Many outsiders consider real estate to be a competitive industry. And it is. But this does not negate the fact that many realtors and brokers often join forces to create local – and sometimes national – teams that chart the heights of success. Terese Brittingham and Tom McCouch are among them. Nearly two decades ago, they formed the Keller Williams Realty Group, and, since then, have risen to the top of Pennsylvania’s real estate. They shared with Haute Residence their secrets to long-lasting accomplishments.
How did you partner up to open Keller Williams Realty Group in 2002?
We have been partners in Real Estate since 1993, we met while working at the same brokerage and decided that the benefits of working together were too many to pass up. At the time there was no model for how teams or partnerships could work in real estate, so we were pretty much the pioneers in this area. Our personalities and common vision and goals have made us a great team. Having our own unique personalities and working styles have allowed us to adapt to any situation and overcome any obstacles.
We were very successful from the beginning and continued to grow and produce at high levels. We decided in 2001 that it was time to start our own office and sought out to find the franchise that would be the best fit for us. We decided on Keller Williams Realty as their focus was being very agent-centric. The goal and vision was to run a company that was focused on the agent being the center of our business, so they could allow the consumer to become the center of their business. To become great, you need to surround yourself with great people who appreciate the value of a safe environment. We wanted to provide our agents a place where they could feel welcome, supported and vested. We share our profit and offer continual education. Another goal was to teach them how to have a successful real estate career. Basically, we wanted to fulfil the mission of Keller Williams Realty, “Build careers worth having, businesses worth owning, lives worth living, experiences worth giving, and legacies worth leaving.” If we could accomplish that it would be awesome.
Since opening the office in 2002, how has the real estate market in the state changed?
As many markets tend to go, it has been a roller-coaster ride. The market was very good when we started in 2002 and continued strong for several years. The biggest downturn we have dealt with was the 2007 dip and that was scary, we had just moved into the new building we purchased and the market had tanked. We were able to power through and now are benefiting from the current market conditions. We have 250 agents and our market share continues to climb.
What are some of the challenges of transitioning from a real estate agent to a head of a team? Do you split up the responsibilities when it comes to managing the realty?
We have always been a team, Tom and I do have separate responsibilities but we work so well together after all these years that we just know who needs to do what. I am the Operating Partner and Broker of Record for Keller Williams Realty Group while Tom will continue to act in a support role and focus on the career development of our realtors, mentoring and team-related tasks.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned being in the real estate business?
We learned fairly quickly that we are great sales people and that our talent was not running and growing a real estate company. We had great vision and knew what we wanted the office to be, however hiring awesome talent to run the day-to-day office was our best decision we made. Our passion is in the listing and selling, we love developing marketing plans specifically for each property and helping those who have real estate needs achieve them. We are also focused on creating the best real estate company for realtors to want to be part of.
You have been involved in many community activities. What is the importance of community engagement and responsibility?
We have always been of the mindset that you give back and support the community that is supporting you. There is always something to do to help or be involved with your community. We are very active supporters of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and run a golf tournament every year to support this amazing organization. In addition, we are constantly supporting our local chambers of commerce, which is a duty that we feel strongly about. We love engaging with the other leaders in our area, networking and trying to help other business owners become great too.
You have won numerous accolades throughout the years, but what are the ones they are particularly proud of and why?
Terese: My favorite was business woman of the year. This was a huge honor. Chairing the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce was a great experience and a privilege. Being selected by the Mustang Scholars Foundation as its 2016 Woman of the Year, I was the 14th recipient of the award that the foundation said “recognizes exceptional entrepreneurship and leadership in the community.”
Prior to Keller Williams we were the top agent team in the United States for our previous franchise for several years. Since then we have been consistently the number one team in our local market and in the Top 10 in the state. Nationally, we are still in the Top 300 teams. The competition is greater than it’s ever been. The talent and competition is what continues to drive us.
Together our largest accomplishment has been opening Keller Williams Realty Group, developing realtors, and watching them build great careers.
Terese Brittingham and Tom McCouch are the exclusive agents representing the Pennsylvania real estate market as members of the Haute Residence Real Estate Network. View all of their listings here.
Images courtesy of Terese Brittingham and Tom McCouch