Bailey & Co. Real Estate has grown to 21 agents and four support staff in just a year and a half of operation. Owner/broker Justin Bailey said he’s not recruited agents. “Traditional recruiting feels dirty to me. I remember getting those calls from brokers saying ‘come make me money.’ I’m not interested in treating people like dollar signs.” He attributes the growth to the company’s internal mission statement: “People over Profit.”
Located on Emory Road adjacent to Powell Station Park, Bailey & Co. reflects the laid-back, hometown personality of its owner.
“In real estate, there are many gray areas,” he says. A house might be too large or otherwise unsuited for a particular buyer; an agent might push someone through an inspection just to earn a fee. “I want agents who will take care of people, not just be closing deals.”
Bailey said the real estate industry is trending toward a “big box model” in which agents can sink or swim. The push is for closings and the goal is money. His philosophy as principal broker is to build relationships with his agents. In fact, that was something he noticed during 10 years as an agent himself. He would work intensely with clients and then the relationship would slow down.
“What I’m doing now is a much better fit for me. Now I have 21 people that I cherish and work with daily,” he said. “We’re building a long-term relationship and my job is to be their biggest fan.”
That said, Bailey is intense about his agency’s organization, and he’s studied the big box model to see what benefits the larger brokerage companies offer.
“We have a system for everything,” he says. “We have the same transaction software (as other agencies), training and strong branding. We have very competitive compensation plans.” Several of the agents are working West and East Knox and even Anderson County, and Bailey has set up systems so agents can work remotely. Bailey & Co. is a member of the Knox Area Association of Realtors and its Multiple Listing Service.
The office is virtually paperless, with work handled electronically. Bailey pays a third-party compliance hub to review files before closings to make sure everything is in order. He encourages professional development and even has a couple of veteran agents, Annette Sydes and Stephanie Bushore, who mentor newer ones – not for pay but for the satisfaction of helping them grow. “They actually approached me about wanting to give back to newly licensed agents. That’s the sort of thing you don’t find in companies where everything revolves around getting rich quick.”
How does he attract and retain top-quality agents? Bailey says it’s about saying “yes” to the right person. And he’s told a couple of agents that they are not a good fit. “My goal is not to be a mega-agent, but to be a non-competing broker and help other agents reach their goals.”
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Bailey & Co. is a strategic partner of Knox TN Today