Mark Spain has spent more than 20 years in the real estate business. After his time at RE/MAX and Keller Williams, he decided to branch out on his own with an independent brokerage, Mark Spain Real Estate. Opened in January 2016, Spain took the next step to his career and opened in the first office. Now, a little more than two years later, his brokerage has opened its fourth metro Atlanta location as well as locations in North Carolina.
Q: What was it like when you opened up that second location? Were you worried about spreading yourself to thin and is that still a concern now?
Our first office outside of the headquarters was our Athens office. I think any time you’re doing something new and getting out of your comfort zone, it is hard. The first office beyond is always the hardest and the most challenging because it is new systems and processes, but it is a good test. After that, we saw what worked for us. Now it is so much easier because we have the systems, the technology, the infrastructure and hierarchy for leadership. We know the formula and we have a playbook.
Q: Why did you decide to expand beyond Georgia to North Carolina?
For us, we look for markets that have a certain sales price, markets that have a growing population, markets that are close to us. It is only a three and a half hour drive to Charlotte. We don’t want to go San Francisco. The next market in late summer will be Nashville. These are all fast growing population basis in the southeast. Orlando and Tampa we are hoping will be later in 2019. Once we are in cities, we initially want populations to be 2 million or higher, and then we look at the smaller tertiary markets as the next step.
Q: You’ve also been recognized by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as one of the top workplaces in Atlanta. What type of culture do you promote at your company? Was that always a priority for you when starting your own company?
It’s always a culture of excellence, but the first piece of our mission statement is that our people come first. I’m very passionate about people: about our customers, employees, agents, but I’m also always about excellence. How do we get up every day and make ourselves better? We work to become the best version of ourselves and we treat our customers the same way and it creates a snowball.
We’re also a learning-based culture. We always try to hire people with a servant’s heart. We also like to have fun. You spend the bulk of your waking hours at work so you should do it with people you like. Our employees know that I’m intense and love to win. I will push them hard, but I’ll do anything for them. I love our people, but I will also push them to the next level. My goal at our company is that whether you spend a year here, five years or 10 years or more, you leave here as a better person. That’s why god put us on this earth, is to help others.
Q: You’ve also begun focusing a lot on doing charitable work? Was that always part of what you do?
We got plugged into it over the last five years and really got into high gear with volunteer work within the last two to three year.
It is easy to live in a bubble because you drive down the major roads and think that things are nice. But there are people in need. My heart is always with children because children don’t have a choice in what environment they’re born into. So for me and my company, if we can provide kids with the opportunity for success, that’s what we want to do. We recently did spinforthekids.org where you spin bikes for four hours and we raised money to send 250 kids to summer camp.
Q: What are your plans for the company in the future?
We are looking to open a second location in Newnan, Georgia, and begin to develop a footprint in the southeastern part of the state. We’re also looking to hit those major market like Orlando and Tampa and then expand. The goal is to have 15 to 20 locations open up in the next 24 months.
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