Knox puts 3 real estate firms into Top 500

Sandra ClarkOur Town Leaders

Three Knox-area real estate firms are among the top 500 firms in the country, based on rankings published by RealTrends.

  • Realty Executives Associates was No. 1 locally, ranking as the 67th highest producing firm in the nation. REA posted sales of over $2.3 billion. The firm has 13 offices with 700 agents. REA was up from 7,771 to 8,722 transactions from 2019-20, a 12.2% increase.
  • Keller Williams was No. 2 locally, ranking as the 120th highest-producing firm in the nation. KW increased from 5,911 to 6,273 transactions from 2019-20, a 6.1% increase, and closed sales just over $1.7 billion.
  • Coldwell Banker Wallace was No. 3, ranking as the 285th largest firm. CBW was up from 2,916 to 3,324, a 14% increase. Although ranked third in the local market, CBW showed the highest percentage increase in transactions from 2019-20 and closed sales of $860 million.

Justin Bailey

Justin Bailey, CEO of Realty Executives, said, “Topping $2 billion in sales was a monumental moment for our company. Here’s what I can tell you about Realty Executive’s agents – they work smart and they work with a ton of heart. I was blown away by two things this past year – The way our agents pivoted to adapt to the one of the strongest and most competitive markets we’ve ever seen. And the way they cared for their clients as they navigated multiple offers, rejected offers and creative financing solutions. Our agents and our support staff are the heroes of this story, not me.”

The ranking makes the local franchisee the No. 1 in the Realty Executives network and the third largest real estate brokerage in Tennessee, Bailey said. Realty Executives has a storied legacy in Knoxville, holding the No. 1 spot now for over four decades with residential, commercial, relocation and a property management division with over 700 doors. We stand on the shoulders of our founder, Vance Burkey, who founded the firm in 1977.”

J Lewis

J Lewis, CEO and team leader of four Keller Williams offices, said for the first time one office closed over $1 billion in sales. Although the pandemic brought challenges, he said KW agents are relationship-based. “Starting last March with a lot of market uncertainty, our agents just started phoning their clients, asking if everything was OK.” Through this contact, agents learned if homeowners were looking to downsize or trade for a larger home.

“We found people needing a place to work or school from home. The pool industry exploded.” But the cost of building materials increased as well, he said, and some contractors stopped writing new contracts ahead of time. Keller Williams has eight offices and 600 agents in Knox, Sevier, Blount, McMinn and Loudon counties.

Claudia Stallings

Coldwell Banker Wallace, founded in 1936, is owned by brothers Jim and George Wallace. They brought on a new partner, Claudia Stallings, in 2019. She is vice president of residential sales.

Stallings said the market currently has many more buyers than sellers with one in five homeowners considering a sale and 40% of those wanting to upsize. “We’re seeing people needing office space and a lot more multi-generational families living together.”

Coldwell Banker Wallace manages almost 200 rental units. The firm has six residential sales offices, a commercial office and 430 agents. Of those, 146 joined in 2020. Stallings says: “We updated many tools for our agents, and we pushed through the delays of the pandemic and kept our agents engaged, working and assisting all our buyers and sellers. We moved one of our residential offices to a new location, we put our commercial office in a new space, updated our logo and name, we kept our home marketing in full swing, and offered guidance and training to our agents which I believe is second to none.”

RealTrends ranks firms by transaction sides – recognizing that often one firm will list a property while another sells it – thus, two sides to every transaction. With 100,000 brokerages in the country, RealTrends narrowed the field to the top 500. Three of them are in Knoxville. And those three combined to close almost $5 billion in 2020.

The Knoxville real estate market is bright.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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