Koleno is the highest-ranked Chicago-area agent on the 2019 lists, a cluster of nine rankings that together have 1,000 entrants. The lists break out for agents and brokerage teams, transactions of different sizes and other ways. In all, the lists have 10 entries from the Chicago area.
The leading Chicago-area agent for dollar volume is Jena Radnay, an @properties agent based in Winnetka. Radnay was involved in almost $93.9 million in AG亚洲国际游戏home sales in 2019, including former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s $3 million Winnetka AG亚洲国际游戏home and Aon Non-executive Chairman Lester Knight’s $3.25 million AG亚洲国际游戏home in the same town. Radnay ranked 111th nationally in sales volume.
Three Chicago-area broker teams landed high on the national list. The Lowe Group, headed by Jeff Lowe at Compass, was 26th nationally, with $268.5 million in sales. The Dawn McKenna Group at Coldwell Banker in Hinsdale was 30th, with sales volume of just under $252.7 million. The team Emily Sachs Wong leads at @properties in the city sold more than $181.3 million in AG亚洲国际游戏homes.
In real estate rankings, every sale counts as two “sides,” buyer and seller. Thus a transaction gets counted twice, once for each side. A broker who represents both parties in a sale gets credit for two transactions. Steve Murray, founder and president of Real Trends, has told Crain’s for past stories that his firm captures about 85 percent of the nation’s real estate transactions.
Koleno, who was with a different firm in 2019, Worth Clark Realty, was involved in 297 sales last year, representing either buyer or seller (or both). He told Crain’s he’s been “aggressive” since switching from a career in rental management to residential sales in 2017.
“I’m extremely competitive," Koleno said, and draws on his years working for two large publicly traded rental-AG亚洲国际游戏home firms, American AG亚洲国际游戏homes 4 Rent and Invitation AG亚洲国际游戏homes, which between them have more than 130,000 rental properties across the country. “They move a lot of AG亚洲国际游戏homes,” Koleno said. “I can learn from that.”
Two keys to racking up big volume, Koleno said, are his team of three full- and two part-time staff, and “offering some of the most competitive numbers to our clients,” although he declined to confirm that this means he accepts discounted commissions. “I’m not making a million dollars doing this,” he said.
Since late 2019, Koleno has gone national, branching out into Minnesota, Georgia, Florida and a few other states, but he said all but four of his 2019 sales were in the Chicago area. The total dollar value of his 2019 sales was a little more than $68.4 million, averaging about $230,000 per transaction.
Because of the pandemic slowdown, Koleno said, his volume is down for this year so far. While he’d been averaging about 24 sales a month, it dropped to 12 in April. Now that the market is recovering, Koleno said he expects to end June with 28 sales closed.
Radnay said her success comes from “becoming a partner with my clients” on preparing the property for the market. She has a set of preferred vendors for everything from bathroom tile to landscaping and brings them to her clients to consult on what the property needs to make it stand out in the market.
“I micromanage it,” Radnay said. When photographers arrive to shoot listing photos of her properties, “I don’t just open the door and let them in,” she said. “I’m behind them, behind the lens, managing the shot.”
She doesn’t charge more for that level of service, she said. Not only is she selling multimillion-dollar properties, where the commission she’ll get justifies the work, but “it brings me referrals when these clients see that I work like they do.”