At MG Group, we pride ourself on our exceptional service and our unrelenting dedication; our leadership is a huge part of making it happen. Since 2011, Haakon Knutson, our Director of Sales, has been integral to streamlining our process and strengthening our team. Recently, Haakon reflected back on his time at MG Group and what he’s learned along the way:
How did you get involved in the real estate business?
Right out of college, I worked for a large advertising agency primarily doing print production. After the “.com” bubble burst, I went back to grad school and realized law school was a better fit. After practicing law day-to-day, I made my way to property management. I liked it, but the business itself was acrimonious. I slowly transitioned to the brokerage side of management, and through a mutual attorney friend, I met Mario about nine years ago.
What have you learned from your time at MG?
Everything from the right way to list properties, how to sell properties and how to navigate transactions. I had my license for about three years, but wasn’t really practicing residential real estate. When I started with MG Group, it was a completely different approach from how I had been taught. It was a unique team-centric process. The real estate market had just crashed the previous year, so I started at an interesting time. Those same lessons are definitely applicable to this year; in our business, you can’t control the market. All you can control is your market share.
What keeps you passionate about what you do?
The relationships and people. I used to practice transactional law, which had its interesting aspects, but for the most part, it was moving paper around. The work I now do is real, tangible — properties, people and relationships. I love working with my clients and the feeling is mutual. Most of the time, buying and selling a property comes with exciting life changes and I get to help people move on to a new chapter in life.
In your opinion, how does MG Group stand out from other teams, in the Chicago area or even nationwide?
First, I think we attract exceptionally intelligent, hard-working and emotionally-adept people. Our business is relationship-based; many can get a real estate license, but few can actually make those connections. Our team is great at building that confidence that we have the emotional fortitude and skill set to list, sell, negotiate and get a property across the finish line.
Second, our process: from A to Z, everything in our group has a flow chart. We aren’t locked into a set pattern, but at the same time, we have rock solid processes that lend structure and discipline to the experience for our clients — every listing we have will have great photos, marketing, print materials, etc. And I think clients back that up. The feedback is always that we have flawless communication and that we’re always accessible.
What accomplishments are you most proud of at MG Group?
I’m proud of personal accomplishments and the volume of business I’ve booked over the past nine years, how I’ve grown my portfolio and handled a wide range of transactions. I think I’ve explored a number of areas that many agents disregard, and a lot of that is with the support of the team.
As far as MG Group as a whole, I’m proud of my role in developing and creating a sales team. When I first started, we only had a few agents and we’ve grown in both numbers and efficiency. We’re a cohesive group with an average tenure of four to five years, which is pretty unheard of in our industry. It’s a testament to how we manage and train our agents, and to how talented our agents are. It’s been a lot of fun watching our sales people take what we’ve given them and turn it into an impressive business.
What trends are you seeing in the Chicago residential market that are most interesting these days?
The migration patterns of people living in downtown are interesting to watch. Many downtown selling points, like proximity to the parks, lakefront and events, are gone. That’s been a challenge; no one saw COVID-19 coming, and we’re hoping it’s a short-lived issue. Ultimately, my job is to explain what’s happening in the market to our clients. I would be lying if I said I knew what the next six months will bring and I’m very candid about that. But all of us at MG Group value transparency and honesty, something that’s even more important to people right now.
We’re incredibly proud of our group of dedicated, passionate people. Stay tuned for more team member spotlights on the Home. Made.™ Blog!