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The Real Deal - Chicago Real Estate News

“There’s no “I” in team: Top resi brokers staff up amid growing competition”

by Joe Ward, October 3, 2018

Leigh & Lindsey Marcus

Leigh & Lindsey Marcus


Just before the recession hit, Leigh Marcus joined the family business. His wife, Lindsey, had been a broker for a few years, and already had an assistant.

Slowly, the two began to build their business, and by 2012, their team’s sales volume hit $50 million. They shuffled responsibilities, with Lindsey working on marketing, long-term growth and office administration, and Leigh focusing on sales as the lead agent.

That year, Lindsey added two more staffers, looking ahead as the team continued to build.

“I kept growing things more and more,” she said. “It freed up our time. There was no bottleneck in terms of time or bandwidth.”

The couple now has five people working for them; Lindsey’s brother-in-law is the brokerage’s buyer’s agent while Leigh focuses on listings.

Building up a team was important, but Leigh said he prefers to keep it small, which helps him maintain their level of customer service and personal branding.

“When you generate business, when you are in touch with your clients, you don’t have to depend on a bunch of agents to grow your business.”

Instead, the couple has cultivated a small staff and has branded themselves as a family-friendly brokerage. They opened an office in Roscoe Village, where the couple lives with their young children. The team bakes pies for clients around the holidays and rents a branded ice-cream truck to pass out free treats to families at school fundraisers and park events, all Lindsey’s ideas.

Leigh said he has grown into his role as a team leader, something that is needed if the team is to succeed.

“I would say it’s the most difficult thing,” Leigh said of being a boss. “I think that’s what stops 99 percent of agents from growing. If it was so easy to be a boss and manage, I think a lot of agents would do a lot more business.”

The office structure appears to work for Leigh, who last year handled $140 million in total volume. It has also afforded he and his wife a certain quality of life that keeps his young family close by.

A team “allows you to give better service,” he said. “Or be committed to your family. We have three kids, I want to spend time with them and be a good father. A team allows that to happen.”

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