Defying Mediocrity is Game Changing
21 Years with the CENTURY 21® brand
When Jamie Skeen boldly purchased his town’s largest brokerage after fewer than two years as an agent and just two years out of college, some thought he was crazy. But this game-changing move kicked off an illustrious professional path as the broker/owner of CENTURY 21 Legacy in Northeast Tennessee.
In his (quite fittingly) 21st year with the CENTURY 21® brand, it’s no surprise that Jamie has been named to the 2022 RealTrends Game Changers list. Honoring those who have dramatically grown their brokerage in the past five years – a time when the real estate industry was shuttered by a global pandemic and the virtual halting of the economy – Jamie significantly grew his brokerage.
CENTURY 21 Legacy is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Northeast Tennessee, boasting 10 offices that stretch from Athens, just north of Chattanooga through Maryville to Knoxville, the tourist meccas of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Townsend, and up to Greeneville, Johnson City and Kingsport, just south of the Virginia border. A Greeneville native, Jamie is passionate about the local communities and the picturesque mountains, which he explores on his two American Quarter horses.
Starting with just 24 agents in 2003, CENTURY 21 Legacy has skyrocketed to 330 agents. Last year, CENTURY 21 Legacy was the #1 CENTURY 21 company in Tennessee in units, and the #8 CENTURY 21 company in units in the US.
Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to My Business
After acquiring the former CENTURY 21 Billy Williams & Associates, Jamie continued to sell real estate personally while managing his growing brokerage. Just five years into business, the subprime mortgage crisis hit, forcing him to quickly change his priorities. He found the most crucial need was coaching nervous agents on how to handle the challenging market and recession. But in crisis, he found a new purpose. He quit personal production and began devoting all his time to running the brokerage and providing the services, coaching, tools and training agents needed to handle the challenging market and recession. Ensuring agents had the ability to be relentless and succeed became his top priority.
“It was a tough time, but it was probably the best thing that’s ever happened to my business. I realized I couldn’t continue to run a company that size and continue to sell. You get to the point where you ask yourself: am I going to work in my business or on my business? It was a big change in mindset, but I knew I couldn’t do it all and do it well.”
Jamie’s experience has taught him that each market has its own unique set of circumstances. In 2008, inventory was high and sellers were desperate, but there were few buyers. Today, buyers are plentiful but exhausted by the low inventory, and competition for listings is fierce. Despite the two markets being almost complete opposites, the impact on agents can be quite similar.
“Regardless of how the market is performing, agents want the same things — support, services, more leads, better training and a beneficial split.”
That’s when working with the CENTURY 21 brand, the most recognized name in real estate and the most respected brand in the industry* is invaluable. Jamie shows agents how the C21® brand offers quality leads, industry-leading tools that help agents work more efficiently, as well as valuable support and coaching, which agents can use to significantly impact their success. In the end, Jamie knows these resources can position an agent to relentlessly manage any market.
One Big Family
After 21 years with the CENTURY 21 brand – considerable longevity for any broker, but especially one who joined so early in his professional – Jamie says it’s had a tremendous impact on his business.
“It’s like one big family. From the brand team to the brokers, they care and are always willing to help. From day one, I’ve had great learning opportunities and the support to help me succeed as I grew in my profession. I can still call the brand team or other C21 affiliated brokers, and they’re always available to offer advice and answer questions. The C21 brand has given me what I need, and the collaboration has helped me so much.”
Jamie particularly values the sharing culture, especially among the broker/owners. From the start, he focused on building relationships with larger C21 affiliated brokers to ask questions and hear their perspectives on challenges and opportunities. It’s something he continues today, and he also readily passes on what he’s learned to other brokers who are starting out.
Creating a Legacy
Throughout his professional growth, Jamie’s business philosophy has been simple – do the right thing.
“When you focus on doing the right thing for your agents to succeed, consumers will achieve their homeownership dreams. By running a business based on solid ethics, you usually win in the end.”
It’s clear that giving back is baked into the brokerage’s DNA. Jamie created a ”Leaving a Legacy” fund, which enables agents to contribute part of their commissions as a charitable donation, and Jamie matches a portion. At the end of the year, part of the fund is donated to Easterseals by the brokerage — the CENTURY 21 brand has supported Easterseals since 1979. Then each office gets to choose a local community charity to donate the rest of the funds raised, so they make a local impact.
Through this program, CENTURY 21 Legacy is the #1 contributing CENTURY 21 company in Tennessee for Easterseals and has donated more than $200,000 dollars to Easterseals and local charities since 2017.
With CENTURY 21 Legacy’s focus on giving back, you might assume the name CENTURY 21 Legacy was chosen because Jamie wanted to create a legacy of charitable giving. But it was actually inspired by the previous owner.
“Billy Williams was someone I really looked up to. He was one of the first brokers in Tennessee to start a franchise, the president of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS® and was always just the most professional, progressive guy. I saw he was leaving a legacy in our community, the real estate industry and within the CENTURY 21 network, and I wanted to continue that legacy.”
It must be working, because Billy’s son, Mark Williams, remains affiliated with CENTURY 21 Legacy and is a top-producing and CENTURY 21 Hall of Fame agent. “He’s just as solid as his dad, too.”
Jamie has a message to any brokers considering becoming a CENTURY 21 franchisee: “This is probably the number one move you can make for your business. The level of support is incredible, and the tools and systems will make a significant difference.”
Would he ever consider leaving the C21 family? Jamie admits that during one renewal, he did shop around with other brands, and he’s glad that he did.
“It was an important business decision, so I wanted to make sure that I was making the right choice. And what I found just reinforced that I was in the right place. There was no comparison, so I ran back and renewed. I didn’t really realize how far ahead the C21 brand was, until I looked!”