be launched is a beautification program to plant flowers, shrubbery and other flora in sidewalk cutouts along JFK. "There was no atmosphere," Hartwick said. The Park Hill area recently gained its first hefty business development in about 30 years, said North Little Rock First Ward Alderman Martin Gipson. Crye-Leike Realtors of Tennessee, one of the nation's largest realty firms, began redevelopment of the 16,000-SF Park Hill Shopping Center last year. Crye-Leike bought the site from Park Hill Baptist Church for about $550,000. The new shopping center and the renovation of the strip next door will push the total investment to about $2 million, according to company president Harold Crye. Gone from the 0.8-acre site are the gutted Park Theater, a pharmacy and other vacant store fronts that had been built in the 1940s. "For Crye-Leike to locate their agency there, by them investing in new construction, it tells me they're bullish on Park Hill and even more so on (the city)," said North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays, whose Park Hill home is four blocks from where he grew up. "But I wouldn't doubt that the city's plans had something to do with their interest and enthusiasm in being there." Besides Crye-Leike's realty, insurance and banking operations at the 3400 John F. Kennedy Blvd. site, the office's managing broker, David Goldstein, said the two-building site will lease office space at about $16 per SF. Interested businesses so far range from florists to restaurateurs to neighborhood service providers. "(Improvements are) sparking new business to come to the area," said Johnny McKay, former owner of McKay Realtors of North Little Rock and now a Crye-Leike broker in Little Rock. "Certainly, Crye-Leike saw it as a place to set up." Gipson, a Park Hill homeowner for 39 years and a 22-year alderman said, "Park Hill is a very viable business community ? (But) as buildings became vacant, they stayed vacant ? the infrastructure decayed." The neighborhood has seen other development, including the nearly $8 million expansion and renovation project by Park Hill Baptist Church that included a roughly 1,200-seat fellowship hall. But planners foresee a future where a walk down the boulevard to get a meal at a high-quality restaurant is the norm for Park Hill residents. They mostly anticipate boutiques and small businesses. The downtown area won't compete with Park Hill for development dollars or resources because the goals of each are different, Hays said. The city also can't provide tax incentives for businesses because of Arkansas' precarious financial situation. "Five years from now, when the Bass Pro Shop is here and North Little Rock is a destination ? and not to be sexist ? I envision dad and son spending time at the shop," Goldstein said. "And (I see) mom and her daughter walking to Park Hill for high-end boutiques and caf?s. You'll be able to stroll the neighborhood." Holding back those restaurants' arrival is Park Hill's decades-old status as a dry township, which bars all alcohol sales, beer and wine at restaurants. A ballot initiative petition two years ago to lift the law failed to garner enough signatures, but Gipson blamed that on outdated voter registration rolls maintained by Pulaski County Clerk Carolyn Staley. A 1947 recall law requires signatures from 38 percent of registered voters in the precinct. "It's very difficult when 40 percent of the registered voters are dead or don't live there anymore," Gipson said. "We had 40 percent of the people that actually still lived there." Another group will relaunch the initiative campaign this summer, he said. Crye-Leike's location may indicate Park Hill real estate may be shaping up as one of the Little Rock area's better values. The location offers a quick jump onto Highway 40 and speedy access to downtown Little Rock and to the McCain shopping areas to the northeast without the traffic clog of west Little Rock, say business and city officials. Housing stock hidden behind mature trees and down side streets and dating from the 1920s to the 1940s offer big yards and a variety of home sizes ? and the feel of Little Rock living at North Little Rock prices. "It's an eclectic blend of housing," Hays said. Housing values are rising at about a 5 to 7 percent annual clip, according to Goldstein. In 2002, 118 Park Hill homes sold, with a median price of $94,500, he said, while 723 homes sold city-wide with a $82,500 median price. That median hit $104,000 in 2003 on sales of 120 homes in Park Hill and $87,500 citywide on sales of 785 homes. Twenty-eight homes had sold through mid-April of this year with a median price of $94,250, while 206 homes had sold in all of North Little Rock with a median price of $88,250. North Little Rock homes are staying on the market an average of 64 days, while Park Hill homes are selling in an average of 35 days. Moving in are ex-Park Hill residents, retirees, young families and young professionals without children. "Park Hill is shaping up as a destination," Goldstein said. "It's for people who want all the convenience of city living but with a hometown feel. Park Hill is definitely that area." Helping values was the August 2000 designation of Park Hill ? including 561 homes ? on the National Registry of Historic Places, said Sandra Taylor Smith, director of the North Little Rock History Commission. "It's our unique, vintage, 1920s neighborhood," Taylor Smith said. North Little Rock's outside image as a step down from Little Rock doesn't worry city and business leaders. A sizable part of that probably traces to a natural competition between the "twin cities." "If anything, I have to live with the stereotypes people have of Arkansas, which is worse," Gipson said. "North Little Rock is a big little town. I can still walk down the street and still know most of the merchants." Park Hill was platted in 1921, at the same time as The Heights, by Justin Matthews who had bought 500 acres of land in the area, Taylor Smith said. Building took off in 1927, stuttered through the Great Depression, and took off again after World War II as G.I.s flooded home, she said. For years it had its own schools, water system and fire department, until annexation by North Little Rock in 1946. "We've got our little good and bad spots, but we're right next door to Little Rock so we get more attention," the Chamber's Hartwick said. "But we're winning more now."
More education. That's the message from the incoming head of the local Realtor association. "It is a changing business, and we need all the education we can have," said Kathy Tucker, incoming president of the Chattanooga Association of Realtors. Mrs. Tucker said she wants to redouble the association's educational efforts, which include state-mandated continuing education, designation courses and seminars on topics of concern to Realtors. She still is formulating plans for new educational programs. She said she wants to help clients gain more education and awareness of the home-buying process. She also encourages affiliate brokers to get their broker's licenses, which are becoming harder to obtain with new regulations. Mrs. Tucker will be installed as president of the Chattanooga Association of Realtors at the organization's Dec. 10 meeting, although she won't take office until Jan. 1. "She's already way ahead of the game," said Francie Ryder, executive officer of the Chattanooga Association of Realtors. "I think it's going to be a delight to work with her." Mrs. Tucker said she has seven years of management experience, including six years as manager of Crye-Leike, Realtors' Hixson office. However, she said she still takes time to get out of the office and sell homes and share agents' experiences. A native Chattanoogan, Mrs. Tucker said her education consisted of public schools, including City High Schol, her alma mater. "I'm very sold on the area." She has been a Realtor for 26 years. She served on the board of directors for the association and was president of the Multiple Listing Service a couple of years ago. She is the 92nd association president, succeeding Realtor Steve Champion as the association's leader. Mrs. Tucker said she has seen several changes as a Realtor and predicts technology will continue to effect change. Home listings once were printed in books; now, they are available online. There also are more disclosures about a property's condition, which is a good change, she said. In earlier days, there were no disclosures. "It was almost buyer beware," she said. She said she wants to work hard with association members, to discuss the pros and cons of fees-for-service, a sometimes controversial trend in real estate transactions that involves agents receiving payment in a form other than the traditional commission. One change on the horizon is virtual office Web sites, which will eliminate the needs of some Realtors to have a brick-and-mortar office, she said. The "MLS is about sharing, and it's easy for the public to access. That's what it's about, helping the public. "For longtime Realtors it's about getting used to show business is done these days," she said. The forecast for next year's home sales is good, according to the economic data Mrs. Tucker said she has read. There was a forecast a few years ago that membership in the National Association of Realtors would drop because of technological advancements, but national membership actually is at a record level of nearly 1 million, she said. There are more than 1,200 members of the Chattanooga area association, which is close to an all-time high. Although the number of local listings is down slightly this year, homes are selling at a higher rate, she said. Strong home sales this year has helped the struggling economy. "Real estate has been the one stable force in the economy," And, she said, she expects next year's home market to be similar. E-mail Jason M. Reynolds at email@example.com.
By Mike Pare, staff writer Two new office buildings are going up in growing corridors of Hamilton County. Crye-Leike Realtors is shifting its Hixson branch to a site off state Highway 153 just north of Oak Park Town Center near Grubb Road. A 13,290-square-foot building is under construction for the real estate company and two other firms, said John Straussberger, owner of The Strauss Company Inc., which is the contractor for the office project. Also, the company is building a 9,000-square-foot office structure for Dr. Thomas R. Cook III, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, on Morrison Springs Road. Rachel Millard, Dr. Cook's practice manager, said the building is expected to be ready for patients in February. "He wanted to find an area ready for growth and wanted to get in on the ground floor," she said about the site across from Erlanger North hospital. Concerning the Highway 153 development, Mr. Straussberger said about 80 percent of the structure is leased already. The project, designed by Billingsley Architecture, is estimated to cost about $2 million, Mr. Straussberger said. Harold E. Crye, chief executive of Crye-Leike, said the real estate firm had been searching for a better location for its Hixson branch, which is now in the Northgate area. "This new location gives us excellent exposure," he said in a statement about the building to be finished by year's end. Mr. Straussberger said development is expected to continue on Highway 153 between Hixson Pike and U.S. 27. Wolford Development, which built Oak Park Town Center, is considering another large retail development in the area near Winding Lane. "This is where growth is going to be seen when it comes to development on Highway 153," Mr. Straussberger said. The Morrison Springs Road building is near the Erlanger North complex, he said. "That area has some room for growth," Mr. Straussberger said. At Morrison Springs and Mountain Creek roads, an $8 million development of 51 townhomes and five estate homes is already under way. Ms. Millard said Dr. Cook's East TN Facial Surgery office is relocating from its Hamilton Place area site. "We're moving from under 3,500 square feet to almost a 10,000-square-foot building," she said. Mr. Straussberger estimated the Morrison Springs Road project at about $1.4 million. The contractor said his company, which has 44 employees, is working on nine projects the same size as the two office buildings.
When Memphis-based Crye-Leike Inc. opened an office in Little Rock in June last year, Harold Crye set a goal of becoming the largest real estate firm in central Arkansas within three years. Crye, the company's chief executive officer, was aiming at a market including Pulaski, Saline, Faulkner and Garland counties. Crye-Leike made a good state in its first year, totaling about $46 million in residential home sales in Pulaski and Saline counties, ranking No. 11 in the market. But it still has a long way to go before it becomes the largest. From July 2002 through June 2003 - the first 12 months Crye-Leike was in central Arkansas- the Janet Jones Co. was the No. 1 firm in Pulaski and Saline counties by a wide margin, selling 676 houses totaling almost $160 million. The No. 2 firm in the two-county market was McKay & Co. with more than $118 million in sales. The top six firms - Janet Jones, McKay & Co., Rainey Realty, Adkins, McNeil Smith & Associates, Rector Phillips Morse, and Real Estate Central - each did more than twice the business of Crye-Leike for the first 12 months it was in central Arkansas. Most real estate agents and brokers said business this year has been exceptional because of continued low mortgage rates. Last year, Crye said his goal was to have $300 million in home sales in Pulaski, Saline, Faulkner and Garland counties within three years. "Last year, Harold Crye talked like he was going to run the rest of us out of business, and it hasn't happened," one Little Rock real estate agent, who asked not to be identified, said last week. Crye-Leike hasn't run existing firms out of business in its other markets, but it has become the largest agency in some Tennessee cities. Crye-Leike began business in Memphis in 1977 and became the largest real estate firm there in only three years. It opened an office in Nashville, Tenn., about 10 years ago and became No. 1 in that market the first year. It took four years before it moved to No. 1 in Chattanooga. Crye-Leike has about 40 percent of the market in the massive Memphis area, which in Arkansas includes West Memphis and Crittenden County. It is the 10th largest firm in the country, with more than 2,500 agents in 68 branch offices. It had sales volume of $3.2 billion and closed more than 22,000 transactions last year. "First of all, I never said we'd run anybody out of business," Crye said by phone last week as he checked on construction of Crye-Leike's 18th office in Nashville. "That may have been Realtor talk or the perception. We don't intend to run anybody out of business, but we'll be good competitors. In every market we've been in, we've raised the bar." Little Rock is Crye-Leike's first regional hub outside Tennessee. Since opening its first office on Financial Centre Parkway in west Little Rock in June 2002, Crye-Leike has added offices on Hinson Road in West Little Rock and in Bryant, Conway, Hot Springs, North Little Rock and Maumelle. The firm has 160 agents in seven offices. "Little Rock has some really fine, old companies and some really good folks in the real estate business at firms like the Janet Jones Co. and McKay & Co. and other firms," said Roddy McCaskill, the No. 2 agent in central Arkansas in sales volume. "And 80 percent of our business comes from repeat customers and referrals. So it's not like somebody can step in just because they are big and start gobbling up market share." Janet Jones, owner of the Janet Jones Co., said her business has remained strong since Crye-Leike moved into Little Rock. "I think there is enough business for all of us so that it will not hurt anyone else's business." Jones said. Mike MacKinder, president of Rainey Realty Inc., said Crye-Leike should be able to move into the top 10 firms in Pulaski and Saline counties, but breaking into the top five will be more difficult. "I just don't think his prediction of becoming No. 1 in the market in three years will happen," MacKinder said. TOP PRODUCERS Crye-Leike's plans of becoming the largest firm haven't sat too well with some agents. Even with 160 agents in central Arkansas, some noted that Crye-Leike still hasn't recruited a top producer from another firm. Truman Ball, owner of Truman Ball & Associates, said there may be a reason for that. "That may be the way they want it," Ball said of Crye-Leike. Jeff Fuller, owner of Agentonline.com Realty and the No. 1 agent in the market with almost $50 million in sales, noted that with 2,500 agents and volume of $3.2 billion, Crye-Leike's average agent has sales of $1.2 million. "If you assume the agent gets 3 percent, that is a gross of $36,000 before expenses," Fuller said. "Burger King management pays more than that. I'm not picking on Crye-Leike but [the real estate business] is a hard job for that kind of money. What Crye-Leike is good at doing is acquiring a large number of agents but they're not good at creating a large amount of wealth for their agents." Fuller said top producers tend to demand higher splits on commissions, while less-productive agents draw lower commissions, which is more profitable for the real estate firm. Crye disputed Fuller's claim. "He's so far out in left field he can't see home plate," Crye said. Crye acknowledged that Crye-Leike hasn't attracted one of the top producers in central Arkansas, but he said it is only a matter of time before that happens. "Hide and watch," he said when asked if Crye-Leike will recruit some top producers. Johnny McKay, managing broker of Crye-Leike's office on Hinson Road in west Little Rock, the firm's largest central Arkansas office, said there is "no question" that some of the area's top producers will switch to Crye-Leike. "It is not like we are waiting on that to happen," said McKay, whose father once owned McKay & Co. "The marketing department has all the tools to give to the individual agent. We have the training for people new to the business. We're confident that people will continue to see the benefit of going with Crye-Leike." CONSOLIDATION TREND Crye now anticipates reaching $250 million in sales next year and $400 million and 350 agents by 2005 in Pulaski, Saline, Faulkner and Garland counties. Crye-Leike already has had $20 million months in central Arkansas, and Crye expects several $30 million months next year. There also are plans to open an office in Northwest Arkansas, but Crye declined to say when. He also expects there to be consolidation in the central Arkansas real estate market in the next few years. "I assume Little Rock is not any different than most cities in the country," Crye said. "It is not necessarily us who will cause it to happen, but we may benefit from it. The main Reason is just the cost of competition." Randy Alexander, president of McKay & Co., said Crye-Leike has a pattern of buying companies in other markets and likely will be able to consolidate existing companies in the central Arkansas market. "I think there is not reason to underestimate the potential they have," Alexander said. "It's a challenge for all of us to deliver service to our individual customers so they can see a difference in one company." Ellen Roche, vice president of research at the National Association of Realtors, said consolidation is a slow trend developing nationally but "in some individual metropolitan areas it can be more extreme." "Even though real estate always has been and continues to be a really high-touch business, we are seeing ways in which technology is adding to the business," Roche said. "That's one thing that is driving consolidation. The cost of technology means it can be more effective to spread that out over a larger number of transactions." Roche said 11 percent of home buyers last year reported that they found the house they eventually bought on the Internet, compared with less than 1 percent in 1995. The number of people who say they search for homes on the Internet is 71 percent, Roche said.
by David Royer, Memphis Business Journal Reporter First-time home buyer Jeff Yates searched homes from East Memphis to East Buntyn near the University of Memphis for three months before he settled on a bungalow in Midtown's Evergreen neighborhood this summer. "I was actually looking for a smaller home in the Midtown area, in the $125,000-$150,000 range," says Yates, a 34-year-old staff accountant at Pfizer, Inc. "There were quite a few that I looked at." Yates is one of many young professionals who became homeowners in the past few months, as low sales prices coupled with record low mortgage rates made Memphis an attractive place to settle down. While other areas of the country are seeing double-digit percentage increases in home prices, Memphis' second quarter average sales price of $132,600 is just 0.4% above the same period in 2002. The average price for a home in the Memphis area actually slipped over the course of the year from a high of $133,500 in January to $130,200 in July, according to the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. 2003, with its record-low mortgage rates, has been a tremendous year for first-time buyers purchasing starter homes, says John Criswell, principal broker with Crye-Leike's Arlington office. The influx of new, younger buyers is behind this year's slight dip in median sales price, he says. Starter homes in Memphis usually fall in the $120,000-$150,000 range. That, says Criswell, could account for the fall in average prices. "These rates have been so attractive that people coming out of apartments are now able to own a house," Criswell says. By comparison, Riverside, Calif., has seen a 23.5% increase in home prices over 2002, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. A typical house there might have cost Yates $212,600, nearly the price of two similar houses in Memphis. Memphis' median price was below Knoxville ($141,300), Kansas City, Mo., ($144,700); Birmingham, Ala., ($148,900); and Atlanta ($151,400). Little Rock's median was $105,200; the median in Jackson, Miss., was $114,800. No data was available for Nashville. Nationally, the median home price in Memphis was significantly lower than the average in the Southern region ($157,400) and the U.S. as a whole ($168,900). Western states are the most expensive places in the country to buy a home, led by the San Francisco bay area, where the average home lists for more than $560,000. The Northeast corridor remains slightly less expensive, but markets there are growing at rates that are beginning to exceed the national average. NAR lists the annual increase in prices for the Memphis area at 5.1%, a rate comparable to several peer cities and the Southern region as a whole. New Orleans, with a median home price of $133,200, has a 5.8% rate of increase. Louisville, Ky., with a median price of $131,200, increased by 4%. Memphis' slow-to-no growth in real estate prices is typical for this market, which generally follows the normal rate of appreciation with few noticeable fluctuations, says Isaac Northern, president of MAAR. "We're pretty steady here," he says. "We don't have the activity here that would cause great changes. Typically the Memphis market is able to absorb any changes." Northern notes that a steady construction rate by builders shields Memphis from large boom and bust cycles, helping to stabilize prices in the residential market. That stability, he says, will likely continue for the foreseeable future. Yates may have made a good decision buying his house now rather than waiting. Interest rates are beginning to creep back up, and the window for new homeowners could be closing. As Criswell says: "You either buy a house now, or you've missed the boat." CONTACT intern David Royer at 259-1732 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Kate Miller Morton Memphis, Tenn. - From closing costs to interior upgrades to new appliances, homebuilders are increasingly contributing to the start-up costs of home buying. Once the purview of volume builders only, bonuses have become an expected part of the bargaining for entry level home buyers and similar incentives are creeping into higher end homes. Reeves-Williams LLC vice president Martha Fondren says the company's bonuses usually range between $8,500 and $10,000, depending on the location and price of the house. Bonuses can go as high as $15,000, which is now being offered in the nearly completed Cumberland subdivision where the company is anxious to finish construction and move on to the next project. Fondren says the company has always offered special programs, but bonuses have become important in the last three or four years. She attributes their rise to the fall in the typical home buyer's savings. "Nobody saves money any more," Fondren says. "The purpose then of the bonus program is to help them with closing costs to get into the home. The mortgage companies have come up with special programs for them so they can get in with little or no money as down payment. Then Reeves will kick in money for closing costs that helps them get in the home. They don't have to borrow." Fondren attributes the lack of savings partially to the age of new home buyers. "There was a time when you got married and had to save money to buy a house," Fondren says. "People just aren't doing that. People now expect to immediately buy the home of their dreams. They're getting it." Volume builder Bowden Homes doesn't have a formal bonus program. "We don't do a whole lot of that," says Jeff Sweeney, president of Bowden Homes. "We have a design center and we have a program that's called Bowden bonus bucks, and it's just money we allocate to be used for that design center." Sweeney says Bowden opened the design center four years ago to get its sales people out of the decorating business, not because of pressure from other builders' bonus programs. Bowden does offer several programs that assist with closing costs. An average Bowden house sells for about $150,000. Sweeney says buyers of these houses could receive anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500 in Bowden bonus bucks. The money can be used to upgrade to hardwood floors, wrought iron light fixtures and marble fireplaces. "Our goal is to give the best quality home with the most features for the best price, and we try to stay out of the gimmicks," he says. "Home buyers are smart enough where they can read through most of that." John Criswell, a broker at Crye Leike's Highway 64 Houston Levee office, says builder dollars or bonus bucks began about three years ago when volume builders began offering $5,000 in closing costs or upgrades. "It just began to escalate," Criswell says. "Some builders offer a tremendous amount of up-front money. It helps people get into the home for little or no money down, and it does sell houses." Criswell represents P&G Capital Partners, which is building 51 homes between Whitten Road and Mullins Station in a subdivision called the Grove in Whitten Forest. P&G is offering $4,000 in closing costs or upgrades on the homes priced between $121,900-$134,900. The company has sold more than 50% of its inventory in the last 18 months. Criswell says the bonuses are primarily offered on entry level market or zero lot line homes of $100,000 to $150,000. "Usually if you get a real expensive home people are coming out of another home and have some equity and aren't looking for all these closing costs," he says. Phil Chamberlain, vice president of Chamberlain & McCreery, Inc., says his company resisted bonuses and other special programs for 15 years, but finally caved two years ago. "We would have people come into the models and kept asking our agents, 'What's the builder going to do for me?' " Chamberlain says. "We had so much pressure from our real estate agents to get competitive." Chamberlain & McCreery now offers a $5,000 bonus in all of its homes, which sell for an average of $215,000. The bonus is contingent upon the buyer using approved mortgage companies and closing attorneys, which Chamberlain says ensures on-time closings. Chamberlain says his company's bonuses are among the lowest offered, and that's not likely to change regardless of any increase in interest rates. "If we offered more we would have to have a price increase," Chamberlain says. "This is as much as we can offer without a price increase." CONTACT staff writer Kate Miller Morton at 259-1764 or email@example.com
by Reporter Scott Shepard It wasn't as busy as MLGW, but the Great Gust of 2003 kept workers at Crye-Leike Home Services hopping last week. The free referral service for a wide variety of home maintenance needs received 1,880 calls during the three days after the storm, an average of 626 calls a day. Crye-Leike Home Services normally receives about 350 calls a day. Among the most common inquiries were tree removal, glass replacement and roof repair. Crye-Leike Home Services' vendor agreements with more than 300 local vendors require its 15,000 local customers to receive priority for service. The service is available to home owners who have bought or listed a house with Crye-Leike. Located in Crye-Leike Realtors' headquarters building, the Crye-Leike division never lost power.
Harold E. Crye is chief executive officer of Crye-Leike, Realtors, a six-state real estate empire that he and co-owner and president Dick Leike founded in 1977. The Memphis-based company hit the $1 billion mark in sales volume in 1993 and passed $3 billion in 1999. It has about 2,300 agents in more than 60 company-owned and franchise offices in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida. Crye says he started out as ''a small-town boy from a little town in Arkansas'' who moved to Memphis, the nearest big city, to find a job after serving in the Army in Korea. He was hired as a salesman with Container Corporation of America, but a real estate course at what is now the University of Memphis grabbed his interest. Shortly after Crye earned his real estate license, he chatted over lunch break with a forklift operator at the Container plant. ''He and his wife were looking for a house,'' Crye recalls. ''I said, 'You're kidding! I got a real estate license,' and he said, 'Well, sell us one.' So I picked him up and sold him a house, and that kind of was the beginning.'' Recently, Crye spoke with reporter Kathy Carlson about residential real estate and the Nashville-area market, which Crye-Leike began to serve in 1992. Q: How do you see the Nashville and Middle Tennessee markets fitting in with your other markets?" A: Well, we're in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Little Rock and in Johnson City, 51 or 52 offices and about 2,300 sales agents. ? Nashville we see as a really strong growth market for us when we look at those markets we're in. ? One, we've got 18 offices in place and about 800 agents, but the market here is a good bit larger market, large in the number of agents, large in the number of sales that are happening in the market. ? We already have the expenses ? all we have to do is increase the volume, and we will gain, I guess, a significant profitability. Q; Is the Nashville operation profitable right now? A: It is profitable, but it's not at the level we would like for it to be, because we've spent these 10 years putting in facilities. We're now at the point where ? we've got locations in almost every location that you need an office, and so now is the time that we're seeing the growth of the company, and the growth of the sales volume should be happening for us over the next few years. If our expenses are pretty well already set, then (with an) increase in volume that money goes to the bottom line. Q: Can you put a number on how profitable Nashville is as compared to other offices? A: Memphis is our most profitable, Nashville would be next, then Chattanooga. And Little Rock is still in the start-up level. Q: What are you planning to do over the next few years to bring the profit margin up in the Nashville area? A: For us it's maximizing the position that we're already in. For instance, if we have the facilities in place, then we need to maximize those facilities. ? If we have an office facility that will house 50 agents then we need to be recruiting to get to that 50-agent mark to be able to maximize the utilization for that space, for instance. ? The first expense item is the sales associate, the next one is the rent. Q: How are commissions for agents split between the agent and the organization? A: It varies depending on the associate and their level of production. It's an incentive-type thing ? the more you make, the higher percentage you get. We start as low as 60% to the associate, and we can go as high as 95%. Q: Where do you see the local market going in the next few years? You know, you see record year after record year in house sales. A: We see Nashville as being on the growth curve. Nashville is ? I don't know how I want to word this ? I run into people from time and time and say, ''What brought you to Nashville?'' and it's amazing. There are people that pick Nashville out that have no family here. They pick Nashville out and maybe one spouse was into music or something like that, but there's cases where they picked it because it was centrally located. I find that to be a little bit amazing, but they're not too far south and not too far north, and they have family in Florida and they have family in Minnesota, and so they're saying, ''This is perfect for me.'' ? With all the growth ? of the peripheral areas of Davidson County ? Nashville over the next 10 to 15 years is probably going to outstrip most of the comparable communities in the region. I think most people would say (there's) a better quality of life than what you'd see in Atlanta with all the congestion they've got there. There's some lifestyle issues here that are attractive to most people. Q: What's your assessment of the overall housing market, just in terms of the economy? A: Very, very strong. ? We've been enjoying for the last five or six years mostly record years and a very, very good real estate economy. I think some of us probably have wondered when the ride may be over with. If you think of California and some of the problems that they may have had over the years where the housing prices go up and then they drop, Nashville really hasn't had that. ? But if the interest rates moved up 2 percentage points today, a lot of real estate sales would dry up pretty quickly because most people have refinanced their house, and they've got a 5% rate and they would not be happy to go to a 7% rate. So that's one of those things that if we get a little age on us we know that these things have cycles, and we've been through some cycles. I was in the business when Jimmy Carter was president, and we sold houses at a 16.5% interest rate. Don't want to see that ever again, but you never know. That's scary to think about. ? We were a young company, and we were able to survive that because we were young and still growing. Today, at our size, ?. it would be difficult to downsize, and in an economy like that, you would see a lot of real estate companies close their doors. We had to get very creative to exist, to last. Q: What were some of the creative things? A: A lot of owner financing, a lot of second mortgages, wraparound mortgages, you name it, we were trying to do it. Lease-purchases. Every type thing you could think of we were trying to do back in those days to put a deal together. ? Q: Well, what about the whole phenomenon now of zero down payments, the sub-prime lending, how do you see that affecting markets? A: ? It's created a new industry. ? We have a division, for instance, called our REO division, REO stands for real estate owned. ? Foreclosed properties. Banks do not like ''real estate owned'' on their books, and they want to get them off as quickly as possible ? and they turn them over to companies like ours to dispose of them. ? In years past we didn't have a division just for that, and now we've got one just for that and why is that? ? Because how many days a week do you get an envelope in the mail that says, ''Here's a new credit card for you''? ? So the average American has got how many thousand dollars on their credit card, and many of them just don't have the ability to pay. So they go bankrupt. They're letting their houses go back, and that has created a new industry ? the industry of handling bank foreclosures. We see more and more of that because the banks are all aggressive in their lending trying to get the money out. Q: When you were talking about California and their home prices going up and then drastically falling, can you see that happening here? A: No, not to the degree, I don't think. Ours is probably more cyclical than a bubble like California may be. ? The market is very balanced right now, and I think the bankers are probably a little smarter. I don't think that they are as willing to let builders get too far ahead of the market. ... Q: I read a lot about people investing in real estate as opposed to stocks and bonds, and I see a lot of books in the bookstores about how to make money in real estate. What's your sense of that market? A: It's a fairly substantial market, but the person has to be a real worker. They've got to be pretty astute, and they've got to know their values and they've got to be willing to ? make a lot of offers without getting emotionally involved in them. ? I've got a friend that does that, and he probably doesn't buy one out of 20, he makes offers on, say 20 out of 20 but ? he makes low-enough offers that he doesn't get many of them, but the ones he does get, he cleans them up and sells them and makes a nice profit. It's a nice living. Q: It looks like Crye-Leike has often become the No. 1 firm in a market fairly quickly. How have you guys done that? A: What we bring to the table is a combination of services and facilities and commission schedule. Not many companies can deliver the services and facilities and a commission schedule. Our niche is that we are a company with office locations in basically all the submarkets of Middle Tennessee. ? There are people wanting to deal with the largest, and there are some services that we have that other companies don't have, and some of it is because we have the size to be able to deliver. (One service is Crye-Leike's appointment center, in which an employee) takes the phone calls, calls the homeowner and says, ''Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mary Jones with XYZ Realty would like to show your house at 2 o'clock on Sunday. Is that convenient for you?'' In other words you can't just show up on an occupied house ? someone has to call ahead. ? ? We know, for instance, Friday evening is a huge time because agents are setting up weekend showings so we max that thing out. ? I think we have 14 people working at that time taking those phone calls. Q: So is this based here in Nashville? A: Right now it's based in Memphis. Q: Since you've been in the business, what would you say would be the most important way the real estate sales profession has changed? A: In a lot of ways it's changed dramatically, and in other ways it's still the same. It has changed dramatically in areas like technology. It's still the same in that it's still a people business. ... (National Association of Realtors) surveys all say about 85%-90% of the people were satisfied, are very satisfied with our Realtor service but less than 20% actually go back and use that same associate that sold them a house again. Q: Why is that? A: Because the typical Realtor does not stay in touch with the consumer, and they don't know that they're still in the business. ... That's just a NAR statistic; it's a bad stat, but it is a fact. Q: Any other things you want to add about the real estate market or your company? A: One of the things that we have seen is a lot of consolidation and mergers in the business. ? You are seeing very few startups of new real estate companies. All of this is being caused by money issues ? or the agents are commanding a large share of the commission, leaving a very small share for the broker to pay all the bills and run their offices. ? The smarter brokers are doing what's called one-stop shopping. One-stop shopping is what the consumer wants. ? They want someone to quickly take care of the mortgage, quickly take care of the homeowners insurance, ? the title, the closing ? So the bigger companies ? the ones that I think are going to get even bigger, are the ones that are making (inroads) in ? ancillary services (in which) they can make additional money because there's very little money coming to the broker off of the real estate transaction. ? I don't see a (real estate) bubble, I see us being in a cycle. Where we are in the cycle I don't know. ? I think what we do know is that none of this works without job growth. Nashville is in the enviable position in that it is an attractive community, so we think job growth is going to continue. And that's one of the reasons we are pleased with what we see in that aspect of Nashville.
By Kate Miller Morton 2002 was a mixed year for real estate companies included on Memphis Business Journal's Top 100 private companies list. Low interest rates continued to fuel home sales, benefiting companies like Crye-Leike, while low demand for commercial and industrial space stymied development and lowered revenues at Weston Cos. Weston Cos. had the biggest year-over-year change with its revenue reduced by three-fifths from $76.7 million to $46.5 million, falling on the list from number 49 to number 78. Weston president and CEO David Peck says the drop was due to the market and hasn't raised alarm within the company. "The business in real estate development just basically came to a screeching halt or at least the opportunity for new development," he says. "We just felt like it was the wise thing to do to not start any new speculative projects because of the uncertain economic environment that we're living in." Although it was a big dip in revenue, Peck says it wasn't necessarily bad for the company. "We might have a more profitable or two or three more profitable deals even when the revenue is low," Peck says. "As far as the money we take home, we made more money in 2002 than in 2001. It was because of the type of projects we were developing." Peck says demand for office and industrial space remains low but fortunately so does Weston's available inventory. Weston has a small amount of vacant space remaining in its Renaissance Center office tower and about half of its Airport Logistics Center remains empty. Although the office market was more stable, Peck says the industrial segment of Weston's business was actually the bright spot in 2002. "The industrial market, even though it was probably the most depressed segment of commercial real estate in the city, it was more profitable for us just because of the timing of some of our development as far as being able to put permanent financing on them or sell them." Peck says he expects the company's revenues to level out in 2003. "I don't think we'll do $70 million this year in 2003," he says. "Time will tell but it takes you awhile to gear back up." Although Crye-Leike, Inc.'s revenue appeared to take a hit in 2002, dropping from $120.4 to $108.4 million, the drop was due to First Trust Bank for Savings, in which Crye-Leike no longer has majority ownership. The company's 2001 revenue included $21.5 million for First Trust. Co-owner Harold Crye says 2002 revenue was up 5% in Memphis, but the company's revenue from Mississippi grew 51% from $129 million in 2001 to $196 million in 2002. Crye-Leike has offices in only three Mississippi markets --Southaven, Olive Branch and Hernando. Crye says 2003 will be another strong year of the company. The first four months have been better than 2002, up 14% in Memphis alone. Residential home sales account for 90% of Crye-Leike's business and the company has benefited greatly from historically low interest rates. Crye says interest rates alone can't drive sales indefinitely. "What we need is some job creation, because the interest rates can only keep it there for so long," Crye says. "A lot of people have already bought houses and have taken advantage of what's been record low interest rates the past few years. Some people have refinanced two or three times in the last few years as rates have continued to drop." Kemmons Wilson Cos.' revenue slipped from $291 million to $281 million. The companies have diverse real estate holdings in the hotel, time-share and office areas and has several residential projects under way as well. While fears of terrorism and a down economy continue to suppress tourism and hotel revenues, Kemmons Wilson Jr. says the company's Orange Lake Resort & Country Club time-share property in Orlando, Fla., continues to perform well. Wilson says Orlando is considered a drive-to market by many, and time-share arrangements aren't as flexible as hotel or condo rentals. The new Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis is another bright spot. "It has done extremely well," Wilson says. "For a new property that really just opened a year ago we're extremely pleased with the progress it's made." CONTACT staff writer Kate Miller Morton at 259-1764 or firstname.lastname@example.org ? 2003 American City Business Journals Inc.
By Linda A. Moore email@example.com June 17, 2003 Ask Harold Crye and Dick Leike, the founders of Crye-Leike Realtors and they'll say they didn't plan to grow into the 10th largest residential real estate company in the nation. Crye, chief executive officer, and Leike, president of the 26-year-old company, will say the sales associates should get the credit for the company's growth. They just provide the support to make it all happen. "Meeting the customers' needs, that's how we grew," Leike said. The company was recently ranked 10th in the nation by Real Trends Inc. among residential real estate firms. Real Trends (http://www .realtrends.com/home.asp), based in Littleton, Colo., provides news information and research for the residential real estate industry and publishes biweekly and weekly newsletters. "We're not really in the real estate business," said Crye, despite a national ranking that says otherwise. Their real business is to provide customer relationship management services for the sales associates through a network all aimed at making buying and selling real estate easier. It's a process that can provide title information, mortgage services, set up appointments, find a painter and in some markets, even get the utilities turned on. "Home is your refuge," Leike said. "In your home you don't want to have to face all those things of the world." When Crye and Leike started their company in 1977, becoming one of the largest firms in the nation wasn't the goal. That happened through the work of their associates. "We saw opportunities in the different communities and the Mid-South area," Crye said. An agent with experience in Bartlett prompted the opening of the first branch office in Bartlett. There are now 20 offices in the Memphis area. Eventually, with the Memphis area covered, they opened the Nashville office 11 years ago, Chattanooga about 5 years ago and Little Rock less than a year ago. During that time, business grew and began to offer other services like marketing, acquiring a title company, mortgage banking facilities and creating the home services division, and the a seven-day-a-week appointment center. "We provide the system," Crye said. The sales associates take it from there and make the sales. The company is now expand ing its Little Rock operations and isn't talking about future growth plans. "We've got plenty on our plate just to keep those things running," Crye said. The growth of companies like Crye-Leike is a reflection of the changes in the real estate market, said Steve Murray, editor of Real Trends. For the last decade commissions from consumers have fallen from a national average of 6.1 percent 11 years ago to 5.1 percent today. And technology has made it more expensive to do business, he said. As a result, many midsized firms have been squeezed, leaving large firms like Crye-Leike and small niche companies that may focus on specific neighborhoods or price ranges. "Ours isn't the first and it won't be the last industry to go through this," Murray said. Another trend influencing the industry is the consumer's desire for a more one-stop shopping approach, like Crye-Leike's, he said. A study conducted for Real Trends found that 82 percent of consumers were strongly inclined to look for agents and companies that offered settlement services, like title services, but only 10 percent felt similarly about homeownership services like painters or contractors. The good news, Murray said is that there is no evidence that consumers are losing out because of the internal changes in the industry and that many smaller companies can pool their efforts to provide more of the services larger companies are adding and that consumers are looking for. - Linda A. Moore: 529-2702 Copyright 2003, GoMemphis. All Rights Reserved.
Harold Crye continues to predict that his Crye-Leike, Realtors Inc. of Memphis will dominate home sales in central Arkansas as early as 2004, but it's clear that the market has been a tough nut to crack. Having been unable to find an established agency to buy - Crye-Leike's usual method of entering a new market - the nation's 10th largest realty chain has spent the past year building a Little Rock operation from scratch. After establishing the company's first Little Rock branch in May 2002, Crye told Arkansas Business, "Our strategic plan and goal is to be the market leader in Little Rock within the next three years by establishing six to seven offices in the metro area and recruiting over 300 sales associates." So far, the company has established two Little Rock offices - 11719 Hinson Road and 11300 Financial Centre Parkway - as well as one in Bryant that opened in lat May. Last month, Crye-Leike (pronounced "cry-like) shelled out $550,000 to buy the 16,000 SF Park Hill Shopping Center at 3400 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in North Little Rock and announced plans to remodel 6,000 SF of it as offices for up to 45 sales associates. The two-building shopping center, which once housed the Park Theater, had been owned by Park Hill Baptist Church. Although a specific timeline hasn't been announced, Crye said he hopes to establish offices in Maumelle, along University Avenue in Little Rock and in Benton, Cabor and Searcy over the next few years. "This will probably be the last year that local companies will lead in residential sales," Crye said. "It will rotate after we get to a critical mass there in central Arkansas. It will probably be us in the foreseeable future. The reason I say that is because that's the way it is in our other markets." But Ken Gill, executive broker and relocation director at Coldwell Banker Advantage Realty in Little Rock, said Crye won't be able to bully the area's existing companies, which already have established niches. "There's not really a dominant company in this area. I don't know why he thinks he can come in here and be so brash to say he can dominate the real estate industry," he said. "There's too many large, independent firms that already have a lion's share of the market here." Crye said reception to the large real estate chain has been incredibly good, though he admits his march to dominance has been slower than some had hoped. "Quite truthfully, our only slowdown is that I just can't get to it as quickly as they want me to get to it," he said. "And a lot of things take time. I've had agents wanting me in North Little Rock for over a year, and I've been looking [for a location] for over a year," he said. No. 11 Company wide, Crye-Leike employs more than 2,300 sales associates in 62 branch and franchise offices in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky and Florida. Nationally, the company achieved sales of $3.17 billion in 2002. Crye-Leike ranks 11th in the Arkansas Business list of the state's largest producing real estate agencies, with $110.7 million in sales in 2002. That includes $16.1 million produced between August and December by the office on Financial Centre Parkway, according to Joyce Friedman, director of public relations for Crye-Leike; a smattering presumably came from the Hinson Road office that opened in December. (By comparison, fourth-ranked The Janet Jones Co. of Little Rock produced almost $172 million in sales in Pulaski County alone last year. And No. 5 Adkins McNeill Smith & Associates Inc. racked up almost $122 million in central Arkansas.) The remainder of Crye-Leike's 2002 total was produced by the agency's original Arkansas office, which opened in West Memphis in 1996; its Jonesboro operation, a the former White Realty Co. that Crye-Leike purchased in 1999; a franchise office, Crye*Leike Missco Realty, which opened in Blytheville in 2000; and fledgling company -owned offices in Hot Springs (November) and Conway (December). Between January and April of this year, the Financial Centre and Hinson Road offices closed $24.5 million in sales, Friedman said. More than 100 sales agents work under the Crye-Leike banner in Arkansas. About a quarter of them are in Jonesboro, where Crye said his crew remains second in sales behind Fred Dacus Associates, Realtors. Crye's goal is to bring in $150 million in sales by the end of this year and $200 million by December 2004, Crye said. That kind of success would likely push Crye-Leike into the top five statewide. Eyes on the Prize. Crye, an Osceola native, first set his sights on Little Rock about six years ago. His company approached several existing real estate agencies - which Crye wouldn't name - as a means of entering the metro area. Finding no sellers, Crye and the company's president, Dick Leike, shifted their focus to the Chattanooga, Tenn. market. In 1997, Crye-Leike acquired four offices of Huffaker, Realtors in Chattanooga and within two years had opened four more offices in the area. By 2002, Crye-Leike was Chattanooga's residential sales market leader, with $395.2 million in sales in 2002, a figure that Crye said his company can eventually surpass in Arkansas. After establishing its presence in Jonesboro and Blytheville, Crye-Leike directed its attention again on the Little Rock, trying in early 2002 to buy one of the city's larger real estate companies. But a near-deal with the unidentified company fell through by April last year, forcing Crye-Leike to either continue seeking a seller or build its presence from the ground up. Still, no existing real estate agency would sell. "Since it didn't happen that we could buy someone, we decided to go in and open up one on our own," Crye said. "We don't have necessarily a preference, but sometimes I think we come out better not buying anybody." Crye-Leike was able to buy into the Hot Springs market last fall, acquiring Lakefront Real Estate in November and adopting its 13-person staff. Fast-growing m northwest Arkansas hasn't escaped Crye's notice, but no plans have been made to establish offices there yet. Crye said he has his hands full with central Arkansas and doesn't want to lose focus of this market's potential success. Lighting a Fire. Crye-Leike's presence may turn out to be a positive for existing companies in central Arkansas, said Randy Alexander. "It's going to cause us to evaluate the services that we offer," he said. Crye said his company's presence is already doing more than that for his competitors' marketing and staff retention strategies. Newspaper advertising by the smaller companies will continue to increase, he said, and in order to retain their sales forces, competitors will need to increase the share of the commissions that agents get to take home. Otherwise, he said, Crye-Leike may be able to entice top producers with its sliding commission schedule. Some of that has already happened, of course. Betsy Arey, who in 2002 was a $7.7 million producer for Century 21 Daniel & Associates, Inc. of Benton, has joined Crye-Leike in Bryant. And John Rogers, who was a $7 million seller for Coldwell Banker Advantage in Little Rock in 2001, has joined Crye-Leike in Little Rock. According to Crye-Leike's Web site, new agents can count on a progressive split of at least 60 percent of their gross commissions, while top sellers can retain up to 95 percent. Crye-Leike associates also are each given individual workspaces, even private offices for top producers. Crye-Leike doesn't charge its agents monthly desk fees or franchise fees. Jim Fore of Jim Fore Real Estate in North Little Rock said he welcomes Crye-Leike, even if it does raise the stakes. "I think competition is always good and healthy for any business," he said, adding that his company hasn't prepared any defense again Crye-Leike's move into North Little Rock. - END-
When economic times get tough, it seems, at least anecdotally, that many displaced professionals across the nation are turning to real estate as a career alternative. While the rest of the economy suffers, low interest rates have continued to drive sales in the real estate industry. That's an enticing draw for people who have either lost their jobs in the past several years or are interested in a career change. Although it's unclear just how many new real estate agents have started working in the Memphis area since the economy began to slow down, it looks like the industry's ranks are increasing statewide. According to Paula Wade, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, the state issued 4,796 new real estate licenses in fiscal 2002 while renewing 21,216 existing licenses. The previous year the state issued 4,606 new real estate licenses -- none were renewed during the year since they expire every two years. Crye-Leike, one of the largest real estate companies in the Memphis area, hasn't allowed the number of agents under its local umbrella to balloon despite a growing pool of agents. But it has noticed a change driven by the surge in the agent pool. "We have noticed a change in the level of professionals that have been coming through the Crye-Leike College as of late, that's for sure," says Steve Brown, vice president and general manager. On a national scale, the ranks of industry groups like the National Association of Realtors have been swelling. NAR reached an all-time low membership of about 695,000 in 1997 but has since rebounded to about 810,000. The highest the organization has ever seen was 823,000 members in 1989. Membership in the Memphis Area Association of Realtors in the past two years averaged about 3,500 people. MAAR spokesman Ashley Frazer estimates about 60%-70% of the agents in the Memphis market are members of her organization. In the Memphis area, many of the newly licensed agents joining the Crye-Leike team come from backgrounds as teachers, nurses and other professionals, Brown says. Many are displaced professionals who have turned to real estate as a career alternative after losing their jobs, but many others are merely dipping a toe in the water. "They're people who are seeking an alternative career, because they are not so sure about the one they have," Brown says. People from career fields like education and health care make good real estate agents because they possess skills and habits that make for a successful real estate professional. Among those qualities for success are that they're "used to planning and action-oriented days," Brown says. But not everyone who gets into the industry finds that it is a perfect fit for them. Most people don't realize how hard one must work to become established in the field and remain successful, Brown says. Seeing the success of proven agents can give a deceptive perspective of the industry to people considering it for a career. "If people think you get to drive around in a Cadillac, take people to lunch and make a six-figure income, they are sadly disappointed," he says. It is a competitive business where only the truly motivated agents succeed. In the Memphis market, about 15% of the agents garner more than 80% of the business, Brown says.
Not long ago, potential home buyers would grab a real estate listing with thumbnail photos, circle ones that caught their attention and gather up grandma and junior for an exhausting drive around town. Today, home buyers are increasingly heading to their computer screens before they get agents on the phone or drive across town to narrow down the selection. That's why Web sites such as Realtor.com are popular and driving up sales, particularly by inbound relocation buyers who use them to preview selections before hopping on a plane for multiple visits. Not only are buyers tech savvy these days, but any Realtor worth his or her salt is, too. "Some 70% of all buyers are searching for three to six months on the Internet before ever (actually) looking at a home," says Landis O. Foy Jr., a managing broker with Crye-Leike, Inc. "Instead of looking at an average of 15-30 homes, buyers are now looking at an average of eight to 12 homes, saving them a tremendous amount of time and frustration in looking at homes which do not fit their requirements." Foy says that 80%-85% of all buyers in the greater Memphis area are local buyers searching local firms' sites. The remaining 15%-20% depend more on a national site like Realtor.com -- the most visited site of its type. The difficulty of a Realtor having his or her own Web site independent of a company site is in directing the buyers to it. It's difficult for an individual to generate a great degree of Web site visits unless the site is linked into a more broadly seen homepage that is frequently visited, as is the case with a large firm, Foy says. "Most of our associates have Web sites within Crye-Leike itself, playing on the strength of our company rather than swimming against the tide by trying to do it alone," he says. It would be difficult for most to manage even one site, let alone several. To do it properly requires hiring a professional Webmaster or a team, which requires time and money. But because the average first-time buyer, who is 31 years old, is Internet savvy, the average Realtor, who is 54 years old, is being forced to keep up with technology. "The Internet has drastically changed the way we market homes in the last few years," says Linda Sowell, principal broker with Sowell & Co. "Now, we can immediately load digital interior and exterior pictures of the home and the neighborhood. We can e-mail listings to clients as soon as they become available, which is an invaluable advantage. The Internet enables us to reach a much broader market than we could before." Sowell's company has an independent Web site and also markets listings through Realtor.com. "Out-of-town clients who wouldn't have been able to find us several years ago discover our listings on Realtor.com, which in turn links them to our Web site," she says. Sowell says it is worth the effort to maintain the Web site. "I think more agents are becoming Internet-savvy," she says. "As in any competitive market, the Internet is an edge that keeps one from being left behind. Now, the Internet is like my cell phone; I don't know how I ever lived without it." Rip Haney, who's an affiliate broker with Marx & Bensdorf Realtors, sees a chief use of the Internet as reducing leg work, narrowing things down before buyers get in their cars. "I think the general public goes to Realtor.com, though, more so for general searches or a basic canvassing search before they go to individual agent sites or company sites," he says. Haney thinks users go to company- or agent-specific sites to drill down for more specific information about either a company or agent more than they would be seeking information about an individual property. "I think those sites are a little bit more for promoting the company, therefore, than the property," says Haney, adding that such focused sites nevertheless do a good job of promoting the property in another sense. "I have a great example of how the Internet has helped us in sales," he says. "We had a listing in Germantown, and there was a fellow moving to town from somewhere in Michigan. He'd spent a couple of days with his Realtor and he was getting ready to get back on a plane to Michigan. Meanwhile, his wife had been looking at Realtor.com and called him. He was hours away from getting on the plane without having identified a house he liked. His wife pulled up a virtual tour of a listing we had in Germantown. She called her husband, and he was in the car with his Realtor. He said, 'Let's look at this house.' They looked at it and bought it. "That is when we knew that the Internet and virtual tours would become much more than a listing tool," Haney says. "When it first came out, it was touted as a listing tool. Now, it has totally caught up and is really helpful." John Criswell, a managing broker at Crye-Leike's Arlington office, says his company and the National Association of Realtors both realized early on how vital it is to have listings on the Internet to the extent that both have formal courses on how to create and update online listings properly. Crye-Leike College has a separate course called I-Pro, where agents gain a designation. Crye-Leike's Web site has a virtual agent feature where one can register and do searches of local listings with various specific, client-driven criteria imbedded. It will e-mail notifications when homes with those criteria come on the market. NAR's program called E-Pro is designed to teach agents to become conversant in electronic technology.
Crye-Leike of Arkansas Inc. is expanding it sales force in the Little Rock area and has moved its offices to 11719 Hinson Road. Johnny McKay, managing broker, said the additional 5,700 SF of leased office space will provide room for growth and expansion of its sales force to 45 sales associates. Crye-Leike will keep its office at 1130 Financial Centre Parkway to serve as a regional headquarters, housing facilities for agent training and administrative offices for accounting, marketing and relocation corporate staff. Crye-Leike of Arkansas posted record fourth-quarter sales of $25.8 million in 2002, representing a 114.7 percent increase over same-quarter results in the previous year. Its 244 real estate property sales in the fourth quarter of 2002 represent a 102 percent increase over comparable quarterly results a year prior. Crye-Leike has 127 sales associates in Craighead, Crittenden, Faulkner, Garland, Mississippi and Pulaski counties. Companywide in 2002, Memphis-based Crye-Leike posted sales of $3.17 billion and 22,198 closed transaction sides.
Crye-Leike, a real estate company with offices in Little Rock, Jonesboro, West Memphis and Blytheville, said last week that it has purchased Prudential Lakefront Real Estate in Hot Springs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Crye-Leike, which said it is the national's 13th-largest real estate company, said the move is the first of many planned for central Arkansas. Lakefront Real Estate opened in 1994 and became affiliated with Prudential in 1996. Founders Jack and Nedra Plumlee and the current sales staff will continue with the firm, Crye-Leike said. Meanwhile, Bob Benscoter, a former Crye-Leike salesman from Memphis who now lives in Hot Springs, has been named managing broker to oversee the Hot Springs office, now at 4760 Central Ave. Crye-Leike said it eventually will move the office to another location, possibly at 1428 Central Ave., formerly a Shoney's restaurant, which can accommodate 45 employees. In June 2002, Crye-Leike expanded its regional operations into Little Rock. CEO Harold E. Crye said he plans to establish seven branch offices surrounding metropolitan Little Rock during the next three years. Crye-Leike, with more than 2,300 sales employees, reported sales of $2.95 billion in 2001.