Inman is exploring what the future of real estate leadership should look like through a series of articles, Q&As with industry pros and a Leadership Week series based on a national survey. Read all the parts here. Please send your feedback to email@example.com. If you’re a leader who wants to join us for our exclusive Disconnect in The Desert event on March 26-28, or want to recommend a colleague, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why.
Michael Golden is co-founder of Chicago-based @properties, a full-service real estate company that is the no. 1 residential broker in the city of Chicago, the largest independent brokerage firm in Illinois and the 11th largest residential brokerage in the United States. In 2000, Golden and fellow broker, Thaddeus Wong, established @properties.
Over the past 18 years, the company has successfully completed more than 60,000 real estate transactions valued at over $40 billion.
Today, @properties has more than 2,300 licensed real estate brokers in 25 offices in the city, surrounding suburbs, southwest Michigan and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Golden and get his thoughts on the future of real estate leadership.
As a leader, what keeps you up at night?
Everything — it’s all about every detail, and that is always our focus. If I had to pick one thing, it would be how to make sure everyone at @properties feels valued, acknowledged and special.
As you grow, it is easy to lose sight of the individual, but to us, each individual person — agent or staff or management — is critically important to our success. From sending personal handwritten notes, to our Road to Rolex program that rewards our top-producing brokers, it’s important that we always show appreciation and celebrate successes large and small.
If you could change one thing in real estate, what would it be?
I would love to have one well-maintained database of information, listings, prior closed sales, etc., nationally, versus MLSs in every market with different rules, regulations and so on.
How have your expectations of your management team changed over the past two years?
We are fortunate to have a very well-rounded, best-in-class team at @properties — our team has extremely high expectations of themselves and all work well together for our common goals.
We expect our team to continue to work hard, collaborate and communicate to continue to make us better and stronger. I don’t think my expectations have really changed much over the last few years, and our team makes it easy given their drive and commitment to us.
How do you keep your team competitive?
For us to be competitive, we always have to be innovating. We’re constantly looking to what we need to add or improve on to be on the leading edge of our industry and to provide the absolute best support, service and value to our brokers so that they can provide the best to their clients.
Despite our growth, we’ve also remained a local company, which allows us to be involved in daily brokerage operations and have relationships with all of our brokers and staff. The unique culture we’ve developed over time resonates with our team and helps us stay ahead of the competition.
With so much disruption in real estate, what’s your best advice for managing change?
Embrace it, and use it to your advantage to create more value for yourself. Changes in our industry provide tremendous opportunity for those willing to adapt.