Above: Phil Wood
John R. Wood Properties
Years in business: 65
Size: 23 offices, 750 agents
Regions Served: Collier and Lee County, Florida
2022 Sales Volume: $4.5 billion
2022 Transactions: 5,000 units
Phil Wood, president and CEO of John R. Wood Properties in Southwest Florida, carries on the legacy of his parents, who started the firm in 1958.
After earning a business degree, Wood entered the real estate industry in 1976. While a lot of his friends were getting jobs out of state, he liked the idea of returning to Naples, Florida, for work.
He rose to CEO of the firm 20 years ago, and in September 2022, led the firm to become part of Christie’s International Real Estate. The firm specializes in the luxury market within Collier and Lee counties, with thousands of homes selling for more than $1 million.
How is the Southwest Florida market looking?
Phil Wood: When COVID first hit, we started panicking and thinking back to the Great Recession and trying to cut costs. But by June 2020, Naples and the whole Southwest area caught on fire, and it’s remained that way ever since. It’s become one of the most desirable places in the nation. Unfortunately, our prices have gone up so much in the last three years that not everyone can afford to be here.
With high prices and low inventory, how do you ensure that your agents have a strong business?
PW: It’s a challenge, but we’ve managed to maintain the No. 1 marketshare all through COVID, and we’re way ahead this year. We keep getting better and better agents through recruiting and acquisitions. We’ve been an affiliate of Christie’s now for six months, which has moved us up another notch.
How did the decision to join Christie’s come about?
PW: They approached me. Our first reaction was ‘why do we need you, we’re doing great?’ but as we looked at them, it became clear that they offer a tremendous package of services and support.
What is the key to being a successful leader?
PW: You have to serve your agents. They are the ones who bring in the business, so you have to be available to serve them in every way possible. I tell our agents that the only purpose of staff and management is to help them obtain listings and make sales.
How are you helping agents in that regard?
PW: We provide a wide array of services, heavy on technology and marketing. A lot of our competitors don’t have nearly the management support that we offer. We also have more offices in our two-county area than any other company, which is not only a billboard for people driving by, but lets our agents have access to various offices. They can stop in and use conference rooms or copy machines or whatever they need.
What is your value proposition?
PW: We focus on legendary service, and we’re heavily involved in philanthropy.
What is your philosophy toward growth?
PW: We’ve been doing acquisitions now for about 25 years. It’s getting harder to find acquisitions in the area, so we have to decide if we’re going to expand our geographic footprint or our market reach. Last year, for instance, we bought three rental companies and jumped back into the vacation rental business, which we had been out of for nearly 15 years.
What is it about the real estate industry that you love?
PW: I enjoy competition very much. I’ve always been into sports, and I enjoy company versus company. Working in sales was okay, but once I moved into management and started competing and looking at marketshare, that was thrilling to me.