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A Conversation With … Shaun Duggins

President of ReeceNichols Real Estate Southern Region

Posted online

How have operations locally changed since Carol Jones Realtors merged with ReeceNichols in June?
We’ve found a lot of scales of economy working with Reece, being our bigger brother so to speak. We went from about 3,500 to 4,000 visitors a month to our website to now over 1 million a month. We’ve got more support from accounting, analyst and legal standpoints. This has let us be in offense and just grow. We’ve brought on, since the merger, 26 or 27 new Realtors in our 11 locations. We’ve actually opened up two new locations since then … in Rogersville and in Houston [Missouri]. It’s just been a solid growth process.

Combined, last year’s sales volume for CJR and ReeceNichols was $5.5 billion, with CJR representing half a billion dollars of that through roughly 2,500 transactions. How is the merger affecting sales volumes? What are your projections for this year and next?
What we’re really looking to do is grow the southern region tremendously. In the Kansas City region, (ReeseNichols is) running about 35-38 percent market share. It’s hard to get there here, so we’re just continuing to grow the region. Our market share in [southern Missouri] is about 20 percent. Projected growth, we’re budgeting somewhere around 10 percent. We’re actually first quarter going to relocate to a new state-of-the-art facility that’s yet to be announced. You have a lot of opportunity in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. A lot of our target areas and places we want to be are in northern Arkansas. We’re trying to identify strong players and strong regions.

What’s the snapshot of the real estate market?
It’s a strong market. You hear all these predictions that it’s slowed down, but we continue to grow when other markets continue to suffer. There is about four and a half months of available inventory in the entire southern Missouri market. In Springfield, the average available inventory is two and a half months. Listings are in demand. Listings are going to sell at about 95-97 percent of their sales price because when a good one comes on the market, a lot of people are looking. Days on market [in southern Missouri], it’s averaging about 65 or 70; in Springfield it’s about 45 days. You can’t be on the fence with numbers like these.

What are Springfield’s selling points?
It’s a town that’s just ready to expand – from our strong universities to our economy, which is extremely strong, opportunities, a good way of life, a reasonable tax base and just that hometown feel. You can get everything you need to support that rural living. In the Midwest, our market is fairly boring compared to the rest of the world. It’s not Vegas. You don’t win big, but you don’t lose big.

How are people choosing a real estate agent today?
Ninety-five percent starts on the web. They want to be completely informed before they want to reach out and make that step. You’re always going to need human beings in the transaction; you’ve still got to get inside [and] you’ve got to negotiate. It’s still a relationship business. In today’s market with the inventory like it is, (buyers) have to be completely ready. It’s imperative they have a mobile app to know when something comes on because sometimes hours can be the difference of whether they get a home or not.

What are your growth goals?
As Reece Nichols as a whole, we’re about 2,800 agents strong. In the southern region, we’re still right around 300. We’d like to have the southern region around 500 agents. We’d like to do at least three or four acquisitions. That’s next year. We’ve got a pretty lofty goal. Our key word for next year is offense.

Shaun Duggins can be reached at sduggins@reecenichols.com.

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