Dallas Native Voice | Interview with Chris Kelly

 

Mary Beth H.:                    Hi, this is Mary Beth Harrison with Dallas Native Voice, and I am so excited and so fortunate to be sitting here with Chris Kelly, the new CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies. And, Chris, first of all welcome to Dallas.

Chris Kelly:                          Thank you so much.

Mary Beth H.:                    I mean, I’m a little prejudice. I’m born and raised here, but you’re going to love it here.

Chris Kelly:                          Everyone- I- Everyone we know that has moved to the Dallas metroplex over the years, no one has ever left, and so-

Mary Beth H.:                    Yeah.

Chris Kelly:                          That’s kind of what we needed to know. Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    We’re the friendliest city you’ll ever-

Chris Kelly:                          Absolutely.

Mary Beth H.:                    Be in. We have the most incredible business climate, and we’re close to an airport we can be anywhere in three hours.

Chris Kelly:                          Exactly right.

Mary Beth H.:                    So, you know how- how bad can it be, right?

Chris Kelly:                          Not bad at all. We are excited to make this our new home.

Mary Beth H.:                    We are thrilled to have you here, and I- When I say that you’re the president and CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies, we are now bigger than a bread box.

Chris Kelly:                          Yes.

Mary Beth H.:                    So, help me understand because I feel like we’re at a holiday table, and we’ve got all these aunts, and uncles-

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    And first cousins, and- and so we are now an international company.

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    So, let’s talk about that.

Chris Kelly:                          Well, I think you have the best of both worlds now because you have these local brands that really resonate and mean something to buyers and sellers in our communities.

Mary Beth H.:                    Right. Ebby Halliday’s been around for 77 years I believe it is now.

Chris Kelly:                          Right. And, then in this particular market day period, Miller brings a certain name-

Mary Beth H.:                    Absolutely.

Chris Kelly:                          That means something to the people that live in this community-

Mary Beth H.:                    Yes.

Chris Kelly:                          By being part of Home Services now, we have gone to a network of about 45,000 agents across the country-

Mary Beth H.:                    Yes.

Chris Kelly:                          And, then also internationally as well too through our- through our franchise network, and really what that means for our consumers in this marketplace is that we’re very fortunate to live in an area, like me people are moving to-

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          And, I mean, at an enormous rate.

Mary Beth H.:                    Yes.

Chris Kelly:                          And, so as all these different businesses and people are moving to the Dallas metroplex from all these different areas where we have sister companies now-

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          All of those opportunities come to us here. So, if I’m a seller for example, and I’m- and I’m thinking about, I want to make sure I have maximum exposure to the local potential-

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          Buyers, this al- also gives me the best opportunity to attract any buyers that are coming from outside the Dallas metroplex as well.

Mary Beth H.:                    Absolutely. And- And, for us as realtors, the ability to help our clients when they’re moving out of Dallas-

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    To say, I have a really incredible realtor to suggest to you in Kansas or Ohio, wherever they’re moving to-

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    That- That just makes life easier for everybody rather than them going there going, I don’t know anyone. I’m just going to pick-

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    The first one out of a phone book.

Chris Kelly:                          It’s a- It’s exactly- What we want to do for those clients of ours, if they are actually moving somewhere that we can’t serve them-

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          We want them to get the same experience that they would’ve gotten with us-

Mary Beth H.:                    Absolutely.

Chris Kelly:                          And, so by keeping them within our Bercher Hathaway Family-

Mary Beth H.:                    Yes.

Chris Kelly:                          We can ensure that they’re going to get that same treatment in California-

Mary Beth H.:                    Yes.

Chris Kelly:                          That they would have if they would’ve used us here.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, it’s so important to us ’cause it’s part of our service.

Chris Kelly:                          Exactly.

Mary Beth H.:                    It’s part of what we give, and by referring someone out, we’ve- we’ve put ourselves out there.

Chris Kelly:                          100%.

Mary Beth H.:                    So, to know who that person is, but to do that globally, I don’t know that people realize how many people are moving in from out of the country-

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    Or investing here from out of the country.

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    So, it’s, uh, it’s so wonderful to have that as part of the Dave Perry-Miller Family now-

Chris Kelly:                          Yes.

Mary Beth H.:                    Because it makes us global.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, that’s just- that’s invaluable.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    So- So, let’s go back to, we have the Home Services-

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, that becomes the parent of- Let’s take that further.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah. So, we have Dave Perry-Miller.

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          And, then we have Home Services, and then above Home Services is Bercher Hathaway.

Mary Beth H.:                    Okay.

Chris Kelly:                          Uh, and more about its brand. And, so kind of the interesting story and neat story behind that is that Home Services got started just 20 years ago. We’re amazing start-up story.

Mary Beth H.:                    Yeah. No kidding.

Chris Kelly:                          Um, and about 4,000 agents in 1998 in the Omaha, uh, Iowa, and Minneapolis markets.

Mary Beth H.:                    Okay. That just seems like in comparison to Dallas-

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    I just think or California-

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    Or New York.

Chris Kelly:                          This little triangle, and it happened during a period of utility deregulation. And, so this company called MidAmerican Energy buys Home Services, and the only reason that is important is that MidAmerican Energy ends up getting purchased by Bercher Hathaway because they wanted to expand their energy holdings. So, that now is Bercher Hathaway Energy, one of the largest energy companies in the world.

Chris Kelly:                          But, Home Services is this little tag along company. But, what happens is Warren Buffet looks into Home Services, and he really falls in love with what you do everyday. This idea of helping Americans buy the dream.

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          And, so over a course of 20 years, Warren Buffet and Bercher Hathaway invest into Home Services, so now we are 45,000 agents, you know, in 45 different markets, you know, doing about a $123 billion in sales volume.

Mary Beth H.:                    Wow ’cause Warren Buffet doesn’t do something casually.

Chris Kelly:                          No. Not at all.

Mary Beth H.:                    No. It’s not like this man doesn’t study what he’s going to do-

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    Before he does it.

Chris Kelly:                          You’re exactly right. Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    Yeah. He doesn’t just go out and invest in stuff just for the sheer investment.

Chris Kelly:                          Exactly. Yes.

Mary Beth H.:                    That- I didn’t realize that whole story. That is so- That’s incredible. So, tell me what you bring to the table because Ebby did that home grown, home, you know- I mean, she started in the 50’s-

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    When it was a good ol’ boy system here in Dallas.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    And- And, created- You know, I laugh ’cause people think teams are such a new and novel thing-

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    Ebby Halliday created the first team back in 1950.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    Um, and so it’s not like that’s a new creation. She just didn’t call it a team. She created a whole company around it.

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    These agents came to work for her to help her sell her first houses.

Chris Kelly:                          Yes.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, so I- I- the- the evolution of real estate has, uh, something old is new again, you know. It’s just-

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    Just call it something different.

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    But, I love that, and I love that you all encourage that. That you encourage that whole approach to whatever it takes to give a client the most service-

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    Is what we want to do.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, a team approach is- I mean, it’s just too much to do now in this business-

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    If you’re going to do it well.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, surround yourself with great people which I know you have done at the corporate level.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah. And, so one of the things we’ve been talking about is I’ve gone out and met with all of our agents to say, you know, let’s kind of maybe get out of this game of trying to be better than the agent across the street-

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          Or the company across the street-

Mary Beth H.:                    Yeah.

Chris Kelly:                          And, let’s focus on being the best company and the best agent in- no matter what the business line is.

Mary Beth H.:                    Exactly.

Chris Kelly:                          And, so holding ourselves to that type of standard where you’re comparing yourselves to Nordstrom’s or Disney-

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          Or everyone here always talks about the experience of buying something at [inaudible 00:05:58].

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          You know, there’s all these different businesses that we can look at that we can say, that’s what we’re more aiming for as opposed to just trying to be a great real estate company.

Mary Beth H.:                    Well, most people don’t have several transactions. It’s not like we buy and sell once a year.

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, so you don’t have another realtor to really compare it to.

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    So, you’re right. We have to compare ourselves to our last great experience.

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    Whatever that is. The cleaners. The post office.

Chris Kelly:                          That’s exactly that.

Mary Beth H.:                    Whatever that is.

Chris Kelly:                          And, that’s who- that’s who they compare us to.

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          And, then I think going forward the ne- we always have to be mindful too of that the changing behaviors and expectations of our- of our clients-

Mary Beth H.:                    Yes.

Chris Kelly:                          To make sure we’re meeting those needs as well.

Mary Beth H.:                    Yes.

Chris Kelly:                          So, that means an invest- an investment into technology and tools, and that doesn’t always just mean more tools, you know. Sometimes we can clutter that space with a lot of stuff.

Mary Beth H.:                    Yes.

Chris Kelly:                          I’m only talking about things making things easy for the- for the client.

Mary Beth H.:                    Absolutely. Make it a more seamless transaction-

Chris Kelly:                          Exactly.

Mary Beth H.:                    Instead of having to go here, there, and everywhere else.

Chris Kelly:                          Absolutely.

Mary Beth H.:                    Yeah. No. I- I agree with that, and sometimes pencil and paper’s just the way to go.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    I don’t care how-

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    Technological we-

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    All want to be, sometimes it’s just got to-

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    Get down into a person to person, and- and real estate will always be a person to person business. It just is.

Chris Kelly:                          It-

Mary Beth H.:                    I mean, you can business it up all you want-

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    But, buying a home’s an emotional decision-

Chris Kelly:                          Exactly right.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, I can have the CEO of whatever company I’ve worked with, and they come into it like it’s a business decision-

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    But, at the end of the day, it’s an emotional decision.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, that’s just- It’s hard to explain that to people, but it’s just the truth.

Chris Kelly:                          Well, I know when I’ve gone through my own real estate transactions I would think, well, in the past, I’ve been a real estate attorney. You know, now I work for real estate brokerages. I’m- I am not going to be emotional about this, you know.

Mary Beth H.:                    (laughs). Exactly.

Chris Kelly:                          And, I would get crazy just like everybody else does because you are so emotionally invested with your home.

Mary Beth H.:                    Exactly.

Chris Kelly:                          And, so it is an emotional process, and you need that advisor-

Mary Beth H.:                    Yes.

Chris Kelly:                          To help you go through it. We used to be gate keepers of information-

Mary Beth H.:                    Yes.

Chris Kelly:                          And, they had to come to us and give us information. Now, they come with- to us with so much information, we have to make sense of that for them.

Mary Beth H.:                    Absolutely. That- That is what I tell my clients. It’s what I bring to the table is I want to answer your question before you even knew you needed to ask it.

Chris Kelly:                          Absolutely.

Mary Beth H.:                    That’s my job for you is to give you enough information to make an informed decision.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, that’s all any of us want.

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    So, I’m so excited that you have joined us, and I can already see the difference in the- the whole culture, and the company, and the- the enthusiasm. It’s just been- It’s really been wonderful to watch, so I love that.

Chris Kelly:                          Well, I appreciate. We are so excited to be here, and I’m so excited to be working with you and this amazing team at Dave Perry-Miller.

Mary Beth H.:                    Yeah. It’s, um- I’m excited to be here as well. It’s- It’s, uh- You got leadership in Lee who’s been here well over 20 years, and when you see that kind of leadership, not- It- It’s so common in this industry. It’s kind of like the restaurant industry. It’s forever changing.

Chris Kelly:                          Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    You know, we’ve got a new manager.

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    We’ve got a new this.

Chris Kelly:                          Right.

Mary Beth H.:                    We’re going to change that, but when you see consistency like that throughout the whole Ebby Halliday corporation, whether it’s Dave Perry-Miller or the new, um, tr- Is it Trent?

Chris Kelly:                          William Tru.

Mary Beth H.:                    William Tru.

Chris Kelly:                          In Forth Worth. Correct.

Mary Beth H.:                    Right. Um, it’s just- That’s really heartwarming to me-

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    That, you know, things have some consistency to it.

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah. Well, you talked about teams, right? Like, being kind of a team aspect of real estate and that’s the way I look at our leadership team too is I don’t really care about the hierarchy or who reports to who.

Mary Beth H.:                    Right.

Chris Kelly:                          This is how many people do we need to get the job done and support our agents, so they can in turn support their clients?

Mary Beth H.:                    Yeah. Absolutely. Well, we are thrilled to have you.

Chris Kelly:                          Thank you.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, I thank you for taking the time-

Chris Kelly:                          Yeah.

Mary Beth H.:                    To talk us.

Chris Kelly:                          Thanks for having us. I appreciate it.

Mary Beth H.:                    And, you can find us and all social media, and we go where you go. So, in DallasNative.com as well, and thanks for listening.

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