Case Studies

Marketplace Homes

Helping Homebuyers Move Affordably for Over 10 Years

Marketplace Homes (MPH) opened its doors in 2002 as a liaison between homebuilders, buyers and renters. Mike Kalis, current CEO of MPH, currently leads a team of nearly 100, making connections across the country with families looking to move out and sell. The company teams up with partner builders to market homes as part of a package, covering the whole move.

“Our business helps sell newly built homes for our partner builders by guaranteeing to lease the new homeowners’ previous homes for at least six years,” Kalis explains. “MPH takes over as the property manager of the former home, marketing it to new residents. We provide the homeowner with a rent payment every month and we handle utilities, maintenance and repairs.”

MPH works with 80 building partners and thousands of clients across the country. “We operate in 20 states,” Kalis notes, “But everyone is in our office in Livonia, Mich.”

It is important to note that Kalis has a background in real estate. When the housing bubble burst in the mid-2000s, he saw serious value in the services MPH was able to provide. He joined the company in 2007 and purchased the business a year later. Under his leadership, the business has expanded into dozens of new markets and boosted revenue by 1,700 percent.

Specialty Services

MPH operates primarily as a brokerage firm. Kalis estimates his team will sell 1,400 new construction homes in 2013. The major difference between MPH and other brokers, however, is the guarantee that comes with their homes.

“Our program allows our clients to buy with confidence,” he explains. “They know that either the home will sell or we will lease it for six years and they can buy with no contingency. We has a very efficient system, utilizing iTours of homes, virtual tours that buyers and renters can see online.”

Kalis goes on to note that the company is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ensuring customers are able to contact the team. “Our iTours supplement the current sales staff,” he continues. “Buyers can call into our office and we show homes, even if a person can only come out at 9:00 at night to see the builder’s model. Time kills deals in the real estate industry. Now, we are always rolling. We don’t charge our customers unless there is a purchase.”

A Morphing Market

In a number of growing markets, MPH is making a big impact by changing the way real estate works. “Our number one market is Atlanta,” Kalis notes. “We sell an enormous amount of homes there and do a lot of business with one of our larger builders in that area. That single builder provides us with over 100 transactions yearly. Chicago is another big market for us.”

Kalis explains that the company does approximately 300 transactions in Chicago each year. “Detroit is another growing market,” he elaborates. “We have a smaller presence in markets, such as Columbus, Ohio, parts of Florida and Minneapolis. We just started working with McBride in St. Louis. We sold 25 homes in 90 days with them. The Midwest and Southeast are our strongest areas.”

MPH is experiencing record growth, expecting a 30 to 50 percent increase in volume sales in 2013. In order to maintain this upward dynamic, Kalis and his team are honing in on a few major components of the business.

“One of the biggest challenges with our growth has been understanding the difference between running a company of 30 and acting as CEO of a company three times that size,” he says. “The biggest challenge has been choosing the right management team. We all need to be on the same page as far as internal communication goes.”

According to Kalis, the MPH team is also working on initiatives to boost growth in tough markets. “Detroit has been a difficult region for homebuilders and realtors in recent years,” he says. “We have reinvented the company to learn to grow in markets like this. We are truly solving problems. People just could not sell homes there. We want to offer the best way to move and grow with our clients. Our 1 percent listing program has been a huge part of our growth.”

The 1 percent listing program allows clients who purchase homes from one of MPH’s partners to list their homes at only 1 percent of the asking price. If the house does not sell, the company still guarantees a six-year lease of the home. This allows customers to move with no worries about unloading a previous home. Instead of sitting on the market, empty, MPH locates a buyer or at least renters for the duration.

Continued Growth

MPH has been recognized by a number of agencies and organizations for strong market presence, continued growth and innovation in the housing market. The American Business Awards named MPH Real Estate Company of the Year, while Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, recognized MPH as one of the state’s 50 Companies to Watch. Inc. Magazine also recently listed MPH as the 189th Fastest Growing Company in the United States.

Kalis and his team have their sights set on continued growth. “Our goal right now is to have a 10 percent share of the new construction markets in the places we are in right now,” Kalis explains. “Once we have gotten to that, we would be at a saturation level. No one else targets new construction homes. Most agents have so many listings they cant even sell to builders so this is our niche; we specialize in new construction sales.” With a unique and innovative process, Marketplace Homes will continue to expand into new markets across the United States.

Published on: February 25, 2014

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