@Properties follows customers as they head north
Ten years after co-founding @Properties in Chicago, Michael Golden and Thaddeus Wong are firming their commitment to the North Shore with a second office.
Last week, the duo bought a building along Green Bay Road in Winnetka near the Indian Hill Metra station and they plan to open an office there in August with 50 agents. That follows @Properties’ first step in suburbia last summer when it opened an Evanston office now staffed by 75 agents. And if all goes according to plan, they want a Highland Park office in 2011.
Moving into a north suburban market that is largely dominated by Coldwell Banker Residential is a challenge they say they’re up to, particularly because the Evanston office has done better than expected.
In one respect, @Properties is growing up with its client base. The firm made its mark selling condos and new developments within the city and a decade later, some of those clients have married, started families and begun moving to the suburbs.
Following customers as they move north, rather than in another direction, is a bit easier because of the consistent demographics of the North Shore. “We felt like we can get a lot of traction here quickly,” Golden said, with Wong adding “This is the most natural progression for us. It’s growth during a period of time when everyone tells you you shouldn’t be growing. There’s nothing that can be forced right now.”
Growing organically, rather than through acquisition in an industry where consolidation continues, will remain @Properties’ strategy, the pair agree. “When you buy a company, the agents that come with that company don’t have a choice. [Then] you’ve got agents who have changed their business card and the agents don’t love that,” Wong noted.
Last year, @Properties’ sales volume totaled $1.78 billion with 859 agents, compared with $1.88 billion and 738 agents at year-end 2008. Based on data reported to Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, Broker Metrics gave @Properties a leading 12.48 percent market share within Chicago last year….