The biggest real estate selling team in Chattanooga has gained its own franchise to become its own broker for Berkshare Hathaway Home Services.
Doug Edrington, CEO of the new Douglas Properties, wants to have 100 agents in the new company by year end and is investing nearly $3 million in a renovated North Shore office and training facility to make it happen.
Edrington and his parents, George and Grace Edrington, previously were with the Kelly family's real estate agency, Realty Center, for nearly 14 years, including the past three years when Realty Center has been a franchised broker for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services broker.
In April, the Edringtons converted from the top team agency selling under Kelly's Berkshire Hathaway franchise to having its own Berkshire Hathaway franchise.
Outside of Chicago, Chattanooga becomes only the second city with two brokers for Berkshire Hathaway Home Service, which is part of the HSF Affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks.
"Doug Edrington and his team are passionate about real estate, professionalism and service excellence," Gino Blefari, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, said in an announcement of the new J Douglas Properties broker in Chattanooga. "They will represent our brand well in the marketplace."
The brokerage is led by local real estate veteran Doug Edrington and includes Edrington's mother Grace Edrington, a top-producing agent; and father George Edrington, a former automobile dealer sales manager for Nelson Bowers who is now broker of record.
The Edrington Team has been a perennial production leader in the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network, placing seventh overall in transaction count and 21st in gross commission income in 2017. Last year, the Edrington team handled 491 home sales with a total value of $98 million, the most of any real estate team ever in Chattanooga, according to the Chattanooga Realtors Multiple Listing Service.
"The Edrington Team progressed to a point where we wanted to also become our own broker," Doug Edrington said last week during an interview in the company's redeveloping office at Tremont and Frazier Avenue. "We grew very well (under the Kelly family brokerage) and we had great success there and it's not our intent to recruit from there or anywhere. Our goal is to attract people and we want to now be bigger than the (Edrington) team."
Already , the newest Berkshire Hathaway Home Services broker recruited the Kelly Jooma team to the firm. Jooma, who has a staff of 10, was previously with Keller Williams Realty. She said she was attracted to the Edrington's new real estate brokerage by the training, technology and culture from both the Edringtons and Berkshire Hathaway, which surveys by J.D. Powers showed last year ranked highest for repeat home seller satisfaction.
"There seems to be more opportunity for growth here," Jooma said.
The new J. Douglas Properties has about 40 agents so far, but the company has set an ambitious goal of having 100 or more agents by the end of 2018.
As a top selling team that continues to grow, the Edringtons looked at many of the top franchised real estate brands when they decided to branch out of their own earlier this year. Edrington said the family had strong support and mentorship under the Kelly family's Realty Center for nearly a decade and a half, selling under the Better Homes and Gardens, Prudential and Berkshire Hathaway flags.
"We looked at all the national franchise options and chose Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices," Edrington said. "The brand is strong and respected — carrying the name of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. — and provides us with what we believe are the best tools and resources in the business."
As a broker, Edrington said they will be able to continue to work with and benefit by agents who might start their own teams or businesses after leaving the Edrington or other local real estate teams.
The Edringtons are preparing to grow their business in the 3-story office at 100 Tremont Street that previously housed Woople, the video-based, employee training business that vacated the site nearly two years ago. The Edringtons are using the video facilities in the basement for their social media and video presentations, which are key to showcasing properties, training agents and marketing the business.
'In everything we do, we want to make sure we do video first, "Edrington said.
The rest of the 12,000-square-foot building is being renovated to feature open-office, relaxed environments for agents to work on projects, meet with clients or receive ongoing training and coaching.
"We want this to be the coolest space to work in Chattanooga," Edrinngton said, pointing to the rooftop patio and the variety of living room, dining, scenic office views overlooking the downtown waterfront. The new office will even include offices that look like miniature houses with sidewalks outside.
The younger Edrington, who began working in real estate in his teens and flipped his first home when he was only 18 years old, said the new environment reflects his role as a coach and leader, rather than his previous jobs as a salesman.
"We've built our business on systems, processes and relationships in a way that has allowed us to grow steadily every year since we began," he said. "Real estate is being sold much differently today than it was the past."
In recent years, Edrington said he has focused on teaching others how to best serve clients and promote home sales in a market increasingly being dominated by social media. For the past two years, Edrington has been a coach with Tom Ferry International, which offers one-on-one coaching, training events and online products for real estate agents around the globe.
The younger Edrington described the new brokerage as a "marketing company first" and a group that encourages the formation of agent teams.
"Nobody makes it to the top alone and no one is an expert at everything," Doug Edrington said. "Our culture is competitive and nurturing."
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 757-6340