Andrew Hauck learned everything he knows about real estate from his mom. As the broker/co-owner of CENTURY 21 Signature Realty in Saginaw, Michigan, Andrew started selling real estate with her when he was just 21 years old and still in college.
Today, his brokerage boasts 10 offices serving Saginaw, Midland, Bay and Genesee Counties in Central Michigan near Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay and based on transaction volume, CENTURY 21® franchise affiliate in Michigan in 2021.
Destined to Close Deals
The son of CENTURY 21 affiliated agent Jan Hauck, Andrew grew up watching his mom show houses, take calls and negotiate deals. You couldn’t miss what his mom did for a living – bulky MLS books stacked in the closets, For Sale signs leaned against the wall, and everyone knew there was no talking or horsing around when she was on the phone. Yet despite the 70 hours she dedicated to her business each week, she was always at his games and school events and was there to pick him up from school every day
Fast forward to college, Andrew studied business with plans of going into management consulting. About half-way through, he realized that a real estate business could be more lucrative and rewarding, so he decided to follow in his mom’s footsteps. Between finance and macroeconomics classes, Andrew earned his real estate license and started gaining real-world experience, learning the importance of providing exceptional experiences to his clients. By the time he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics, he’d already helped clients purchase and sell several properties.
After a few years, Andrew went back and earned an MBA to shore up his credentials. “There weren’t many 25-year-old agents who already owned their own house and had five years of experience, so that helped with my credibility. It was even more valuable when I became a broker-owner.”
The CENTURY 21 Brand Can Open Doors
He’s been a loyal CENTURY 21 affiliated agent from the start. His mother started the brokerage as an affiliate of Century 21 Real Estate LLC in 2005 with two partners, Ken Kujawa and Dr. Sam Shaheen. In early 2019, Andrew purchased his mother’s stake in the brokerage and took over operations while she returned to sales.
As a new broker/owner, his mom cautioned him to never underestimate the importance of empathy, camaraderie and a building agents can call home. He knew that to be successful in real estate, you had to play an active role in the community. So, at a time when many brokerages were cutting costs and closing offices, Andrew made his offices a cultural cornerstone.
“We operate in smaller markets, where it’s so important to be visible and active in the community. For us, it’s just part of our culture. Our offices are involved in local events, from pet adoptions and fundraisers to parades. We look for opportunities where we can really get involved, not just slap our logo on a program.”
He says the national name recognition of the CENTURY 21 brand has given the brokerage a huge advantage, especially in Michigan where the brand has had a presence since its founding in the ‘70s. “The CENTURY 21 brand is the most recognized and respected name in real estate*, so we never have to explain who we are. We can focus on our value proposition, which makes everything so much easier.”
Not a ‘status quo’ kind of guy, Andrew is relentless in looking for what’s next, what else the brokerage can do to differentiate itself and take it to the next level. That’s another reason why he appreciates the CENTURY 21 brand. “They’ve always been very proactive in helping brokers achieve their business goals and willing to evolve. As a broker, that’s how I approach my own business, so that’s always been a great value to me.”
Mom’s Greatest Lesson
While Andrew is the first to say he learned everything he knows about real estate from his mom, he says the most important thing he learned from her was professionalism. “From the minute she became an agent, she was nothing but professional. I’ve seen too many treat it like a hobby or just a side gig, but to her, it’s always been a serious commitment to deliver extraordinary experiences.”
This professionalism is one of the biggest challenges Andrew sees brokers facing today. “When you only focus on money – how many deals you’re making and for how much – you lose sight of what’s most important, and that’s helping people. Real estate is about improving the lives of agents and helping communities. Professionalism means providing mentoring, oversight and accountability. If you don’t, things can get sloppy, mistakes are made and deals fall through.”
Andrew says that’s why his brokerage is selective in the agents they choose to affiliate, seeking professionals who want to learn and serve their community.
Focusing on Agents, First
Despite serving relatively small communities across Central Michigan, CENTURY 21 Signature Realty has earned a spot on the Real Trends 500 list every year since 2018, which ranks the top brokerages nationwide. It’s also the only Real Trends 500 company in the Great Lakes Bay region, a fact Andrew attributes in part to his mergers and acquisitions strategy – the brokerage has completed three in as many years with another in the works.
“The CENTURY 21 brand is an enormous help during the search and discovery phase by assisting with local market conditions, verifying brokerage and agent data, and even setting up meetings with potential M&A targets. It also provides resources, assistance and personnel to ensure the acquisition is a success.”
When considering other brokerages for mergers and acquisitions, Andrew says it’s very important to only consider companies that share your values and culture. CENTURY 21 Signature Realty has an “agents first” approach.
“We’re here to work for the agents, not the other way around. We offer constant support, celebrate their successes, and hold high standards and morals. It’s about sharing and caring. It’s about trusting each other and working as a team. If a potential M&A doesn’t share these values, I’ll walk away. It’s not worth diluting our culture.”
Andrew says most brokers struggle with something – it might be mentoring agents, marketing, name recognition or a lack of tools. When speaking with a potential acquisition, Andrew’s team digs to identify what’s missing and how CENTURY 21 Signature Realty could make a difference on day one.
“A lot of broker-owners are wearing too many hats. They cut the checks, input data, deal with difficult closings, handle marketing. But you can’t do it all well. That’s why we’ve built a strong support team, so our leaders can focus on providing agent learning and coaching opportunities.”
Just as important as sealing the deal on an acquisition is on-boarding the agents, teaching them about all the new tools and programs they can access through the CENTURY 21 brand, and bringing them into the culture. That’s an area where Andrew says he and his partners really excel. New agents start out with a 30-day mentoring program to learn the ropes, and both new and experienced agents are enrolled in CENTURY 21 University® courses to expand their skills and learn about all the available resources.
So, four years after he took the helm, what does mom think about his real estate business?
“I think she’s very proud. She sees how hard I work and how much goes into it. But I also think she misses her real estate partner, since she’s still out there listing and selling but I’m more focused on the operations side of things now. We were a great team!”
*2021 Ad Tracking Study. The survey results are based on 1,200 online interviews with a national random sample of adults (ages 18+) who are equal decision makers in real estate transactions and active in the real estate market (bought or sold a home within the past two years or, plan to purchase or sell a home within the next two years). Brand awareness question based on a sample of 1,200 respondents. Results are significant at a 90% confidence level, with a margin of error of +/-2.4%. Recognition question based on consumers aware of brand in question. Results are significant at a 90% confidence level, with a margin of error of +/- 2.4%. The study was conducted by Kantar Group Limited (formerly Millward Brown), a leading global market research organization, from November 9-27, 2021.
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