@properties Christie’s International Real Estate’s Top Ten Innovations According to co-CEOs Thad Wong and Mike Golden
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate has always been on the cutting edge of the brokerage industry, and winning “Brokerage of the Year” at this summer’s Inman Innovator Awards only affirms the company’s status as a trailblazer more than 20 years since its founding. Innovation has taken many forms during @properties Christie’s International Real Estate’s journey to becoming the #1 real estate brokerage in Chicago and a top 10 firm in the country. Following are ten innovations that @properties’ co-founders and co-CEOs Mike Golden and Thad Wong consider the most important in the company’s history:
1. What’s in a Name
According to Wong, the name “@properties” was meant to position the firm as a forward-thinking company founded on the cusp of the internet age. The name came to Wong as he rode a department store escalator past a Christmas tree adorned with ornaments bearing the “@” symbol.
2. Agent-centric Branding
In a departure from their predecessors, Wong and Golden set out to build @properties Christie’s International Real Estate around each agent’s brand, not the brand of the firm. In their eyes, agent success would feed @properties’ success, and with more top-producing agents than any other company in the market, that decision continues to pay off.
3. Superlative Marketing
@properties started out specializing in the sale of new-construction developments, for which they were required to produce higher quality marketing materials than anything used in the re-sale market. Instead of keeping those two worlds separate, Golden and Wong combined them, bringing “development-quality” marketing to existing home sales and creating another point of differentiation between @ and the competition.
4. Counter-cyclical Growth
When the 2008 financial crisis rocked the housing market, Golden and Wong made a crucial decision. While their competitors implemented austerity measures, @properties went into growth mode, expanding offices, services, marketing and more. As a result, the company doubled in size between 2009 and 2012 and emerged from the Great Recession as the largest broker in the city, on its way to becoming the largest in all of Chicagoland.
5. Agent App
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate launched the @agent app in 2011, helping to spark the mobile agent/mobile office revolution in real estate brokerage. The app is an internal communications tool that allows @properties agents to promote new listings before they hit the market, share info on vendors and contractors, and match buyers with homes for sale.
6. Deal Management System
Every single one of the tens of thousands of transactions handled each year by @properties’ Christie’s International Real Estate runs through the firm’s proprietary Deal Management System (DMS), a software program that allows agents to seamlessly manage all transaction details and documents. The DMS forms the backbone of @properties’ award-winning brokerage technology.
7. Digital Comparative Market Analysis
The digital CMA, also developed by @properties’ software team, is a dynamic market report that uses current data to zero in on the most relevant “comps” for a home. It helps sellers price more accurately and buyers make more competitive offers. For the first time ever, the tool put real-time MLS data into the hands of clients while also giving them control over the process of reviewing and evaluating comparable properties.
These applications and many others are all housed on pl@tform™, @properties’ all-in-one brokerage technology system. pl@tform™ is different from any other real estate technology in that the system is fully integrated across all applications, and it was built entirely in-house at @properties Christie’s International Real Estate. “A lot of other brokerage firms have tried to do this, but no one has ever created a system for real estate that works as seamlessly, as easily and as well as pl@tform™,” said Wong.
9. Christie’s International Real Estate Acquisition
Last year, @properties acquired Christie’s International Real Estate, the world’s premier luxury real estate brand and network, with Affiliates in nearly 50 countries and territories. The move gave @properties’ agents and clients luxury-market exposure on a global stage, while bringing @properties’ technology and marketing to leading brokerage firms around the world. Why mess with a good thing? Golden and Wong subscribe to the mantra if it ain’t broke, break it. “When you evolve, when you innovate, that’s when you add value for agents and clients and create long-term success,” said Golden.
The company’s tagline since 2015, @properties Christie’s International Real Estate took the most powerful concept in the universe and harnessed it for all things real estate. The campaign seeks to spread positivity and forge a strong connection between people, neighborhoods, and homes. LOVE also captures the joy of home that infuses the culture of @properties and its people each day.
As Wong and Golden consider future innovations, they continue looking for ways to improve not just @properties Christie’s International Real Estate but also the broader industry and the world around them. “Our goal has never been to be the biggest, just the best real estate company in the world,” said Golden.