Thursday, April 24, 2008

Saluting: Equity Marketing's Mike Holtorf

Third in a series of profiles saluting Condo Superstars, agents who ranked in the Top 10 for selling the most Chicago condos in 2007.

Chicago's Top Condo Agent Earns Zero Commissions

Name: Mike Holtorf. Brokerage: Equity Marketing Services. Age: 36. Years as Agent: NA. Transaction Rank: 1 (681 units). Dollar Rank: 1 ($324 million). Resale Volume: $152,500. Condos (as % of business): 100. Source of Statistics: Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), Chicago condos closed in 2007.

Ranking No. 1 on our Top 10 list of Condo Superstars is Mike Holtorf, controller of Equity Marketing Services. Mike ranked first in both transactions, with 681, and dollar volume, with $324 million. He was listing agent for 440 of those transactions, sales (buyer's) agent for 241 of his own listings.

So far in 2008, Mike is on pace to exceed his stellar 2007 performance. As of April 20, he had closed 367 transactions: 222 as listing agent, 145 as sales agent. His total transaction volume so far in 2008: $166 million.

Perhaps because he is too busy, or just prefers flying under the radar, Mike did not respond to requests for an interview. We promised you a look behind the numbers of all our Superstars, so we'll do the best we can with what we have.

The key to his success appears to be that he is in the right place (a fast-growing marketing firm headed by Herb Emmerman) with the right credential (a broker's license) at the right time (as the company closes units in several major developments). Those factors alone appear to account for his success as a listing agent.

Accounting for Mike's success as a buyer's agent are those same factors, plus one more: a great team of agents whose sales are all credited to Mike, the managing broker and broker of record. As controller who also oversees Equity's information and technology systems, Mike does not actually sell condos and receives no commissions on top of his salary. For this information, we are grateful to La Shawn Edwards, Mike's executive assistant.

The numbers on the multiple listing service (now operated by MRED, Midwest Real Estate Data) reveal that the vast majority of Mike's transactions, both as listing and sales agent, came from three projects Equity is marketing: the company's own conversion of North Pier at 474 N. Lake Shore and two new developments, The Columbian at 1160 S. Michigan (developed by The Davis Group) and Avenue East at 160 E. Illinois (developed by Residential Homes of America).

From Equity's Web site, we learned this: While attending DePaul University, Mike worked in the banking industry. He received B.S. degrees in accounting and finance from DePaul in 1994 and joined Equity the next year.

According to Equity, he is a licensed real-estate broker, a certified management accountant and a licensed commercial pilot, who enjoys flying his Grumman Tiger. He and his wife and two children live in Batavia.

Founded in 1979, Equity closed 100 condos valued at $40 million in 2005 and 184 units valued at $65 million in 2006. From 2000 to 2004, MLS statistics indicate that it closed fewer than 50 units a year.

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