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In November 2021, @properties and Christie’s International Real Estate announced the Chicago-based firm would acquire the global luxury real estate giant and become the new steward of the brand.
Today, Thad Wong and Mike Golden serve as co-CEOs of Christie’s while maintaining their status as co-founders and owners of @properties. Chris Lim, meanwhile, serves as the luxury brand’s president.
During the roughly 18 months that have taken place since the acquisition, more than two dozen firms have joined the Christie’s International Real Estate network — including big names like Aaron Kirman — representing over $35 billion in annual transaction volume.
The firm has also gradually rolled out its proprietary technology, pl@tform, to Christie’s affiliates since the acquisition, giving Christie’s brokers and agents access to tools like its CRM, Digital CMA, C-Suite social media content hub, Digital Listing Presentation and Creative Studio.
In 2022, the brokerage also debuted the client-facing Closing Milestones digital portal, which gave homebuyers a type of digital roadmap for important dates, tasks and documents throughout the process of contract to close. In April 2023, a version of the tool was also released to homesellers.
As the luxury network gathered its leadership and agents this week in Miami at the 1 Hotel South Beach for its annual Agents Conference, Intel sat down with Wong and Lim to discuss how far the brand has come since its monumental partnership deal was sealed at the end of 2021. Here’s what they had to say, edited for brevity and clarity.
Intel: As this acquisition came about, @properties was known for its proprietary technology and the tools it brought to the table with this deal. What role do you think that has continued to play as you’ve solidified your partnership?
Wong: What was interesting and what we’ve learned from the conference is that the Christie’s affiliates where we’ve integrated pl@tform as their digital solution have had incredible adoption, and their agents have used tools like the Digital Listing Presentation and the CRM and the Digital CMA to differentiate themselves in their markets, similar to how @properties’ agents in Chicagoland have differentiated themselves.
So, kind of how you’ve seen our rapid growth and market share in Chicago, we’re now getting in the Christie’s brand that they can lean into differentiation, but those who were gradually integrating pl@tform from the beginning now are experiencing these great impacts.
Great. I also would like to ask about the leadership of the company and how that’s evolved as you’ve merged forces between @properties and Christie’s. How do you feel both of your leadership roles have transformed or changed in the last year-and-a-half?
Lim: It’s been an opportunity of a lifetime. When we became the stewards of the brand almost 18 months ago, it was really a dream come true I think for both sides. We started as agents, we both built our brokerages, and running a network was really sort of the next logical step in both of our careers.
Being able to marry, as we were talking about earlier, the technology that @properties was known for and marry that with the absolute best brand, we’ve really created a network like no other. And I think that’s why we’re seeing this tremendous growth. So for me personally, this is an opportunity in the next step in my career, so it’s been great.
Wong: My [story is] a little bit different, because I’m still so heavily involved in @properties and the product development and adoption there that it’s kind of interesting, because it’s the exact same effort and communication that I got with our agents in Chicagoland — it’s sort of just transporting that to different markets and educating our teams in adoption and integration of pl@tform with Christie’s affiliates.
And also, meeting with the Christie’s affiliates globally who are considering joining us [and explaining] the reason we can use numbers and we explain to them, yes, it is still the iconic brand that screams luxury and refinement, but we’re also giving you the things that empower brokerages, which are technology, training, coaching, culture. So it’s really scaling and working with our team to scale those three things outside of just the brand.
And I think my ability to do both sides is helping us with our innovation and coming up with new ideas on how to address the current market conditions.
Lim: I would add on to that, that I think one commonality that we’re hearing is that a lot of the independent brokerages in the network and in the industry really look to the fact that Thad and I both have experience being brokers, so we’re really running a network for brokers, by brokers. I think that’s something that’s really resonated and fueled our growth.
A lot of times, people who oversee a network actually have no experience selling homes. And Thad was the No. 1 agent in Chicagoland, I was the top agent in the Bay Area, so I think the decisions we’re making for the network, what we’re implementing for the network, comes also from our experience selling real estate.
Wong: In the feedback from the conference, that’s one of the most clear messages, this appreciation that it’s agents talking to agents. So as we’re presenting the data and giving them tips and different things on how to use our tools to improve their market share, instead of hearing it from a software developer or somebody who’s not had experience selling, we’re able to speak their language.
What should individuals who are interested in affiliating with Christie’s know?
Wong: I think most people in the industry know that we have a lot of interest from different companies, but if you reach out to our team, we respond pretty quickly.
Lim: It’s an invitation-only luxury network of the very finest independent brokerages in the world, and that’s really what we’re trying to amass. And we’re trying to have a really good synergy with similar culture, people who really want to be top of their game, recognize the provenance of the Christie’s International Real Estate brand, the connection to the auction house — I think that’s really who we’re aligning with and how we’re finding them, but they’re also finding us.
Correction: An earlier version of this story called @properties CMA tool a “visual CMA,” but the tool is the firm’s “Digital CMA.”