Jay Robinson, one of Chattanooga’s top real estate agents, has ventured out of one of Chattanooga’s largest firms to form his own brokerage.
“It’s like having your own shop in Wal-Mart,” Mr. Robinson said. “You benefit from the brand name of Wal-Mart and have autonomy. We had just reached the point where we were branching out. For us to grow and brand ourselves better we had to be freestanding.”
Mr. Robinson said he had operated since 1997 as the Robinson Team at Crye-Leike Realtors, running a small company within a larger company. Now, the team has formed Robinson Real Estate Inc. The Robinson Team was doing about $50 million a year in transactions, he said.
Mr. Robinson said his team has generated more than $199 million in sales over a five-year period for Crye-Leike, or about 10 percent of that company’s sales each year locally.
Crye-Leike looks forward to doing business with Robinson Real Estate, said Rob Hatchett, regional vice president of Crye-Leike.
“We’re thankful for the years he spent here,” Mr. Hatchett said. “Obviously he created a phenomenal business here in this market. We have 4,000 agents in the Southeast, and anytime one of them starts his own business we can’t help but be happy for him.”
Crye-Leike was a good company to work with, and knew for about a year he would be leaving, Mr. Robinson said. The business launch has been in the works for about two years, he said.
“It was a natural move for us,” he said. “In our business there’s no ideal time for a big change like this. The current market conditions didn’t affect our decision.”
Now, he will be able to provide more individual attention to each client, he said. Most of his clients are repeat business, friends and referrals, he said. The new Robinson brokerage has 85 listings, with prices from about $100,000 to more than $1 million, Mr. Robinson said.
Robinson Real Estate is at 850 Fortwood St., former site of the American Cancer Society. The brokerage is not looking to expand beyond its original 10 team members for now, Mr. Robinson said, although it may “strategically” recruit one or two agents in the future.
“I’m not interested in hiring a bunch of agents and turning them loose,” he said.
Mr. Robinson said he believes in keeping the company small so clients can receive more individual attention and all the staff are involved in each listing. The support staff will soon earn their real estate licenses even though they won’t represent buyers and sellers, Mr. Robinson said. Instead, he wants the entire staff to have a better understanding of real estate, he said.
Mr. Robinson, 44, said he started in the real estate industry at age 14 as a “gofer” on a construction crew in the Hidden Harbor subdivision. He has represented buyers and sellers, remodeled homes and developed homes, and has always been an independent contractor. His career has come full circle, he said, in that he has sold several homes in Hidden Harbor that he helped build decades ago.
He is a member of the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Georgia and National Associations of Realtors. Mr. Robinson holds the Certified Residential Specialist, Accredited Buyer Representative and Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager designations.