MENTOR, Ohio — As the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc across many industries, the real estate market boomed thanks to a combination of historically low interest rates and low inventory. Demand has real estate agents surging through 2021.
While agents can burn out from long hours, high stakes, and client drama, a Mentor-based “boutique” real estate agency experiences explosive growth while putting its agent’s well-being first.
McDowell Homes, headquartered in Mentor, was founded in 2015 with three agents and two administrative staff. That first year, they achieved a turnover of 16 million dollars. In 2021, the agency closed 1,700 sales totaling $360 million and is on track to close 2,000 sales this year.
The niche agency has closed a cumulative total of over $1 billion in home sales over the past seven years. And have expanded to five offices – Mentor, Solon, Ashtabula, Little Italy in Cleveland and Portage Lakes. The McDowells are considering a sixth West Side location later this year.
Business partners Chaz and Kayleen McDowell attribute their success to their experienced and dedicated team of 150 agents and support staff. Their agents, however, will give credit to the high standards and attention the McDowells pay to suppressing competition between the company’s sales teams.
This is the first year that McDowell Homes has made the Best Workplaces list. Real estate brokerage ranked second on the small business list.
For the list of the best places to work 2022, cleveland.com and the Plain Dealer compiled 220 Notable Northeast Ohio Employers based on employee surveys. This year, we focused on employee retention. Find the full list and stories of the top three winners in each category at cleveland.com/top-workplaces.
Chaz McDowell was working as a quality engineer for Lord Corp., in Erie, Pennsylvania, when the family’s accountant told him his salary only covered the family’s tax bill, gas for their cars and child care. . His then-wife’s real estate income covered their family’s other day-to-day expenses, but she was not happy in the brokerage where she worked. The couple decided it was time to start their own agency.
“I was looking for a company that works like a real team, with a cooperative culture,” she said. “At many brokerages, it’s dog-eating-dog day in and day out. Agents are out there beating the bushes for all the business they can get.
“I was interested in only hiring agents who wanted to start – and grow – their own team, but willing to work together and learn from each other. Everyone working here now has the same goals.
Both Chaz and Kayleen refer to their business as a “boutique” agency – dedicated to serving their clients in “more creative and less restrictive ways” while adhering to the “highest ethical standards, while maintaining a positive atmosphere”, Kaylee said.
They only hire experienced agents who are interested in working full time. Agents affiliated with McDowell Homes must be willing to support their colleagues.
“Everyone in the real estate industry is an independent contractor, but I want agents affiliated with us to feel like they’re working in a really positive atmosphere,” Kayleen explained. “We (Chaz and Kayleen) think there’s enough business for everyone, so we don’t allow our agents to compete. If an agent isn’t available, we put them online and another agent from our brokerage will step in to show the house and follow up.Our agents don’t have to worry about losing business because of a scheduling issue.
But an agent’s work ethic isn’t the only thing the McDowells watch.
A hot market and 24/7 demands for client attention can weigh heavily on a real estate professional. Kayleen believes in maintaining a personal relationship with each of her agents – working hard to learn what’s going on in their personal lives, their likes and dislikes – as well as their business philosophy.
Chaz says Kayleen is “on the phone with our agents every week. She doesn’t just care if they’re working hard, she wants to know they’re in the right place, personally.
By keeping tabs on these aspects of their personal concerns, she feels it gives her a better sense of their level of self-care.
“No disruption to this business causes high stress for a real estate agent,” she explained. “I try to make sure they take care of themselves, as well as their customers. Work/life balance is at the forefront of what we do,” she said.
“While we expect a full-time commitment to their business, we also expect them to take care of themselves. They don’t give their customers the best if they don’t meet their own needs. , whether it’s physical or family matters, they won’t be the best they can be without it.