Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Top Secrets of City's Top 10 Agent Superstars

Say you're a prospective condo buyer or seller looking for a top-producing agent, or you're an agent looking to become one of Chicago's Top-10-producing condo agents.

What secrets would you guess account for Superstar status of condo agents? (Condo Superstar is what we call the 10 agents who sold the most Chicago condos in 2007.) Decades of experience, to draw upon a huge referral network of clients? The best Web site and Internet strategy?

If you chose either of those answers, the evidence we gathered in writing profiles of these Superstars doesn't support you. The typical Superstar has less than a decade of experience and doesn't even have his own Web site.

The best single indicator of Superstar status: Is he the exclusive listing agent for one or more developers closing on new construction or conversion units?

According to our research, the typical Superstar sold an average of 264 condos (from 126 to 681 "sides," or transactions), for a total sales volume of $110 million (from $42 to $324 million), and generates 80% of his business (from 40% to 100%) from new construction, generally as the exclusive marketing/listing agent for one or more developments.

The composite Superstar is male (8 of 10), is 36 years old (ranging from 32 to 42), has been an agent for 9 years (from 6 to 15), is married (7 of 8 males, 0 of 2 females), works 80 hours a week (from 45 to 100), and graduated from college (6 of 8, 2 unknown).

Ah, yes, and all of them have a support team, ranging from 1 to 16 members, some of them agents whose sales are credited to the team leader.

Not one of the 10 cited the Internet as a major source of business; only two (that we know of) have a blog, and several don't even have a Web site.

The Superstars impressed us with their willingness to share some of the secrets of their success. Among them:

Rubloff's Mario Greco: Work hard, price correctly and spend money to make money. Add Contract Pending to your yard signs and mail Just Listed and Just Sold postcards to everyone within three blocks of the property.

Koenig & Strey's Art Collazo: Treat the buyer of a $100,000 property the same as you do the buyer of a high-end property. If you do, the $100,000 buyer will recommend you to his boss, who may buy a million-dollar property.

Coldwell Banker's Matt Garrison: Follow the market. If residential is slow, try commercial. If Chicago is slow, try elsewhere.

Their key advice to other agents: Work more hours. Their key advice to themselves: Work fewer hours.

For profiles of all of the Top 10 Superstars, click here.

For individual profiles, in descending order by most transactions, click the name: Equity's Michael Holtorf, Magellan's Leila Zammatta, Koenig & Strey's Chris Feurer, Coldwell Banker's Matt Garrison, Koenig & Strey's Art Collazo, @properties' Scott Graden, Rubloff's Mario Greco, C21 Sussex & Reilly's Jeff Lowe, @properties' Joe Zimmerman and Baird & Warner's Dana DiPasquale.

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