Huff Realty of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati helped create Real Living Inc. in 2002, then the two parted ways last year. At that time, Huff President Scott Schilling said in published reports that other Real Living board members were focusing on expansion in other states, while Huff wanted to concentrate on growth here.

Now Real Living"”which now claims to be the largest independently owned residential real estate firm in the Midwest"”has signaled its intent to compete in the Tristate with the recent opening of a new office at 4990 E. Galbraith Rd. The company says this Kenwood office will be a prototype for others as it continues its speedy franchising pace. Real Living engaged an "environmental branding" firm to create a comfy "living room" feel in its new offices, which will have either an urban, rural or suburban feel, as seen at the Kenwood location.
"Now clients will walk into a living room complete with warm colors, cozy rugs, sofas and photo collages," says Clyde Corle, Real Living's vice president and general manager of the Southwest Ohio region.

But that's no mask for Real Living's aggressive staff recruiting and techno-savvy approach to sales. At 2005's close, the firm reported it had 2,160 sales staff, 65 offices and $6.27 billion in annual sales. By August, it reported nearly 4,000 sales staff, 130 offices in 10 states and $8 billion in annual sales. The company now operates in 10 states. Realtor magazine ranks it No. 4 nationwide in transactions.

Real Living has approximately 30 agents working from the Kenwood office, plus close to 100 working locally in four franchise offices in Greater Cincinnati. "We're thrilled with the growth there," says CEO Harley E. Rouda Jr., who is based in Columbus. Rouda says Real Living's growth strategy here includes startups, more franchises and, "if we can find the right partners," acquisition of smaller real estate firms.
The company entered the tough Chicago market a year ago and now has five offices, with five more opening in the next six months, Rouda notes. Real Living also is growing with online technology, he adds, with a web site generating 1.2 million unique visits per month, and new features such as allowing users to search properties by home builders.

Audrey Masson is the manager of the new Kenwood office. Judy Pogue of Cincinnati, Real Living's national president of Relocation Services, will be based there.

H. John Kramer, co-owner of the Kramer & Kramer auctioneer and real estate firm in Eaton, Ohio, was elected to the National Auctioneers Association Board of Directors at its national meeting. He is the youngest person to be inducted into the Ohio Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame.

Huff Realty is by no means idling. Huff, a member of giant HomeServices of America, has merged Howell Realty into its operations. Howell has been a fixture in the Hamilton, Fairfield and Oxford areas for 30 years. Michael Howell, son of company founder John Howell, said the merger combines his firm's personalized customer service with an agency that offers mortgage, title and insurance services under one roof.

Colleen Quinn has been named senior vice president of sales and leasing for Equity Retail Group's Cincinnati office. Her specialty is tenant representation, and leasing and selling shopping centers. A former Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors Top Producer, Quinn is licensed in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
People skills go a long way in real estate, but successful agents also set financial goals and mind their bottom lines. The Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors is offering Bookkeeping Boot Camp on October 19. Refresh yourself on tracking assets and liabilities, controlling expenses, doing basic bookkeeping and calculating self-employment taxes. It's free.

Thirty-three Greater Cincinnati real estate professionals won 2006 Pinnacle of Performance Awards from the Ohio Association of Realtors. The award is the state association's highest honor for sales volume performance. Pinnacle winners were: Ogle Annett, Julie K. Back, Guy W. Cagney, Celia Carroll, Susan K. Conway, Gail Coughlin, Rick Finn, Casey Gilmore, Carol Harris, Michael Hinckley, Chip Hunter, Mary E. Iliff, Phyllis Jones, Gary Keeshan, Kathy Kramer, Sue S. Lewis, Jeri '™Brien-Lofgren, Sandra Peters, Kathleen Prangley, Rakesh Ram, Judy Recker, Jean M. Rieder, Lee G. Robinson, Judy A. Schlotman, Christine Schoonover, Mark Schupp, Vivian Schwab, Tom Singer, Gerri Strauss, Diane Tafuri, Pamela Thomas, Gayle Tipp and Darlene Todd.

Downtown Cincinnati Inc. co-sponsored a summer condo tour for 89 agents that opened a lot of eyes to renovation and new construction under way in the urban core. Theresa Alexander of Group, Realtors in Finneytown was blown away by stunning views at Keys Hill and Park Place Condominiums in Mount Auburn. Adam Sanregret of Coldwell Banker West Shell liked what he saw at the contemporary model of The Edge, the Sky Loft LLC project at East Third and Culvert. Marlene Burkhart of Huff Realty in Florence said the tour of eight developments gave her priceless inventory knowledge. "I've sold everywhere else in Cincinnati. Now I feel comfortable selling downtown," she remarked.

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