One of the Chattanooga area’s top-selling real estate agents is moving to Real Estate Partners — and taking 19 members of his team with him — after more than a decade with Keller Williams.
“I chose the largest locally owned independent brokerage in the Tennessee Valley,” said Mark Hite, whose team made more than $83 million in real estate deals in 2019. “My decision is that local fundamentally matters.”
Hite has been with Keller Williams for 13 years, but he sought to move to Real Estate partners after working with owner and founder Darlene Brown on local industry and community events.
“I actually approached her about a partnership,” Hite said. “I gravitated to her because of the value system she represents, and the community involvement of Real Estate Partners.”
Ryan May, vice president and co-owner of Real Estate Partners, said the focus on the local community is at the heart of the Real Estate Partners brand built over the last 15 years.
“We’ve lived here our whole lives — Chattanooga is our home, and giving back to Chattanooga is key to our success,” said May, who is Brown’s son. “We want all of our money to stay here in Chattanooga. We don’t want it to go anywhere else.”
With the addition of Hite and his team, Real Estate Partners will have about 130 agents, May said. The team approach that Hite has built at Keller Williams isn’t one Real Estate Partners has used much in the past, but they’re eager to learn from Hite, May said.
“Mark has built a business that is unlike anyone else in Chattanooga,” May said. “His team is excellent, and we think it’s going to add so much to what we have built.”
Keller Williams has three offices and about 650 agents in the Chattanooga area, said Brandi Pearl Thompson, president of the Greater Chattanooga Realtors association. Seven of the top 10 selling agents in the area in 2019 worked for Keller Williams.
One member of Hite’s team will remain with Keller Williams because she is a part owner of the local franchise, he said. Hite has sold his interest, and is negotiating his exit from another related business partnership.
“I’m very excited about putting down permanent roots with a local partner,” Hite said. Brown founded the Real Estate Partners brokerage, but she is still in the trenches, Hite said.
“She is a hands-on, working broker,” he said. “She is the owner and manages it all, but she is actively engaged in real estate, she knows what agents are facing.”
One thing they’re facing is an extraordinarily tight inventory of houses for sale as people hunker down during the pandemic, coupled with high demand for houses as people look to take advantage of low interest rates and improve their work-from-home digs.
There are about 1,300 homes available for sale, and more than 2,000 licensed Realtors in the ‘super-competitive’ Chattanooga area, Hite said. Despite the challenges, his team is having the best year they’ve ever had from a sales perspective, he added.
“We will close 450 units and $100 million this year,” he said. “I truly believe the sky is the limit for my team. You’re going to see us grow exponentially.”
Contact Mary Fortune at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @maryfortune.
Chattanooga’s top real estate agents
The top selling real estate agents in 2019 for residential sales through the Multiple Listing Service were:
1. Jay Robinson, Keller Williams Realty, $110.7 million
2. Grace Edrington, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services J. Douglas Properties, $90.3 million
3. Mark W. Hite, Keller Williams Realty, $83.7 million
4. Linda B. Brock, Real Estate Partners, $79.3 million
5. Jim T. Lea, Keller Williams Realty, $67.7 million
6. Cindi Richardson, Richardson Group KW Cleveland, $63.7 million
7. Wendy Dixon, Keller Williams Realty, $57.8 million
8. Lori Montieth, Keller Williams Realty, $55.4 million
9. Jake Kellerhals, Keller Williams Realty, $43.1 million
10. Charlotte A. Mabry, Keller Williams Realty, $41.6 million
Source: Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors. Number and value calculated by sides for residential sales between Jan. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2019.