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Giving Thanks

by Chicago Agent

Over the Thanksgiving holiday week I started taking an inventory of what I was thankful for. This year what really came to mind was my office. I am very very thankful to be where I am at and working with the people I am working with.

RE/MAX Signature's Michael Michalik

I have to start at the beginning of my journey to this office. 2010 is my first full year working at RE/MAX Signature and I really am starting to feel comfortable and at home. I made the move when my downtown RE/MAX office closed and was integrated into a Near West Side office. I had actually interviewed with my broker/owner Linda almost 4 years ago when I was shutting down the brokerage I was running with two attorney partners of mine. Her mother Sherell had been on the other side of the closing table from me when I represented a client purchasing at Marina City. Sherell’s professionalism and efficiency in the transaction impressed me and when she suggested I interview with her broker, I scheduled the interview.

My transition to RE/MAX happened during the heady days of the Chicago real estate market. Interest only, stated income, and 10% annual price increases were not the butt of jokes as they are today. The market was moving along and buyers, sellers and agents were celebrating like it was 1999. What office you worked for was not as important those days because the train was running down the track full steam and you just needed a place set your laptop down, make copies and pick up the commission check.

Ultimately, I chose a different, downtown RE/MAX office because I could walk there from my Marina Towers home. I also thought having a downtown office address would buy me additional credit working with downtown buyers & sellers.

In December 2009, I decided it was time to move over to RE/MAX Signature. My office had moved from its River North location and was transitioned to an office in West Town. The location advantage it had was gone. Bob the managing broker and Linda the broker / owner welcomed me in and made the transition as seamless as possible.

After a full year of working here, I am still overly impressed with the office. The level of professionalism by everyone in the office is top-notch. We used to have a saying back when I work in Information Technology, “the fish rots from the head first”. This typically referred to a department or corporation that was under performing and the manager was to blame for the troubles. In our office, the reverse is true. Linda shows and expects the highest level of integrity and that radiates out to everyone in the office.

Linda is annually a top-producer selling bank-owned properties. She has a sizable team that manages these properties, handles paperwork and communicates with her bank clients. In a typical year, she closes more than 100 properties. With that kind of workload, you wouldn’t think she would find time to do all the great things that she does for agents, but the converse is true.

First, we have a monthly pizza party where we celebrate those in the office that have birthdays that month. Every couple of months, the office organizes AND pays for some social activity. Last month it was a Halloween party and in early October it was our second golf outing of the year.

Linda generously makes time to mentor agents individually or bring us news on the latest developments in the market. Our last round-table meeting was an update on short sales. Linda and Bob were working to bring additional short sale business to the office by obtaining the CPDE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) designation and signing the office up for several websites that provide leads for homeowners in distress.

That brings me to our managing broker Bob. Linda is pretty smart to have hired Bob to run our office. Pragmatic and efficient, Bob runs our office like a well oiled machine. The phones, internet and copiers rarely have an issue. When they do, Bob is there quickly to address the problem. The office looks great with the kitchen, baths and common areas all new & clean.

Bob takes time to help agents with any questions that they have and deal with any problem transactions. If I have a problem or question about real estate, I can get a call back from Bob in less than 15 minutes. This availability also extends to Saturday & Sunday.

Understand that this blog is just a summary of my thoughts over the holiday week and wasn’t written to recruit agents to our office. Putting words to the ‘paper’ have allowed me to appreciate what I have at my office this holiday season.

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