As president and CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies (EHC), Chris Kelly navigates the brokerage’s business strategies, serving buyers and sellers in North Texas.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, Kelly has spearheaded company-wide efforts to adapt and pivot to a virtual environment that serves customers safely. Since shifting, EHC has gained market share and outperformed the broader market month-after-month.
Here, Kelly discusses becoming an RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker—individuals recognized for their positive contributions to the real estate industry—and how he and his team are incorporating tech into their 2022 game plan.
Jordan Grice: What does it mean to you to be named an RISMedia Newsmaker within the Luminaries category?
Chris Kelly: I think it’s just a reflection of the great people I’m surrounded by. Real estate is the ultimate team sport. One of my favorite quotes is from Steve Jobs, and it’s “you don’t hire smart people and tell them what to do. You hire smart people for them to tell you what to do.” I have a lot of smart people telling me what to do every day.
JG: With 2022 kicking into gear, what are you most looking forward to in the North Texas Market?
CK: What we see here in Texas is a population explosion. We lead the country in many different metrics as far as population and job growth go, and some good and bad come with it. We are excited about the opportunity we have every day to help so many people who are moving to Texas create a new home here. It’s not just the folks that are moving within our city.
JG: How are you preparing your agents for the future of real estate?
CK: There are two parts to it. One is planning. As a company, we start business planning in early October, and we get our agents thinking about the coming year that early.
The other aspect is being very knowledgeable. We think there is still a huge value in what a real estate professional brings to a transaction. Despite past fears that agents were going to be replaced by technology, what we’ve found is that as long as we are still perceived as bringing value to the transaction, we’re very much needed.
JG: How does your company stay flexible and current as the industry continues to evolve on the tech and innovation front?
CK: Part of it is taking the good things from working in the pandemic, like using the virtual tools. We also recognize that tech doesn’t replace everything. As we have opportunities to do things in a more personal setting, sometimes that’s more effective, but some of these tools that we used during COVID-19 are still very useful as we move forward. We’re taking what really worked and using it where it makes sense going forward.
Technology can’t replace the real estate professional, but real estate professionals that use technology effectively will replace real estate agents that don’t.
JG: What aspect of your company’s tech stack do you find most valuable to your business and agents this year and beyond?
CK: Last year, we created a rule for ourselves that if any technology we were rolling out wasn’t simple and accessible to our agents, we needed to think if we needed it. What we’re finding right now is that any technology that helps the agent communicate consistently with their client in a very easy way is the one that gets widely used. Any tool that makes it easy for agents to communicate with their clients consistently seems to be a winner.
Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news to firstname.lastname@example.org.