A football coach and a veteran of the U.S. Marines and the real estate industry, Casey Samson likes to win. His commitment to being the best led his Vienna, Virginia-based team, The Casey Samson Team a spot in the 2023 RealTrends America’s Best Rankings after his team recorded 147 transaction sides and a sales volume of $158.225 million in 2022.
RealTrends recently caught up with Casey Samson to discuss his philosophy on real estate teams.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Brooklee Han: Can you tell me a bit about how you got into the real estate industry?
Casey Samson: I had just gotten out of the Marines, and I was going to college, but I really liked real estate. My mom was in real estate, and I just always thought that I could do it part-time or something, so I started in real estate while I was in college. One of the clients I was working with was a lawyer with a CPA and I had to look at his financial statement and I was already making more a year than he was, so I decided to just dive right into it. All the classes I took in college were based on what I felt could help me the most in real estate. I don’t know if it was the best decision, but at the time it was a very easy one to make.
BH: Growing up with a parent in the industry did you get a lot of hands-on real estate experience as a child?
Samson: My take on real estate has always been from a business standpoint. If you can price it right, get it in the right condition, market it correctly, do the predictive analysis you’ll be good. I just like the business aspect of it and I always thought that was something I could do.
BH: Can you tell me a bit about the journey from starting as a solo agent to deciding to start your own team?
Samson: I was an agent from 1981 to 1987 and then I started and ran my own brokerage office in 1987. When I started my own company, I started depending on others to do the work and I don’t like babysitting. I like the sales part of it and working with people and working on deals. In the early 90s I got heavily involved with the internet and email and I started matching clients with mortgage bankers based on what interest rate they could give them, so I spent the 90s more on the marketing and technology side of things with figuring out how to utilize the internet. So, in 2005 I decided to just get back into real estate as an agent and I didn’t want a team because I didn’t want to babysit. But my daughter got involved and she was really helpful and then my brother and then my other daughter and a team just kind of formed. I didn’t want it but it just happened organically and we found that it was a great combination of my experience and their taste. I’m 65 and what I think looks good or what I want in a home isn’t what a 32-year-old with three kids wants and that is where my daughter comes in because she has that eye for what the younger generations want. So, they prep all the houses and then I price the homes and I have a great marketing team that gets the listings out there. We go ‘coming soon’ for seven days and the new read all the analytics of how many people look at the home online and favorite it and then I call the seller and if it isn’t getting a lot of traffic I suggest we drop the price before we launch and then we always get multiple offers that usually end up higher than the original coming soon price.
BH: It definitely seems like you are the numbers and the listing specialist on for your team. Do your team members specialize in any way or does everyone kind of do everything?
Samson: The six agents that work for me also work with buyers. They might help me prepare homes but they are primarily buyers agents.
BH: As your team has formed, what have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced?
Samson: There is a saying that a parent is only as happy as their most unhappy child, so I am only as happy as my most unhappy agent. Usually that is the one that feels like they are lagging behind, so I then go in and help them increase their sales pipeline and help find them a few more deals. But we usually have no disagreements because when it comes to pricing my son and I are both the pricing guys, and when it comes to preparing the homes for list I stay out of it and then the marketing takes care of itself and when the contracts come in after the launch it is very smooth. The only problem we currently have is trying to figure out how to expand the team — how can you take the protocols and pricing strategies we have and expand that elsewhere.
BH: What is your best piece of advice for an agent looking to start their own team?
Samson: The main thing I would tell anybody is that you can’t leave the playing field. You can’t just be a manager of people because then you are no longer a realtor, you are just running a business. I think when people just manage agents, they lose touch with the market conditions. So, I don’t believe in large teams. I think quality is far more important than quantity.
BH: What has kept you in the real estate industry all these years?
Samson: Everyday is exciting. Markets move and we need to move with them. There is new technology, new systems. It is just amazing. I don’t know how many times I say, ‘I can’t believe I am 65 years old and I didn’t know that.’ I try to learn something new all the time and implement it into the business.
I’m a football coach, and I like to win and win big, so I kind of this exact same way that it is a competition for listings and a competition for getting houses sold. Selling a home the first weekend out at $100,000 over asking, that is a big win for me and that is what I try to do every weekend.