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Ep 68- From Legal Expert to Real Estate Mogul with Jerry Mooty

Ep 68 - From Legal Expert to Real Estate Mogul with Jerry Mooty

From Legal Expert to Real Estate Mogul with Jerry Mooty

In today’s episode of Building Texas Business, we sit down with Jerry Mooty, the CEO and Principal of @properties, Christie’s International Real Estate in Dallas and Austin.

Jerry takes us through his remarkable journey from managing partner at a law firm to heading a major real estate brokerage. He shares how resilience and adaptability allowed him to steer his business through the 2008 financial crisis and leverage opportunities arising from the pandemic.

Jerry also provides insights into growing his firm through innovative hiring strategies and technological platforms that streamline agents’ work. We explore lessons learned around overcoming adversity, strategic partnerships, and balancing operations with culture.

His story offers a candid look inside one industry titan’s challenges and triumphs in managing debt, acquisitions, and new ventures in sports and entertainment.


Transcripts are generated by machine learning, so typos may be present.

BTB (00:00):

Welcome to the Building Texas Business Podcast. Interviews with thought leaders and organizational visionaries from across industry. Join us as we talk about the latest trends, challenges, and growth opportunities to take your business to the next level. The Building Texas Business Podcast is brought to you by BoyarMiller, providing counsel beyond expectations. Find out how we can make a meaningful difference to your business at and by your podcast team where having your own podcast is as easy as being a guest on ours. Discover more at Now. Here’s your host, Chris Hanslik.

Chris (00:42):

In this episode, you will meet Jerry Moody, CEO and principal of @Properties Christie’s International Real Estate in Dallas and Austin. Jerry, by anyone’s definition, is a serial entrepreneur having started a law firm, credit card processing company, real estate development company, and now a real estate brokerage firm. And Jerry tells aspiring entrepreneurs expect the unexpected. Jerry, I wanna thank you for taking the time to come on and welcome you to Building Texas Business.

Jerry (01:15):

Nice to see you. Thanks for having us.

Chris (01:18):

Good to see you too. It’s been a while. Let’s just start, you know, you’ve done a number of things and we will get into some of that, but currently what’s the business that you’ve started and, and your current today?

Jerry (01:29):

So Jerry Moody from Dallas have a business now in the residential re residential real estate brokerage industry. So I compete with Compass and some big national brands that most of the listeners will know about.

Chris (01:42):

And that company’s called @Properties, right?

Jerry (01:45):

Yes, sir. It’s called @Properties Christie’s International Real Estate. So we kind of know, okay. We’re working on that.

Chris (01:51):

And I know you’re kind of got the Dallas area covered, but I think you’ve also recently expanded into Austin.

Jerry (01:58):

Yeah, so we started in Dallas proper with our headquarters and we then we opened a second office in Frisco, Texas, and then we just recently, in the fall of 2023 opened up Austin, Texas.

Chris (02:09):

So, you know, as a recovering uh, attorney, what was it that inspired you to get into the residential brokerage real estate business?

Jerry (02:18):

So, interesting enough, you kind of know my history, but I founded a, a law firm when I was 28, and I grew that into about 60 lawyers in four cities. As the managing partner, I started doing a lot of deals for the partners as opposed to practicing law. And I went down several paths. I had a litigation support company that I founded and, and grew that for the partners. And then, you know, ironically got into a real estate development little startup where I had a home building division, building spec homes, and I had a commercial division where I was doing some commercial projects, raw land development, had a resort under contract in Bernie, but like a lot of people in real estate, 2009, 2010 came. And that was the end of my, my Glory Days in real estate

Chris (03:01):

<laugh>. All right. So then what led you to, you know, get involved with at properties and then take this down, go down this rabbit trail.

Jerry (03:10):

Sure. So in 2012, I sold my interest in the law firm back to the partnership because I didn’t want to go back to practicing full-time. And then did quite a few different entrepreneurial things from about 2013 to about 2019. Any, you know, had a credit card processing company backed by the Jones family called Blue Star Payments that merged in with a tech company and we rebranded Blue Star Sports. We were backed by some pretty large VC firms, Bain Capital and Genstar Partners, and Providence Equity, and then obviously the Jones family. So we acquired about 27 companies in about three years. And then we sold that company in 2017. Then I was kind of looking for the next thing and I became the chief business and legal officer for a Silicon Valley tech company for a couple years. They were in a big money raise and it wasn’t going so well and I was deferring comps.

Jerry (04:00):

So I started looking at what I was gonna do next. One of the, one of the people in my network is, uh, ex uh, litigation real estate litigator. Uh, she had gone on and got married, had kids, got a real estate license and had a brokerage here in Dallas. And her model was, she was going and convincing unhappy lawyers to get their real estate license. So she had about 10, 10 agents slash attorneys as her brokerage. And she approached me to come in and run her brokerage for kind of like I did the law firm. So that piqued my interest enough. So we went down that path. Sadly, we didn’t get to execute our, our documentation ’cause they ended up having a, you know, a divorce situation. And then two weeks later Covid hits. And so I’m waiting to take my real estate license and not sure what I’m gonna do after that come out of, out of the first 90 days of Covid, the market’s red hot. So I hang my license, I start doing deals for my network friends and start marketing myself as an agent. All the meanwhile, I’m looking for something to buy or to own or start. And so that led me through developer relationship here in Dallas to the ownership group of at Properties Outta Chicago. They made that introduction, flew up and met with them and really fell in love with not only the brand and the culture, but also the technology that they had built.

Chris (05:17):

Amazing story there. There’s a lot to to dive into there. I may definitely want to go back some, but let, let’s stay with that properties for now and, you know, so you, that’s a, it’s born outta covid, I guess tell us though, you know, ’cause I know just from, you know, keeping up with you and then reading on the website, you, you’ve experienced some like amazing growth in the last, I guess three and a half years. Let’s talk a little bit about that and, and in talking about what you’ve done, uh, that you think has helped accelerate it, let’s talk also about the, maybe the pains with growing so fast.

Jerry (05:50):

Sure. So as I was looking to own something and this opportunity came up, I negotiated to purchase, you know, the North Texas territory, but I wasn’t really prepared to, to launch ’cause it was just me and I hadn’t done a whole lot of recruiting, uh, but I had some real estate deals in the pipeline that I needed to, to leave the current brokerage I was at before I papered those up. So I ended up launching at properties, uh, by myself, just one agent and got temporary space and, you know, true entrepreneurial spirit. Started recruiting, uh, putting in my support team. Landed a pretty big compass team right outta the gate and that kind of helped accelerate the visibility. And so the first, you know, six months, we grew to 10 agents by Christmas. So it wasn’t, we weren’t a big brokerage, but we were putting things in place by the next year we were about just under 40 agents.

Jerry (06:42):

So we had a really good successful year in, in, you know, quadrupling our size. And then last year in 2023 we doubled again to about 80 agents in Dallas. So we’ve been kind of, there’s been some faster growth brokerages, but we’re very, we’re considered more luxurious. Our agents are more high producing agents and they take a little longer to transfer from one brokerage to another based on their pipeline and their restrictions. So now that we’re three and a half years into this, and Austin’s really kind of been a, a little bit of a catalyst in the last six months. ’cause initially that territory wasn’t available. There was a Christie’s affiliate there. My corporate partner asked me if I wanted Austin about a year and a half ago. I said yes. And so I started putting the plate pieces in place and we launched that in September. We’ve added quite a few agents in the first 120 days, over 70 something agents there. So all in, we got about a hundred agents in Dallas, about 70 in Austin. So that’s the good side of the business. The headaches, as you know, as an entrepreneur are several and many <laugh>,

Chris (07:45):

Too many to list, but we’ll cover a few <laugh>.

Jerry (07:47):

My most recent success story is I just hired, hired a controller after three and a half years. So I’ve been doing the books, reporting to corporate, paying the royalties, paying the checks, paying the agents. So those are the things, as an entrepreneur, you really, uh, you put your blood, sweat and tears into these businesses and then you have to get to a certain level to where you could start to relieve yourself of some of these pains.

Chris (08:08):

Yeah, that’s so true Jerry. A lot of the people that I’ve had on before say exactly that, that it’s one, when you’re starting out, you’re not big enough to, you know, to outsource it. So, or or to hire for it. So you gotta do it. But then it’s getting to that point when you, even when you are big enough and can afford it, the level of trust in hiring the right person to, to hand off those key aspects of the business. So it frees you up, you know, to do the things as an entrepreneur, the visionary you want to be doing, you know. So let’s talk about that. What was it that, you know, kind of, that you think helps get to a level of trust and comfort that it is time to, to hand off and, and it is the right person to hand off to?

Jerry (08:50):

Yeah, I think, and you know, based on my background of being an entrepreneur, you, you make a lot of friends and you kind of know, you learn the hard way. You hire the wrong person a few times and then as you get older and more seasoned, you kind of know what to look for. In this instance with that properties, you know, I hired somebody I’d known for 35 years to come in and be my director of agents. I’ve known her since the SMU days. So the trust was already built in and then you’re just very selective as you add the pieces to the puzzle to, to get those right people in place. So, you know, in half years we’ve let one or two people go, but we’ve been pretty successful in hitting the mark.

Chris (09:27):

That’s great. So 70 agents or so you said, what have you started to implement any kind of processes that help with the integration process as you bring in these new people so they understand kind of what the expectations are, what the benefits are for making the move? I mean, so where are you and what have you, what’s the process you’ve gone through to try to make that more institutionalized?

Jerry (09:49):

So, you know, the background for at properties and the corporate support we have is pretty important in how we’ve gotten here. They’re a 25 year brokerage, they’re the eighth largest in the country before acquiring the Christie’s affiliate network. So they kind of had the processes in place. So it’s buying, whenever you buy a franchise and you want to go down this path, you kind of get a little bit of assistance from and some help along the way on someone else putting the right pieces in place. I think what we’ve done a great job is integrate and implement those things that they brought to the table, which I think revolves around a lot of our culture. You know, I think culture is so important in any business you have. And so it’s this, we have fun things called at love local events, um, that came from corporate.

Jerry (10:34):

So we will pick a, a merchant somewhere in our geographical area, we’ll partner with them, we’ll send out a marketing campaign. Let’s say it’s a coffee shop and then whoever shows up at that coffee shop, our agents are there and we’re buying, we’re running a tap for a coffee or a Danish in the morning. So that’s kind of the community outreach piece. We use the word love strategically in all our marketing. So we say bringing the love to Dallas, bringing the love to Frisco and those types of things. So, you know, recruiting is probably once you get the, once you get your overhead stabilized and your office space and those types of things, this is a business about relationships and recruiting. So I would say our two most important people outside of myself are our head of recruiting out of Frisco, head of recruiting out of the Dallas office. And so those have been very good hires. Yeah,

Chris (11:22):

Most, I think most businesses that are, it’s hard to say they’re not people, businesses or relationship, but certainly you know, when in the business you’re in where you’re so customer facing, right? It it, you need good people that can go out and, and, and attract good customers, provide good service. But I have to imagine the last 18 months or so in, in residential real estate hasn’t been the easiest. So can you talk a little bit about, you know, what you’ve done to help continue to promote one, promote the culture to keep people positive and, you know, and and and energized while managing through what has to have been a challenging time?

Jerry (12:00):

Yeah, absolutely. So obviously we’re all aware of how hot the market got, you know, a couple years ago, you know, during covid and post covid, what that did in our industry is everybody wanted a real estate license ’cause they saw all these transactions happen. So we had an influx of of agents that came in that are young, uh, inexperienced, but we’re here to make some money. And then when the market turns, you kind of have the reverse effect. Those people were all eat what you kill or 10 99 commissioned agents, they gotta figure out how to pay the bills. And so we’ve had an ex, a pretty big exodus, probably 15 to 20% of our agents across the nation have left the industry. And so that’s been good for the sense of the people staying in it ’cause you got less competition. But the ones that stayed in it, most of them have been through some of these ebbs and flows of the market and so they kind of know how to prepare. And most of that revolves around when your transaction desk is slower, what are you ramping up to do? Are you ramping up your marketing, your postcard, your social media content? Are you revamping your website? And so those are all things that we, with the agents that work for us and part of our big strong sales pitch based on the technology that we have.

Chris (13:13):

Gotcha. Speaking of that on the marketing side, uh, you know, are you seeing I guess one area or the other as far as marketing strategy work better get more visibility or more return on investment? You know, you see so much on social media, so it seems natural that that would be one, but I I don’t know if that’s the leading one based on your experience or not.

Jerry (13:33):

Yeah, I think in pretty much every industry has been affected by the internet and no, no industry more so than real estate. I would say probably 10 years ago you saw a lot, you saw a lot of print ads, you saw a lot of ads in, you know, business journals and those types of things trying to move property. But now it’s really a digital world. We’re using social media, we’re using tools called AdWorks, which is a retargeting tool to where it’s essentially like if you went and looked at a pair of shoes at Nordstrom’s and then you left Nordstrom’s, those shoes are following you around, right? So we have the ability to target geotrack and geotarget potential prospects and clients through our technology. Obviously websites are important. Your collaboration tools that you’re preparing a search for a prospect, like they’re looking in this area for a certain price point, we have the ability to set those searches up and work with a prospect or a client on finding the home. Ironically, in the last probably, I don’t know when this started, but in the last year or so, almost 85% of buyers find the home they want before they hire an agent. Or at least they zero it down based on how much information is on the internet. And so really as an agent, what you’re trying to do is bring your expertise not only to, to get that transaction, you know, under contract, but then there’s most of the work happens once that transaction’s under contract all the way through closing.

Chris (14:55):

Right. That is a, it is an amazing statistic. 85%. But you’re right. I mean, I mean one, everyone goes to the internet first I think to research or or validate or do something. So I can, it makes sense to me, but it is a, it’s a big number. Right. Sounds like, you know, I hear you, you use the word technology and innovation and stuff, uh, quite a bit already since we started the interview. Some of this may have come from, you know, your franchisor, some may have come from some things you’re doing, but what are some of the things you believe are innovative in the way that you’re operating the brokerage and helping your agents be successful?

Jerry (15:32):

Sure. So I think when you start understanding what different brokerages bring to the table in, in regards to support for their agent portfolio, obviously marketing’s a big one ’cause they’re pushing all the stuff out that we’re talking about. But also the day-to-day operation of a, of an agent is pretty important. Most brokerages, large brokerages like Coldwell Banker, some of your biggest national brands are very antiquated when it comes to technology support. I would say there’s two brokerages at the forefront. I’d say Compass is is in second place and I think app properties is in first place. And I say that because we’ve been building a technology stack called platform where our franchisor has since 2003 and basically an agent logs in and does everything they need to do as an agent, uh, in one technology. When I interview agents and I show ’em the technology, they’re blown away because they’re in four or five, six different technologies throughout the day trying to get their social media posted or created, their transactions done over here, their DocuSign’s another technology they have to use and we have everything in one place. And so that’s been a real big selling point for us when it, when we’re recruiting these agents.

Chris (16:44):

Yeah, I mean, anything to, to make your employees, or in your case I guess your contractor’s life easier, have you started to look into, or is this already incorporating any kind of versions of ai

Jerry (16:58):

AI’s already integrated? You know, nowadays agents are always doing, as an easy example, they’re doing descriptions of the property. So now you can lean on AI to help you describe, you know, $5 million house with five bedrooms, six baths by describing it into ai and then it’ll help you create that luxury description. So there’s things like that. Obviously our CRM has a lot of AI tied to it. And so yeah, it’s, that’s the way of the future and, and it’s getting more and more integrated and implemented into all our tools.

Chris (17:31):

Very nice. Very nice. Yeah. Alright, so I want to make you kind of reflect back. So you know this by, by your own description, not the first time you, you kinda started it a new venture or, or stepped outside your comfort zone. So when you think about what you did, I guess leaving the, you know, maybe leaving the law firm or even some of the ventures you started while you were there, but going to credit card processing, et cetera. What are some of the lessons you learned through those ventures that you think prepared you for taking the step you did without properties and the steps you’re taking out grow so rapidly?

Jerry (18:08):

Yeah, I think if you’re a serial entrepreneur like myself, I think the one thing you learn each time that you have an idea or you go down the path of starting something is you think it’s, you think you’re gonna get to the finish line a lot easier as it is your idea and you think you’re gonna do that. And I think probably in every instance, including the law firm, including the credit card processing is one lesson is it just takes a lot to probably 10 times, a hundred times more man hours and work and you got hurdles that you’re not expecting. But I think that’s part of the reward too is, is why I am built the way I am, is you enjoy that when you, when an obstacle comes and you get your way around it or over it. But I think, you know, frankly, it’s probably what every entrepreneur says, it’s never as easy as you think it is. There’s no get rich, you know, we talked about most, most of what we do as lawyers and and what I’m doing is a people game. You know, you’re hiring people and, and people disappoint, you know, and you’re having to find different people sometimes. And so the lesson is just probably expect the unexpected and you’ll be okay and be able to sleep at night.

Chris (19:13):

I like that. Well, think about, is there a kinda a, a challenge or a failure or setback that you can point to over the last, you know, 15 years, 20 years or whatever that you feel is, maybe it’s in some ways either a defining moment for you or one of the bigger learning moments that, you know, you got, you kinda got hit with a little headwind, but you overcame it and because of that, it’s kind of helped propel you either in your own personal journey as a leader or you know, in things you learned as an entrepreneur.

Jerry (19:42):

Yeah, I’d say, you know, probably the biggest lesson learned of all time was me starting a real estate development company with a home builder and a commercial partner and getting, you know, diving into that with not a whole lot of experience. And so the challenge was obviously in real estate you’re hoping to build something and sell it. And so the big challenge is if you build it and you borrow a bunch of money and you don’t sell it. And so in oh 8, 0 9 2010 is probably, should have been my premier happiest days of my life. I’m, I own a law firm, I’m making some good, you know, coin on the law firm side, but I’m literally getting dragged through the mud financially on the real estate piece. And it’s probably one of the reasons it’s taken me 10 years to get back into it on the brokerage side because I literally came out of that with some financial PSD, you know, I just could not sleep, you know, God, I mean, health issues, depression, pretty much everything you can experience as an entrepreneur. And so you figure out a lot about yourself when you’re going through something like that. And, you know, you either either stay in bed and, and sulk about it or you pull up your socks and get out and try it again.

Chris (20:53):

That, that in internal fortitude, you know, I think any entrepreneur’s got to have that or it’s just not gonna happen. I appreciate you sharing that. Were, were there some things that you did you know, that, you know, other than just, I mean, pure gutted out, you know, to help you kind of get through that, you know, leaning on family, friends? I don’t know. I mean, uh, I have to believe we’ve got some listeners and, uh, other people out there that, you know, going through the same thing.

Jerry (21:20):

Sure. I I think where I lucked out was, you know, just to be frank, I was on about $60 million in personal guaranteed debt that was worth probably about 30 by the time I was trying to get out of it. So there wasn’t gonna be any family help. It was, it was, hey, <laugh> with you in a, in a loving way, of course. But when you, when you dig a hole like that, you, you just gotta figure out the best way out. And, and for me, where I benefited was I had a law degree and I was a lawyer and creditors could not touch the ownership interest in my law firm because it was tied to my license. So through bankruptcy lawyers and all that stuff, I got educated on that and gave me the strategy to get through that situation and come out on the other end, which was one of the reasons I sold the interest of the law firm back to the partners because that allowed me to have a little bit of a stream of income there in 2012, 13 and 14 while I got the credit card processing company going and getting these other things going.

Jerry (22:17):

So there was, if there was a silver lining, it was that fact, but it was still, still pretty embarrassing financially and pretty embarrassing as a professional to to, to really go through that over a three or four year period.

Chris (22:30):

Gotta gotta be hard. But like I said, I mean now that you’ve come through it, you know, you can certainly appreciate the opportunities you have today and know that, you know, I certainly probably learned some lessons of what to not do going forward, right, <laugh>?

Jerry (22:45):

Absolutely. I’m, I would say the one lesson you learn in that scenario is you become a lot more frugal with your financial decisions and, you know, especially in the banking industry, like one thing I’m proud of with that properties is we’ve never borrowed a dollar. We got zero debt. And so those, that’s a probably a direct result of what I went through, you know, 15 years ago was I don’t want to do another business where I got a bunch of debt and I’m trying to figure out that off and make money to, to live off of.

Chris (23:12):

That’s great. So you mentioned earlier, I think it was a credit card processing Blue Star where you had some dealings with Bain Capital and obviously you’re dealing with a franchisor in this current business. So let’s talk a little bit about maybe what you’ve learned through that. I kind of would relate or maybe call those, you know, investors, partners, strategic partners. What have you learned as kind of some of the best ways to deal with them? So you keep that relationship strong and healthy and maybe is there something, you know, that that happened that you’re like, like I did this or they did, you know, something that happened that soured the relationship. One, they gotta help our clients here at the firm, you know, find themselves in those situations all the time. And so I’m curious to know what, you know, what lessons you’ve learned through that process.

Jerry (24:00):

Yeah, so I would say getting involved in, in, so when we had the credit card processing company, it was pretty, a pretty simple model. We were going out and, you know, recruiting or, or you know, recruit, trying to sell merchants, you know, restaurants, anybody who ran a credit card was a, was a prospective client approached by a group, um, who had an idea of buying up these technology companies in the youth sports space. So like if you sign your kid up for soccer, you’re, there’s usually a form and at the end of that form, whether it be the YMCA or anywhere else, you’re paying a fee for your child to play that on that soccer team. So the model we had was take the credit card processing that we had built our own API and those types of things and bake it into a technology and go buy these companies.

Jerry (24:50):

And interestingly it was about how do you flip the model from a EBITDA and a multiple perspective. So these tech companies that weren’t that large of companies, ’cause they were kind of geographically located running different types of youth sports camps or whatnot, they weren’t sophisticated enough and they were usually outsourcing their credit card processing to Stripe or Square or something like that. So we would acquire these companies and bake our own processing. And from an ownership perspective, then that would change the multiple from maybe two times to 12 times because you have that reoccurring revenue stream coming into your business model. Yeah, so I, I literally probably learned more over that first 12 to 24 months as we were acquiring these companies doing due diligence on ’em. And I was the chief legal officer of the company, so I was head of in charge of all the due diligence. So we acquired 20 something companies and I bet I did due diligence on about 300 over two years. But it was really cool because I got to see what investors and power players in the venture capital market, how they looked at things and it’s, there’s not a lot of emotion, it’s numbers on paper and it’s how do we make, how do we do this to this group of businesses and then how do we sell it and make money? And so

Chris (26:05):

All about the return on investment, right,

Jerry (26:07):

Exactly. So it’s uh, it’s very cutthroat, which some businesses are, some aren’t, but it was a great learning experience. I’d like to say I probably learned more in that two to three years dealing with those big VC firms and listening to those meetings and kind of running point on due diligence than I’ve probably learned in any other aspect of my life,

Chris (26:25):

Ma. I bet so, I bet. So, well let’s turn it back a little bit to at properties specifically. I know specifically you’ve recently launched a, a new sports and entertainment division. Tell us about that. You know, what, what’s going on behind that and what are you trying to accomplish?

Jerry (26:41):

So in the real estate brokerage world, there’s different marketing ways to market yourself, right? And a lot of that boils down to your experience of your agent portfolio. And so some, some real estate brokerages are residential, some may just be commercial. But on our side we have, we’ve accumulated some agents that allowed us to, to create these divisions because of their experience levels. So land and ranch is one division, and then sports and entertainment is another division. And basically there’s some criteria that we’ve put in place before an agent can say they’re part of that team or that division Dealing with professional athletes or celebrities on a number of occasion is some of the qualifications. But essentially when somebody’s moving, like a professional athlete or a celebrity, there’s a lot of sensitivity to that or there’s a lot of urgency, there’s a lot more moving pieces. And so that specific division has agents who are, you know, experts in helping the, that transaction or that client get from point A to point B and solve a lot of problems along the way. How to move their cars, how to move their kids into new schools, uh, you know, everything that comes along with kind of that type of transaction as opposed to someone just buying a house and selling a house.

Chris (27:56):

Well, so are we gonna see, uh, Superbowl ads anytime soon if I

Jerry (28:01):

If I could afford it? Uh, no. That’s the goal is we’re, we’re, we’re really because of, um, how the Christie’s affiliate network has come into play for us. I don’t know if we mentioned this before the call or on the call, but you know, our corporate partner ended up buying the Christie’s Affiliate Network, which is a network of independently owned brokerages around the world. I think we have 900 offices in 54 countries, about 35,000 agents. And the reason Christie’s, the auction house, Christie’s the family who’s owned that brand and that company for 250 years, they sold the app properties because of the technology. And we’ve been for two years bringing a worldwide global powerhouse network together into the technology to share referrals and data and information. And so that’s been one of the, one of the real keys to some credibility for us.

Chris (28:52):

Very cool. I think you just launched something else maybe in the last week of developer services. Tell us about that.

Jerry (28:58):

So, so again, uh, we all know there’s developers out here building multifamily, building, you know, developing neighborhoods, multi-use. And so for a brokerage our size to have the ability to provide those services was kind of hard. So we ended up meeting a group of, of people out of Austin who came from Story Built, and for those listeners who’ve heard about Story Built, it’s a multi-billion dollar developer who went, ran out of money last summer. But we ended up negotiating their entire creative team to come over to Christie, uh, our Christie’s and create this development services division. So starting with the, the chief marketing officer all the way down to their website development team, their onsite sales. So we’ve got a team of about 12 of, uh, superstars and they really fell in love with the Christie’s brand to kind of long move from story built into our umbrella to kind of push those services out. So that’ll be a huge win for us.

Chris (29:53):

So as you sit there running all this, you know, what is it that kind of triggers for you that this is an opportunity that makes sense because not everybody can see that and, and you know, so there are things you’re looking for, you know, you know, how how do you go about making that decision and taking on the risk?

Jerry (30:10):

Yeah, so risk is a little less scary in in our business ’cause most everybody who works for our brokerages a 10 99 contractor. So we really have a pretty lean machine when it comes to, we’re running this right now with about seven full-time employees, three offices. So you got overhead from an office space perspective, but really you’re kind of, you’re kind of, it’s kind of a lean business model, which is one of the things that attracted me to it. And then obviously you have to have the people to be able to, uh, promote these different levels of services. So I think the thing that’s been lucky for us is one, uh, our relationship and our network in Dallas to help get it started. And then obviously the people we’ve been able to add at such a young infancy of a company have given us the credibility and, and the numbers are reflecting that.

Chris (30:59):

Gotcha. So be before, I don’t want to wrap this up without talking a little bit just about you and your leadership style. Let’s talk, you know, how would you describe your leadership style? How do you think that’s evolved over time based on the, the, the scars and other lessons learned?

Jerry (31:16):

You know, you work at a law firm, so, you know, running a law firm is you got a lot of smart people, a lot of egos, a lot of staff, a lot of overhead. And so I learned a lot about, you know, the operational side of a business and that seat. And then I think my, my ownership style has probably changed completely since I left the law firm. I’m a lot more interested in the wellbeing of my employees, um, a lot more sensitive to the culture. Um, I think when you talk about people coming to work and going home, in my mindset now, I want that to be a great experience. I, I kind of use the word experience a lot in the last couple years for some reason. And I think it’s just my evolution is like, everything in our lives is an experience and you can make it a good one or you can make it a bad one, right?

Jerry (32:03):

And so I think my leadership style is I want every experience to be a good one, but the best I can make it, obviously you’re gonna have your headaches and your issues pop up, but we have the music on in our offices every day. Um, we have happy hours on Thursdays. We built bars in both of our offices in Dallas and Frisco, and then we’re putting one in our location in Austin so that we can have happy hours with our agents and our clients and our prospects. We hold a lot of events and I think our interaction with the community and the philanthropic stuff that we’re doing is, is really cool. So I think where I’ve gotten is, you know, I’m 54 now and, you know, I started that law firm at 28 and I had a whole different picture in my mind at 28, probably till 35 of what life was gonna be for me. And now I’m kind of trying to enjoy it a lot more.

Chris (32:52):

I love that man, happy for you. It’s, you know, clearly you’re on the right track and couldn’t agree more about how important culture is to any company. And, and I, I think I, I’ve said similar to you, I think life is about experiences. I think they’re only, you’re really down to learning experiences, good experiences and learning experiences. And though rather than bad just learn from ’em and don’t repeat ’em.

Jerry (33:15):

Yeah, exactly. Right. Exactly. Um,

Chris (33:17):

So let’s start a little bit on the personal side of, of things and, and, and not as serious. What was your first job?

Jerry (33:24):

First job, I was a clerk in a law firm. Okay. Working until I was in law school.

Chris (33:30):

Okay. At

Jerry (33:31):

My first job in high school, like most of us, I grew up in Missouri in a small town. I had a yard, you know, service with my best friend and we had our lawnmowers in the back of his truck and we mowed yards. So that was probably my first experience as a having a job.

Chris (33:44):

There you go. And first as an

Jerry (33:46):

Entrepreneur was leaving a 250 person firm to start a law firm with two other guys and being 28 years old and that was pretty exciting. We had metal chairs and, you know, fold up, conference room table and straight out of a movie.

Chris (34:00):

Love it. Well, I can relate to the, a little bit to that, but definitely relate to the mowing yards. That’s what buddy of mine and I did in high school. So, you know, good money then I guess. Okay. Personal preference, Tex-Mex or Barbecue?

Jerry (34:13):

Boy, that’s a tough one. Probably barbecue.

Chris (34:16):

All right. And if you could, uh, take a 30 day sabbatical, where would you go? What would you do?

Jerry (34:21):

You know, this is my two sons who are a senior and sophomore at, uh, university of Texas right now. They called a year ago about this time and said, dad, we’re going to go to Japan. And I was like, okay. And they got on a plane, just the two of ’em went to Japan for three weeks and after hearing that, I kind of wanna do that.

Chris (34:41):

How cool is that? The two of ’em just went and did it on their own,

Jerry (34:44):

Did it on their own, traveled around on trains and backpack and love it. Uh, their experience when they told the stories and went through the pictures. I mean, it’s just a really cool culture. I’d like to go experience that.

Chris (34:57):

Okay. Jerry, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to come on. It’s hard to believe that, you know, I don’t, I’m not gonna add the numbers of it. We met at SMU and, and as undergraduates went to law school together, so we had a lot of years together. So it’s great to see where you are today and, and, and what you’re doing. So proud of you,

Jerry (35:14):

Man. I appreciate that. And the same back at you. We’ve, I’ve followed you your whole career and super, super proud of you, what kind of legal person you are and lawyer and leader and everything you’re about. So appreciate you having me on and proud of you too, my man.

Chris (35:28):

Alright, we’ll do it again. We’ll find a reason to do it again sometime soon.

Jerry (35:30):

Awesome. Sounds good.

Chris (40:14):

And there we have it. Another great episode. Don’t forget to check out the show notes at and you can find out more about all the ways our firm can help you at That’s it for this episode. Have a great week and we’ll talk to you next time.

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