In a Recent Interview with the Milwaukee Journal...
Agent Recruited into His Life’s Work
By Robert Warde
April 21, 2013
Chris Fleege started in commercial real estate about 20 years ago. He
answered a blind classified ad about investment real estate, meeting
with a broker who encouraged him to get his license. “The broker who
brought me in had a brother who was selling speculative homes and I
placed my license with him, learned the residential side and have been
selling homes ever since,” he said. Fleege discusses his career in real
estate in this edited interview.
What do you enjoy about selling real estate?
Over the last 20 years, there have been a lot of ups and downs. The
thing that has kept me in the business has been that passion for meeting
new people and helping them achieve the American Dream of owning their
own little piece of the pie.
What do you consider to be your biggest challenge?
The changing market and working with a lot of people who are in
distressed situations has been my biggest challenge. A lot of people are
still under water with their mortgages, and I am helping them get out
from under that. You get a lot more drawn in on the personal side and
sometimes feel more like a counselor than a realtor. That has been a
What have you done differently during the downturn?
You have to be constantly reeducating yourself on new business practices
and having the right tools to overcome the challenges of today’s
market. I have always done a lot of work with first-time homebuyers, and
there is a lot of joy with those transactions.
What makes you different as a real estate agent?
I pride myself on the personal service I provide to all my customers. I
am a seven-days-a-week realtor. I recognize just what a big deal buying
and selling real estate is, and the importance of homeownership as a
whole. I treat my clients like they are my family. I build lifelong
business relationships. The company sends surveys at the end of the
transaction and my marks are high, so I feel good about that at the end
of the day.
What qualities make for a good realtor?
A good realtor has to be very sensitive to people’s needs. There is a
very large emotional tie to every transaction, and you have to recognize
there are a lot of feelings involved.
Tell me about the condition of the worst house you had to li
One of the houses in the worst condition that I tried to show was a
duplex a couple of years ago. I was trying to show it to a client. We
started on the second floor of this foreclosure property. There was
major freeze damage and some buckled floors. On the first floor there
was ice on the walls. When we turned to the basement, the entire
basement was a solid block of ice up to the second stair.
What do you believe are the more challenging deals?
Coldwell Banker is a specialist in relocation real estate, and we had
some difficult ones there. People are moving and, in the challenging
market, the numbers are never what people would like them to be. I have
been to at least three or four transactions in the past 18 months where
we had challenges with value and appraisals. Emotions can run very high
in those situations.
Have you had any mentors?
The first broker who brought me into the business certainly was a mentor
and provided a lot of insight into the mechanics of the real estate
transaction. When I moved to my second company, that broker was really
the driving force as far as teaching me the nuts and bolts of the
business. He taught me all that would lead to success.
What is the most important advice you have been given?
The most important advice was: Keep showing up and good things will happen.
What do you do for recreation or to relax?
I have a 14-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son, and the time when I
am trying to unwind is when I am with my family. Most of the time we
are chasing with the kids from one activity to the next.
What charitable groups do you work with?
do support Coldwell Banker’s charitable foundation. They do a lot of
good work for housing-related charities. They recently made a large
donation to the Ronald McDonald House.