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A Conversation With … Aaron Owens

Co-owner, Alpha Realty MO LLC

Posted online

You and co-owner Adam Johnson were part of Keller Williams before starting Alpha Realty. Why start your own firm?
We were just ready for something different. Keller Williams is a great company, but we just liked the idea of building a brokerage from the ground up, helping agents accomplish their goals and their dreams. We wanted to have a personal, strong relationship with all of our agents. We want to create a boutique brokerage.

As a smaller firm, presumably you have fewer resources, especially when it comes to technology. But what are the upsides of the boutique brokerage model?
Ultimately, most agents have access to the same resources. Granted, the bigger brokerages, they have some cool technology tools. But we have not really skipped a beat switching from one brokerage to the next as far as the tools that we provide our agents and our clients. We would love every client to use the (Multiple Listing Service) link that we send them for houses, but I’m telling you, probably nine times out of 10, they’re shopping on Zillow. They’re shopping on Realtor.com. We had an app with our previous brokers, and we never used it. We have to look at the cost involved. Do we have a really expensive app and charge more for agents to be part of the brokerage? Or do we give more money back to the agent?

How many agents do you have, and what are your gross sales since launching in January?
We have 20 licensed agents with our brokerage and we’re right around $15 million in sales for the year. Our whole goal with that is just helping our agents and their expectations. If you want to sell five houses, our goal for you is to sell five houses. There’s definitely room for growth, but our goal is to stay relatively small. We don’t know exactly what that number is, but around 40 to 50 agents, and then possibly duplicate that same process in other markets around the country.

What are your strategies for gaining market share?
We are pairing our reputation and experience in the market. We do a lot of business with referrals and our sphere of influence, so gaining market share for us is really taking care of our clients to the point where they send us their referrals and create that loyalty. With agents, we want to create that relationship with them to where they are excited about putting Alpha signs in yards and creating more business for themselves. For us, it’s not about just growing as fast as possible.

Tell me about Alpha Couch and what you’re hoping to accomplish with that video series.
We don’t take ourselves too seriously. The couch is literally just a prop that people remember. We take this blue couch and we go out and we place it all around Springfield. We did one episode that was our favorite things about Springfield and we had it sitting beside South Campbell right in front of Andy’s [Frozen Custard]. Our idea is to help people through the real estate transaction and highlight this awesome community.

What’s the temperature of residential real estate, and what are your predictions?
This is a hot seller’s market. There are not enough good houses for sale for the buyers that are here in this community. Homes are selling within hours or days after coming on the market. Typically, the sweet spot is that $130,000-$250,000 price point. Eventually, there will be some sort of correction. The market has been going up for a long time and things will start to level off. I don’t foresee us having a major recession crash like 2008. Next year is an election year, so that always throws a kink in the market ... but interest rates are still historically low. Our thought process is we want to create good relationships. People are still going to buy houses and sell houses during the recession.

Aaron Owens can be reached at aaron@alpharealtymo.com.

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