Weichert: A Family of Companies, With the Emphasis on Family
If Jim Weichert was able to build a single Chatham, N.J., sales office into one of the country’s largest privately owned real estate companies, imagine what two Jim Weicherts can do. Since James Jr.—no one actually calls him Jim—joined his father as co-president of the Weichert Family of Companies three years ago, he is taking the family business to a new level.
“It brings me great pride and pleasure to work side by side with James,” says Jim Weichert. “His astute business sense and strategic outlook continue to provide an important, forward-looking perspective to our operations throughout the company, all while maintaining the personal feel of a family-owned business.”
Like his dad, James began his career as a real estate sales associate; in his case, in Weichert’s Jersey City/Exchange Place office. Since then, he has served in a number of increasingly important and strategic positions throughout the organization. First, he joined Weichert New Homes, where he significantly increased its representation of larger, urban-oriented residential developments. In his next role as a regional vice president, James successfully oversaw the management and operations of Weichert sales offices. Subsequently, he worked in the office of the chief financial officer, where he gained a deeper understanding of the company’s internal operations, and also led the company’s efforts to identify and develop future sales leaders, dramatically increasing the depth of the company’s management team.
From the beginning, though, James prepared for his current position by shadowing his father for at least one day each week. That way, while he was learning the dynamics of the business operations that comprise the Weichert Family of Companies, he was also gaining a complete understanding of Jim’s business principles.
“Our company philosophy—and my father’s core business principle from day one—is that people buy people before they buy a product or service,” says James Weichert. “I’m well aware of all the ways technology changes the process by which agents and consumers communicate and access information, and yet, real estate is still a people business. At Weichert, we maintain and modernize our core philosophy by applying technology to strengthen our sales associates in their face-to-face meetings with consumers.”
Perhaps the best example of technology in support of the personal connection is the unique system developed by Weichert’s Internet marketing arm to help sales associates connect with homebuyers and sellers. When buyers express interest in a listing they see on weichert.com, the Weichert Contact Center gets back to them in minutes and immediately transfers them to the mobile phone of a friendly Weichert sales professional in their local market who can help. This is in stark contrast to the industry average of more than 15 hours.
As Weichert, Realtors has grown through opening both new company-owned and franchised sales offices, those local areas now cover nearly 500 markets in 39 states. The brand enjoys such continued expansion due in great part to its ability to partner with and offer more opportunities for sales agents to succeed. Last year alone, Weichert, Realtors added 53 new sales offices and was ranked third among all traditional real estate franchises in the Entrepreneur Franchise 500®.
“As an organization run by Realtors, we know how to grow a real estate company. Our success in attracting entrepreneurial brokers and opening new offices can be attributed to the depth of the programs and systems we can offer,” says Denise Smith, president of Weichert’s Affiliated Services Group. “Under the Weichert banner, our affiliated brokers and sales associates are able to access our tools and resources and use them to provide better service to customers.”
The personal service Weichert extends to prospective buyers isn’t limited to assisting their search for a home. Rather, in recognition of the intricacies involved in purchasing and selling a home, Weichert provides the necessary real estate-related services of mortgage financing, homeowners insurance and title insurance – all under one roof. Currently serving home buyers and sellers in 36 states, Weichert Financial Services leads the way in full service under one roof, supplying mortgage loans and also encompassing both Weichert Insurance Agency and several title insurance companies. By seeking out and contracting with a diverse group of investors, our company is able to provide customers with the most competitive and versatile lending and insurance products available without ever having to leave the Weichert sales office.
The Weichert Family of Companies’ reach doesn’t stop there. Under Chief Operating Officer Aram Minnetian, Weichert also serves the needs of the business community. “We’re always seeking new ways to improve and expand our service as we’ve done, for example, through commercial real estate, corporate housing and our tremendously successful international relocation company, Weichert Workforce Mobility,” says Minnetian.
One of the world’s leading providers of talent deployment solutions, Weichert Workforce Mobility earned more “top block” ratings – scores of 9 or 10 on a ten-point scale – than all other relocation providers in a survey of transferred employees conducted by Trippel Survey & Research LLC. Validation of its focus on and commitment to deliver Legendary Service, Weichert Workforce Mobility has received service satisfaction ratings well above the industry average for four consecutive years.
“Results such as these are a great source of pride for us, especially since they are based on feedback from our customers” says Minnetian. “They confirm our belief that our client service represents a true competitive differentiator.”
Even with all the success that Weichert has achieved by broadening its reach through real estate-related companies, its management remains focused on their core business. According to Carlo Siracusa, head of residential sales, “Our greatest priority is to partner with our residential sales associates to grow their businesses. By offering agents industry-leading training and coaching, superior sales and marketing tools, and lead generation opportunities, we are able to create a ‘Weichert Difference’ that benefits both our sales associates and our customers.”
Looking ahead, Jim and James Weichert couldn’t be more optimistic about the company’s ability to meet the needs of an evolving real estate market and to position Weichert sales associates, managers and franchisees as industry leaders. By establishing a proven blueprint for growth, committing to invest in technology and following the family-owned company’s long-standing operating philosophy of putting people first, both father and son see an incredible opportunity in the years to come.
Since 1969, Weichert, Realtors has grown from a single office into one of the nation’s leading providers of homeownership services by putting its customers first. A family of full-service real estate and financial services companies, Weichert helps customers buy and sell both residential and commercial real estate, and streamlines the delivery of mortgages and home and title insurance. Weichert leverages its customer website, www.weichert.com, one of the most visited real estate websites in the nation, to help families and individuals realize the dream of homeownership through quick and easy access to listing information and the services of its real estate professionals nationwide. Like other family-owned and -operated businesses, Weichert enjoys greater public trust according to several national surveys. For more information, Weichert’s customer service center can be reached at 1-800-USA-SOLD.