About Phoenix Area Realtors

Percey Matthews Century 21 BrokerIf you have ever seen the Discovery Channel show “The Deadliest Catch,” you get a pretty good idea of how Percy Matthews, owner/broker of CENTURY 21 Towne & Country, developed his tough work ethic. Joining a fishing fleet in his early 20s, Percy— who grew up in the San Juan Islands off Puget Sound—spent eight to nine months a year working 20-hour days in brutal conditions. “There were times we were in temperatures that were 50, 60 degrees below with wind chill factors,” Percy recalls. Oh, and don’t forget the freezing spray and often 40-foot waves.

To get away from that bitter weather, Percy and his wife, Tracee, would come to Phoenix, where her parents lived, and a place where Percy knew he was pretty much guaranteed to find sun and warmth. So when Percy decided it was time to leave fishing after 12 long years, he and Tracee relocated to Phoenix.

Having bought investment properties during his years at sea, Percy now had time to learn more about real estate, so he got his license. Then he decided to make it his career. “It was the only other field I could go into that, with hard work, I could immediately see the same kind of income as I had in fishing,” Percy says. In 1993 he joined CENTURY 21. He left there in 1998 and moved to Keller Williams Legacy One Realty where he stayed four years and was its top listing agent in 2002. Percy decided it was time to branch out so he and Tracee founded their own agency, before franchising their current CENTURY 21 office this year. The decision to go with CENTURY 21 was easy. They are the world’s largest with over 150,000 agents in 50 countries and so the opportunities seemed endless. Whether you are from Paris, France, New York City or a small town in the Midwest, you have most likely heard of CENTURY 21. “If I was going to buy a franchise, I wanted the full bang for the buck.” Percy says. “Their name brand power gave us the opportunity to get our foot in the door.”

Now that Percy’s foot is securely in, he has changed doors and recently opened a beautiful, state-of-the art office. “We built our office to be a first-class facility and bring a newness back to CENTURY 21,” Tracee, who is the company’s recruiting and relocation director, says. The 7,000 square-foot facility has over 22 suites, an elevated conference room, two auxiliary conference rooms and a grand reception area that features a 20-foot high water wall. It is definitely meant to make an impression. “If you’re asking a client to spend tens of thousands of dollars to represent them on the real estate transaction, then your office is indirectly representing their property as well,” Percy says. “It needs to be a facility your sellers will be proud of, to have you represent them.” Percy’s goal, and that of his growing business, is to exceed CENTURY 21’s expectations with first class service and representation. This facility is a great step towards doing that.

It is an office, Percy believes, where not only clients, but agents will want to come. He is currently in the process of recruiting more agents, those with “ambition and drive and a work ethic to succeed.” They will have a very supportive office should they choose to join Towne & Country. In addition to Tracee, the company has an office manager, Susan Higgins, who has an extensive realty background and has been on Percy’s team for several years; a transaction manager, Heather Jeffers, as well as an on-site broker in Percy. But, perhaps one of the most impressive benefits for in-coming agents is that Towne & Country is certified to offer Brian Buffini’s 100 Days to Greatness program. It is one of few agencies in the area that has the program, and the only CENTURY 21 office. “We really bring training up a notch with the Brian Buffini program,” Susan says, adding. “Our office is a team approach as far as we’re really interested in the success of everybody.” Percy facilitates the training program in-house, which greatly lowers its cost to his agents. It is a program Percy himself follows and strongly believes in, affirming that agents who have completed the Buffini course this past year averaged 6.1 transactions in a 100-day period. Most average over 30 transactions a year. “There’s not another training program out there that I’ve seen, that can tout these kinds of numbers,” Percy says.

The program is based on working 100 percent by referrals which is not only shown to increase sales, but Percy believes also provides agents a better quality of life. “You’re working with people that you want to work with and people that want to work with you, as opposed to out there chasing cold leads.” Percy explains. “So it automatically increases your quality of life because of your clientele and their commitment to you.” From his viewpoint, the surest way to get clients’ commitments and referrals is simple: provide exceptional service. That means being honest every step of the way, even when it is not the easiest thing to do. And it means having a systematic approach, with well-designed marketing plans and thorough follow-through so everyone is in the loop every step of the way. “If you do a good job for somebody, they may tell three people,” Percy explains, “But if you do a bad job, they’re going to tell 10 people.”

One aspect of doing business that Percy wanted to avoid was having different agents in the same office providing their clients different qualities of material. So Towne & Country developed a Web site that levels the playing field with high standards for everyone. All agents will have access to the same top quality materials so the company can provide a consistency in excellence across the board. The agency also has systems in place to stay on top of their marketing. The $100,000 condo buyer today could be the $1 million home buyer of the future, as Percy notes, so it is essential to stay in touch with past clients. To do that, Towne & Country mails to its database on a monthly basis and contacts each client by phone four times a year.

For Percy, getting and staying on top of the business, comes naturally. He has always been one who likes to be prepared. He has always been fairly systemized, even in his personal life. And has a tremendous work ethic honed from some of the toughest challenges imaginable. He also has a strong belief in his ability to do the job, whatever that is. What he loves about having his own real estate business is the breadth of what it allows him to do. He is business owner, broker, manager, visionary, and teacher.

The possibilities of his work excite him. Sometime in the next 12 months, Towne and Country will be expanding into a second office—the CENTURY 21 franchise has already been purchased— and Percy plans to open a third and fourth office within the next five years. He hopes to eventually have a total of about 120 agents. And he is adamant about growing through quality not quantity. He wants the agents who come to work at Towne & Country to have a very disciplined work ethic and share his commitment to exceptional service. And to also understand that having systems in place and doing simple, little, consistent things day in and day out is the best way to generate leads. “When we bring agents in, we want this to be the only company they have to work for,” Percy says. To help assure that, Towne & Country has a much more competitive commission structure that most CENTURY 21 offices, in addition to providing the Buffini program and all the networking benefits of CENTURY 21. “If our agents succeed, then we do,” Tracee says. “It’s a win-win situation for all of us.”

Real Estate FamilyThough real estate is a major part of Percy’s life now, his family is the reason he got out of fishing and into the business 14 years ago. Realizing long hours and months away were not conducive to home life, Percy began looking for a career that would offer the financial benefits he was used to, but with a life that would be suitable to raising a family. Real estate gave him that. Today he and Tracee have two children: son Cade who is 8, and daughter Bailey, 6. It’s important for both of them to have the time for family and their disciplined approach to work allow that. Now when he’s not manning the office, Percy utilizes his leadership skills coaching Cade’s football team.

For most people, getting established in real estate is tough and extremely demanding. But Percy never felt that. It was an easy transition for him. Though the hours were long, they were leagues better than what he had been used to. The work seemed easy compared to fighting the elements fishing on the Bering Sea. “It’s mainly having good systems in place and working hard at it,” he says matter-of-factly.

“He’s very good at what he does, very business-minded and very loyal to the people he has,” Tracee says. One also gets the idea that not much ruffles Percy Matthews, even venturing into his own business. He knows he has dealt with tough situations before and always came out ahead. “You learn,” he says, “that if you’re pushed and you’re dedicated there pretty much isn’t anything you can’t do.” With the growth of CENTURY 21 Towne and Country, he is proving just that.

Visit Century 21 Real Estate Towne and Country which serves Gilbert, Mesa, Apache Junction, Chandler and Queen Creek Arizona now!

Percy Matthews
Charting New Waters with CENTURY 21 Towne and Country
by Virginia Nemmers
photography by Images by Kay & Co.

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