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Is “Real Trends” Real Reporting?

by Chicago Agent

By Christian J. Barron

The Wall Street Journal/Real Trends 1000 is a compendium of the industry’s top selling agents year-to-year. However, upon closer examination, the data may have left some deserving agents off the list.

To create its list each year, Real Trends requests surveys from virtually every national branded network, the 900 largest brokerage firms in the United States, and state and local associations of Realtors. Real Trends also requests rankings of applicants from previous years, and any sales professionals that desire to submit a survey while meeting all application requirements can do so.

Real Trends states on its website how all candidates are verified to ensure accurate data and how agents are categorized into the four subcategories found in the list: highest individual transaction volume, highest team transaction volume, highest individual transaction sides and highest team transaction sides.

What caught our attention in the methodology were the following two pieces of information:

“A non-refundable application fee of $25 per person is required at the time of submission; full payment confirms submission but does not guarantee a place in the final rankings.”

And, “It is quite possible that there are sales professionals who either chose not to submit a survey or are unaware of the existence of this report but whose sales performance would place them on these rankings.”

This said, we’ve recognized that the Real Trends awards are more of an advertorial since agents on the list purchased the space. Moreover, the ranking system represented has inherent complications because agents that would have made the list may have never completed the survey, did not know about it, or possibly didn’t want to pay the required application fee.

Chicago Agent found that the following 20 agents are the real top agents in the industry, according to data from the MLS, some of whom may not have been listed in the Real Trends 1000. The first list names the top 10 individual agents with the highest business volume, where dual agencies are counted twice, and the second names the top 10 agents with the most transaction sides.

Top 10 agents according to the MLS

Individual agents with highest transaction volume (dual agency counted twice):
Michael Holtorf, Equity Brokerage Services Inc., Chicago ($234.3 million)
Ralph Oliva, Coldwell Banker, Chicago ($139.3)
Mario Greco, Prudential Rubloff, Chicago ($97.8)
Arthur Cirignani, Chicago Realty Partners, Ltd., Chicago ($91.9)
Natasha Motev, Koenig & Strey Real Living, Chicago ($84.9)
Jane Lee, RE/MAX Top Performers, Lake Bluff ($78.5)
Ayoub Rabah, Great Street Properties Inc., Chicago ($74.9)
Jeffrey Lowe, Prudential Rubloff, Chicago ($72.5)
Linda Feinstein, ERA Team Feinstein, LLC., Hinsdale ($70.1)
Emily Sachs Wong, Koenig & Strey Real Living, Chicago ($65.9)

Individual agents with highest transaction sides:
Arthur Cirignani, Chicago Realty Partners, Ltd., Chicago (1,278 sides)
Ayoub Rabah, Great Street Properties Inc., Chicago (837)
Michael Olszewski, Area Wide Realty, Chicero (544)
Jason Shapiro, Rising Realty, LLC., Chicago (486)
Coya Smith, Smith Partners & Associates Inc., Downers Grove (422)
Patti Furman, Coldwell Banker, Glenview (419)
Jeff Mrozek, Realty Executives Target, Lynwood (419)
Mark Groble, GTRealty LLC., Homewood (347)
Rosario Terracciano, Resurrecting Real Estate, Chicago (320)
Steve Meeker, Meeker Real Estate Inc., Lansing (318)

Top 10 agents according to Real Trends

The MRED customers listed under the individual transaction volume category include:
Ayoub Rabah, Great Street Properties, Inc., Chicago ($75 million)
Ralph Oliva, Coldwell Banker, Chicago ($67.9)
Dawn McKenna, Coldwell Banker, Hinsdale ($66.4)
Patti Furman, Coldwell Banker, Glenview ($61.4)
Linda Feinstein, ERA Team Feinstein, LLC, Hinsdale ($60.6)
Bryan Bomba, Coldwell Banker, Hinsdale ($59.7)
Jennifer Ames, Coldwell Banker, Chicago ($55.3)
Frank DeNovi, Coldwell Banker, Arlington Heights ($45.2)
Sharon Friedman, Coldwell Banker, Winnetka ($38.8)
Barbara Mawicke, Coldwell Banke, Winnetka ($36.4)

MRED customers listed under the individual transaction sides category include:
Patti Furman, Coldwell Banker, Glenview (428 sides)
Frank DeNovi, Coldwell Banker, Arlington Heights (227.45)
Bill Knapp, Lake Shore Drive Realty, Inc., Gurnee (165)
Christian Fischer, Fischer RE Sales & Consulting, Lynwood (139)
Robert Padron, Re/Max Cityview, Chicago (133)
Mary Wallace, Coldwell Banker, Oak Lawn (111.95)
Kim A. DeVincentis, Keller Williams Fox Valley, St. Charles (111)
Maria Castillo, ERA Mi Casa Real Estate, Chicago (110.5)
Ralph Oliva, Coldwell Banker, Chicago (108.5)
Russ Weglarz, Coldwell Banker, Bolingbrook (105.55)

Those interested in viewing the Real Trends methodology and application requirements can do so by visiting
www.realtrends.com/products/rt1000.

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Comments

  • Although, I was honored to make the real trends list, I would have to agree with you. I do have an interesting question though. According to the MLS who are the top ten producing buyers agents??

  • Chicago Agent says:

    Christian,

    you can find that data and more by reading our exclusive Real Trends! Here is the link: https://chicagoagentmagazine.com/digital/real_data_2011//index.php.

    Also, we will be releasing our complete 2011 data in January.

  • I went to the link you recommended but I could not find the statistics I was looking for. I don’t need the the top 20 listing agents. I want to know who the top 20 sales agents are, based off of total number of “sales closed”, not “listings closed”. It is much more difficult for a real estate agent to close 100 plus transactions a year if they are on the “Sales Side” of the transaction rather than the Listing side. If you are going to state who the Top agents are, I think it only fair to name top agents on both sides of the transaction. Especially after you took my pride away in your article…HAHA

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