TUPELO • Since entering the real estate industry in April 2002, Keith Henley has been quite successful. Having been a multi-million-dollar producer several times, the Realtor was happy at what he was doing and where he was doing it.
But like many entrepreneurs looking to go out on their own, he was looking at the right opportunity.
And that happened late last year when he became broker/owner of REMAX Elite.
“I had been approached by REMAX twice before about opening an office, but the timing wasn’t right,” he said. “I was very comfortable where I was, but they say when you’re comfortable you’re not growing. So I felt like I was ready for a challenge.”
With Realtor Blake Trehern on board since 2016, the two found a historic building on North Gloster Street, next to Strange Brew Coffeehouse. The building, formerly a dentist’s office, was built in 1936 and was in poor shape.
It’s now been completed renovated, with room for additional Realtors.
“It was in great disrepair, having been vacant for several years,” Henley said.
While cleaning out the attic and other rooms, they found dental records dating to the 1950s and ’60s, as well as old X-ray machines.
As for the move to REMAX, Henley said he was quite familiar with it and knew many with the company, including an old college roommate.
“They have a different approach to business,” he said, noting that REMAX is the largest realty company in the world.
Trehern, who graduated from Mississippi State in 2016, and Henley make a good team as well, having been the top-producing team in Northeast Mississippi.
Both say the real estate market in the region is strong, with no signs of letting up anytime soon.
“The biggest challenge is inventory, but that’s nationally as well,” Trehern said. “There are fewer builders today ... there’s fewer spec houses being built and more custom-built homes.”
Henley estimates there are about a third fewer new home builders today than a decade ago when the Great Recession hit. And with the growth in custom-built homes, compounded with a tight inventory, the prices of homes have jumped.
But the housing market is still hot, and Henley and Trehern say they’re positioned for growth at their office now that the system is in place to complete real estate transactions for listing to closing.
Now with four agents and an office manager, REMAX Elite is looking to add 12-15 more Realtors.
“We’re excited where we’ve been and where we’re headed,” Henley said.