Vitals: HomeSmart First Advantage Realty
Years in Business: 22
Size: 2 offices, 60-plus agents
Region Served: South Jersey
2016 Sales Volume: Approximately $ 50,000,000
2016 Transactions: 600-plus
Working out of his office in Cherry Hill, N.J., Hakan Karahan, president of HomeSmart First Advantage Realty, has been enjoying the real estate life for 23 years and is one of the most respected leaders in the state, ranking as a top-producing agent within a top-producing brokerage for many years.
“I love being out there helping people realize their American Dream of owning a home,” he says. “It feels great to see people when they first purchase their home.”
And Karahan’s commitment to helping others extends far beyond real estate. He came to the U.S. from Turkey as a youngster and started his first business at the age of 13. Another business followed—one he turned into a million-dollar company—and his entrepreneurial spirit has led him to start numerous others, many employing and assisting immigrants from his home country.
Karahan and his agents are extremely involved in charitable work, both in the local community and several countries around the world. One of the organizations has helped build and launch some of the best schools in the U.S., many of which were created in areas where public schooling fell severely short.
Even the new 22,000-square-foot building he recently opened in Cherry Hill includes nearly 7,000 square feet devoted to supporting industry-related companies—and possibly a future school—as he continues to look for ways to help those in need. Karahan adds that the firm has plans to open new offices in both Burlington and Gloucester townships over the next 6-9 months.
“We would like to reach the 300-agent mark by the end of 2018,” he says. “We are also working on the acquisition of several real estate offices in the North Jersey market.”
Karahan prides himself on offering a strong salary and tremendous technology to his agents and bringing them aboard the HomeSmart way.
“We bring agents into our firm and explain why the technology will surpass the traditional model. We have all the tools that will enable us to take this opportunity to the next level,” he says. “Sometimes, agents are cautious jumping on to our concept, so it seems like it will be a slow process, but we actually plan to be very successful in the near future.”
The company offers a great deal of training for its agents, as well as seminars on how to succeed in different areas.
“We hold a first-time buyer’s seminar three times a month in our offices,” says Karahan. “The agents are armed with a lot of knowledge about consumers and their wants and needs. In our seminars, we also educate consumers about buying homes.”
Karahan and his team are also constantly searching for new opportunities in lead generation for the firm’s agents.
“We check the current technologies available that will help differentiate us in the marketplace and implement them into our business model,” Karahan says. “Based on the current technology we have with HomeSmart, we do not need to update much.”
While experienced agents used to traditional real estate models are often hesitant to make the jump to HomeSmart, Karahan says that newer agents are seeing the advantages and maximizing the opportunity.
“Those agents who have been in the business for less than five years see the opportunity with HomeSmart, and those are the agent groups we target,” he explains. “We’d rather improve the agents we have and have them become top producers. Once the agents sign up with HomeSmart, they tend to stay.”
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