Mac Hibbett has amassed quite a record as a Crye-Leike real-estate broker; he's been the company's top regional producer three times in 12 years and was voted Chattanooga Times Free Press Best of the Best Commercial Realtor in 2019 and 2020.
Vicki Trapp, who interviewed Hibbett when he was a freshly minted University of Tennessee at Chattanooga graduate, saw it coming.
"I saw a young man who not only wanted to be successful, but was willing to do what needed to be done," says Trapp, the managing broker in Crye-Leike's downtown Chattanooga office.
"He doesn't just sit and hope somebody will call. He's enthusiastic, dedicated, hard-working and takes care of clients," says Trapp, who adds that Hibbett's 2021 sales exceeded $15 million.
A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Hibbett says he spent his youth learning what it takes to be successfully self-employed.
"My parents were, and I guess they kind of drove me to be," he says, adding that he worked his way through UTC.
"I knew I needed some money, so I cut grass and started a tree-service company with a buddy," he recalls. "We took down trees and, during summers, framed houses and worked on a couple of commercial projects."
Hibbett says he learned the construction process and managed rental properties his parents had bought in Chattanooga. He says the first real stumbling block he hit was after graduation, when his friends asked him what he was going to do.
"I had no clue," he recalls. "Then my roommate said, 'Why don't you get into real estate?' That sounded like a good idea."
Having graduated in December 2009, Hibbett got his real-estate license and launched his career in early 2010 – as the nation's economy was still reeling from the effects of the Great Recession.
"Everybody laughed at me for getting into real estate [at that point]," he says. "I was scraping by that first year, eating a lot of oatmeal, but I figured if I could survive during the worst of it, I'd do fine when it got better.
"I knew Crye-Leike had a property-management division, but not in Chattanooga, so I carved out a little niche there. I did some residential property management, grew it pretty well, and it drove some sales my way," he says.
Hibbett adds that he also started working with veteran agent Jack Webb, who became a mentor.
"We worked together on some foreclosure properties from 2010 through 2014," Hibbett says. "I learned a lot about market analysis, inspections, contracts it was a good foundation."
And Hibbett says Webb helped him polish the full-speed-ahead approach that got the younger man through college.
"A lot of people get on social media, say 'I'm a real-estate agent,' and trust that people will start calling," he says. "That's just not true. You've got to get out, talk to people, increase your network size and database in order to be successful.
"You're standing right across from the client, and that's when you've got to sell. That's toe-to-toe sales, and that goes back to my experience with Jack," says Hibbett, who adds that good conduct – not only toward clients, but toward other agents as well – is good business.
"If you do a good job for a client, that client will tell 10 people," he says. "If you do a bad job, that client will tell 20 people. So you treat each client with respect, and you've got to treat other agents that way as well.
"I've shown houses where four or five agents will be going through at the same time, and not one of those agents will introduce themselves. If you can create relationships [with other agents], you'll wind up working with those agents to put deals together for clients," Hibbett says.