Real Estate Agent of the Month Chris Broz

Chris Broz

Still Soaring

By Susan Cushing

Chris Broz has been flying high his whole life. By the tender age of 11, he was catapulting his small frame off man-sized ski jumps. Today, with the same boldness and determination he flies in the face of vacillating markets; changing mortgage rates and any other obstacle, in order to ensure his clients make the sale or purchase of their dreams.

Transitioning from the glamorous and thrilling world of international ski jump competitions is not easy. It can be likened to the jet pilot who suddenly finds himself grounded. For someone like Broz, who has always pushed the envelope seeking greater and tougher challenges, choosing the right career was particularly imposing.

Where does a young man go after he’s literally been to the top of the mountain? Although growing up was anything but typical for the young athlete, the unusual circumstances did offer Broz some valuable experience that has impacted every aspect of his life.

“I knew I could never be a desk jockey,” says Broz. “I just couldn’t go from being a pro-athlete, traveling the world to riding a desk. I think it helped that I knew exactly what I did want and what my own strengths are. I really like people and I’m outgoing and fun. I think I’m creative and have a fun personality, but I’m also very driven and very disciplined. I set goals and make them happen.”

Maturity by necessity came early for Broz. Traveling, lodging and competing with teammates who were young adults when he was still too young to shave; not to mention traveling for weeks at a time far away from family and friends, greatly influenced how the young man handled various circumstances and life in general. Of course, another side-effect from all this traveling and excitement was that Broz always felt revved up, anxious for the next big event. Perhaps even more importantly, he’s always been very receptive and responsive to the help and guidance of those who have gone before.

“I’ve always had coaches and mentors,” he says. “I mean you wouldn’t just thrust yourself off a ski jump. So, when it came to real estate, once again I was lucky. I had a mentor reach out to me and help me find my own path. I was just running a pizza place, and one gentleman became one of my regulars. His name is Doug Malam, and he would come in and say, ‘Hey, it’s Doug, I’ll have the usual.’ I’d have it whipped up for him and out the door he went.

“I guess he liked the service because one day I received a letter from him,” says Broz. “Basically, he’d written, ‘You know, Broz, you’ve got something. You’re good with the customers and you’re well spoken. Would you be interested in interviewing and talking about getting into real estate?’

“The timing couldn’t have been better since I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next,” Broz continues. “So, I met him at the RE/MAX office that was right down the street from where I was living with my parents, and as they say, the rest is history.”

Broz had been one of the youngest members of the U.S. Ski Jump Team, so it’s not really that surprising that he was also among the youngest REALTORS when he started. The year was 2002, Broz was just 21 and the whole country was happily ignorant of the catastrophic crash that was headed our way.

“In looking around at my many options, real estate made a lot of sense to me,” he says. “Malam took me under his wing and helped me discover my own strengths. The bonus is that I get to help wonderful people find their dream homes.”

Beginning any new venture can be difficult; and frequently, newcomers to real estate are discouraged. That was never going to be Broz. Accustomed to hard work and laser-focused determination, he was not going to accept failure. If his mentor suggested holding two open houses a month, Broz did six. Pushing himself to expand not only his knowledge of local real estate but also marketing and solid business practices, he became as much a champion in his new career as he had been on the slopes.

“In some ways, it was the perfect time for someone just starting out in real estate,” says Broz. “It was the ‘glory days’ of real estate when basically you could plop a sign in a yard of a house and it seemed like it sold almost immediately. Of course, I faced some challenges. I was still fine-tuning my skills and building my business, but overall I did quite well.”

OUTSIDE THE BOX

If there were one small, niggling doubt in his mind, Broz was concerned about cultivating his “sphere of influence.”

“Real estate isn’t only what you know, it’s also who you know,” he points out. “Despite the fact that technically, I had been a resident of Eden Prairie since I was 10 years old, I had been on the road a lot. Ultimately, that meant I really did not know a lot of people in town. They might know of or have heard of me, but I had been flying around the globe tackling the next big jump.

“Even if I had a sphere of influence,” he adds, “I couldn’t help but be concerned that people knew me as this young kid – a flashy, risk-taking athlete. Would they really want someone like that helping them with the biggest investment of their life?”

Despite his doubts, Broz’s first two years went exceptionally well. He studied hard, paid attention to every bit of advice his mentor offered and was tenacious. After selling 10 properties his first year, Broz definitely had an auspicious beginning that would become an amazing career.

“I felt confident that I knew the business,” he says, “and I’ve never been afraid of hard work. You don’t reach the next jump if you don’t put in the work. So, I beat the streets hard. I held about 100 open houses, knocked on doors and always tried to do something outside the box.”

Working closely with fellow Minnesotans, Broz draws upon his years of discipline, drive and God-given people skills. Being a family man himself, he understands the pressures and emotional stress of buying and selling including relocating a whole family and the patience and care it takes to find just the right home.

Broz’s creative approach to building his real estate business meant taking some risks and trying things that weren’t necessarily the way his mentor would do them. “I call my methods, ‘traditional plus,’” he explains. “Malam has been in the business a lot of years and has certainly found success his way. I wanted to carve a path of my own design, try something a little different, maybe a little risky. But then, I’ve always been adventurous. Not everything worked, but the things that did were great!”

The same commitment and confidence that made it possible for Broz to fly full-throttle in his spectacular jumps at speeds exceeding 50 or 60 miles an hour, was just the infusion of energy needed to launch his career in real estate. Surviving the disastrous recession of 2008 by tackling short-sales and property management, Broz plowed through.

“I was just really gaining some traction,” he says. “My business really starting to grow when the market fell apart. I wasn’t going to let that discourage me or even slow me down. I’ve faced setbacks before. Sometimes, the only way through a problem is around it.”

During the darkest slump, 2009 and 2010, he focused on short sales and property management. But even more impressive, while other REALTORS (even those more experienced) were tightening their operating budgets, Broz chose to invest in his business. While others were pulling back or canceling their marketing, he expanded. His commitment was apparent and complete.

“I kept building the business and stoking the fires with every check I received,” he says. “That really impacted my long-term success I think, and the results were evident from 2010 on.”

Coming out the other side of the recession, Broz has continued to grow his business along with a loyal following of clients, referrals and repeat business. In fact, business became so good and so plentiful, that in order to better serve his clients he made the decision to create his own team.

“Actually, this was also indirectly a result of how I was managing my business during those darker days,” he says. “During that time, I had hired a property manager. That worked out so well, I decided that dividing up the work and delegating tasks would not only be more productive and efficient, it would ultimately mean much better customer service to my clients.”

And so, The Brozville Group of RE/MAX Advantage Plus was born. Once again, Broz’s previous experience as a highly disciplined athlete came into play. Not unlike the U.S. Ski Team, every member of his team has been carefully selected, bringing together skilled and knowledgeable professionals infused with the spirit, fortitude and initiative of an Olympian athlete. It’s apparent that he not only knows how to cater to his clients, but how to cultivate a work environment for his team that is supportive, dynamic and full of surprises.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

For many, one of the surprises is the name of the team. Contrary to what most people assume, it is not Broz’s namesake, but the name of a cabin the Broz family has owned and visited with frequency since 1905. Tucked away in Wisconsin woods, the private family getaway is home to some of Broz’s fondest memories.

“The Brozville Group, despite the fact that it has my name in it, is not about me,” he says. “It’s not the Chris Broz show, it’s about the team and all of us working toward our personal and professional goals. Naming the team was pretty easy because Brozville is probably my favorite place in the whole world. It’s a place that holds many wonderful memories of my family and my childhood and has always represented peace and happiness. This year, I took them all up to Brozville. We spent a weekend up there and we really had a great time.”

This Wisconsin wonderland is so important and has had such a tremendous impact on Broz, that he even includes stunning photos of it in many of his marketing pieces. Describing it as “Heaven on Earth,” he says he feels most like himself when he visits and always returns refreshed and raring to go.

Many of the photos include shots of Broz dressed as he typically is – a comfortable shirt, jeans and a baseball cap. “That’s me,” he says with a grin. “I think maybe when I first started out in real estate I had this mistaken idea that a REALTOR had to wear a suit or at least a tie. Now I’m confident enough in my capabilities to realize that it’s not what you wear, it’s who you are.

“Anyway, I think the way I dress actually makes a lot of people feel more comfortable. I’m not trying to impress them with my suit or designer shoes, I’m there to work for them and obviously, I’m very comfortable. I would rather talk about results. Besides, The Brozville Group is all about being genuine and authentic which all stems from my love and passion.”

It’s the same passion that is apparent throughout all his business models.

BIGGER THAN LIFE

Every aspect of Broz life seems bigger than life and possibly worthy of a movie script. Even describing the way he and his wife became “an item,” is a fun and colorful story. He refers to the lyrics of the ’80s hit by Rick Springfield, “Jesse’s Girl.” “Well, it’s pretty close,” he says with a grin. “At the end of her senior year of high school she was dating my best friend. After a few months, they split up and I basically moved in. We had been good friends for a while and maybe that’s why everything went so fast … probably much faster than anyone would have ever believed.” As he seems to do with virtually everything in his life, Broz was quite young when it came to serious romance. Buying his own home at 20, he was also engaged at 20 and married about the time he became a licensed real estate agent. “Well, you know me,” he quips, “I’m always looking at the next hill to conquer.”

He and wife, Lisa, have three children, two daughters, Kinley, 7, and Sierra, 5, who were both born on Valentine’s Day, and their son, Finn, who is just turning 2.

“We have a lot of fun,” he says, his huge smile broadcasting his pride. “We’re a very active family, enjoy a lot of outdoors activities and my oldest daughter Kinley seems to have even caught my love for ski jumping.”

When he’s not working, spending time with his family or sneaking in a quick, heart-pounding jump, Broz can be found surrounded by the next generation of upand- coming ski jumpers. His coaching and mentoring of local youth brings him almost as much happiness as his illustrious career.

“I love working with the kids,” he says, “it brings back a lot of memories for me too. I like to think that it’s all part of a fraternity or family with each generation helping the next one coming up.”

In addition to helping these young people learn the sport and, hopefully, make their own bid for the U.S. Ski Team, Broz and other volunteers have raised money for newer, bigger and better practice facilities. In an effort to keep the spark alive, Broz continues to be active in the sport in a variety of ways.

With the Twin Cities playing host to both the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LI, Broz is busier than ever. Involved in a variety of fundraisers and other events, particularly having to do with local youth, Broz goes above and beyond to make sure visitors to the Twin Cities area enjoy their trip, learn about our fair cities and get the maximum Minnesota Nice experience.

FROM SLOPES TO SUBURBS

As the Brozville Group continues to grow, both Broz and his talented team continue to delight clients and accumulate industry awards. Persistent and goal-oriented as he was while competing around the world on treacherous slopes, Broz never quits improving. His current designations include GRI, CNE, CLHMS and CDPE and he specializes in negotiation, property marketing, home staging, competitive market analysis, interactive virtual tours, email marketing, open houses and buyer’s representation. However, his thirst for “that next hill” keeps him motivated and always improving. Fortunately for others, Broz is almost as prolific a writer as he is an athlete and shares timely tips, industry news and other helpful information in his blog.

Buyers, sellers and even other agents seem to agree that Broz, aside from possessing an impressive knowledge of the local real estate market, is a person who is genuine, easy to talk to and never afraid of a challenge. It might seem like a big leap from slopes to selling homes, but Chris Broz, as always, has stuck a picture perfect landing.


THE BROZVILLE GROUP RE/MAX
Advantage Plus 13575 Minnesota 13 South Savage, MN 55378 (952) 484-8956 www.Brozville.com