Real Estate Agent of the Month Chris Rooney

Chris Rooney

Going for the Win

By Susan Cushing


If there were such a thing as a real estate gene, Chris Rooney, broker/partner of RE/MAX Preferred, would be a prime example of its dominance. A lifelong resident of Prior Lake, Rooney is the auspicious off spring of parents who were also preeminent REALTORS. Some kids are born with a silver spoon, Rooney cut his teeth on MLS and was frequently recruited to help his parents prepare properties. It was on one such occasion, at the age of 15, that he made his first “sale.”

“I still like to give my dad a hard time about this,” he says. “I was taking care of some landscaping around a house he had just built. A guy pulled up and asked if the house was for sale, so I showed him around. I’d certainly watched my parents do this like a thousand times, so I knew what to point out and how to answer his questions.

“Well, he ended up buying it! Even 35 years later, I still remind my dad that he owes me a commission,” Rooney jokes.

Enmeshed in the world of real estate since birth, it never occurred to the young man to consider any other career.

“I’ve always been in real estate,” he says. “I have rental properties, I’ve flipped homes, owned a construction company and a mortgage company at one time. I’ve even owned a restaurant, but everything has been real estate related.”

A Competitive Edge
Something of a sports star throughout high school and college, Rooney excelled in both football and baseball. He says he applies the skills he learned on the field – leadership, drive to succeed and competitive spirit – to negotiate the best deals for his clients.

“Sports have always been a big part of my life and I love to win,” he says. “Real estate in a sense has become my game. That could mean anything from getting a house ready to sell for the most; advising the sellers what to do or not do to; and getting that offer accepted. I always stress preparation and knowing what you are talking about, which includes seeking out the wisdom of other successful people both within our industry and others.

“Two of the most important lessons I learned not just from sports but also from my parents,” he continues, “and those are listening and doing the right thing. Too many people, in real estate as well as other businesses, are focused on doing things their way or trying to show how much they know rather than what’s best for the client. It begins with listening, really listening to your client. And, of course, none of this means anything if you don’t do the right thing – you got to have integrity.

“I’m always honest in my dealings. Sometimes that means telling a buyer or seller something they don’t want to hear, but I have to give them the information to make an informed decision – the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly.”

It’s a philosophy that has served him well. A recognized leader in the luxury market, Rooney has successfully utilized his significant prowess in innovative marketing strategies and savvy negotiating skills to build a reputation as the local go-to guy for luxury homes. Esteemed for not only his impressive professional track record and high standards, Rooney is also known for his honesty and complete focus on his client’s goals.

Group Effort
Successfully facilitating hundreds of transactions for his exceptionally loyal clients over his nearly 30-year career, Rooney has also remained active with personal real estate ventures. Today, he is not only an active partner in a highly respected realty firm, but also heads up the Chris Rooney Home Experts group – dedicated to sharing his accrued knowledge with its members as well as his clients.

“Broker Martha Hoover is the majority partner of RE/MAX Preferred,” he says, “and handles most of the business end of the company. I prefer selling to managing. My main concern was creating a company where I would like to work, and I think we’ve done that.”

Rooney also makes it clear that Chris Rooney Home Experts is a group, not a team, of like-minded individuals who concentrate on what they enjoy and do best, while sharing these strengths with the other members.

“I focus on doing what I’m good at and hire out what I’m not,” he explains. “That not only works out better for our clients, it makes sense. Each member of our group brings their personal strengths and does what they do best. When you’re good at what you do, and enjoy it, it makes it fun. Real estate can have long hours, so you better like what you’re doing!”

That certainly seems to apply to the Chris Rooney Home Experts purpose – to provide buyers, sellers and investors with complementary advice and expertise in all areas of real estate. This collaborative group of experts offer their professional real estate services in staging, photography, property valuations and more, in order to ensure their clients achieve their financial goals through real estate solutions.

“Our group represents some of the best and brightest in the industry and, most importantly, they are good people,” says Rooney. “We’re always striving to lead the field in research, innovation and consumer education. Our ultimate goal is to ensure every transaction goes smoothly with exceptional representation and communication.”

Technology and Transparency
Throughout his nearly three-decade career, Rooney has witnessed virtually every possible situation in real estate. He’s also had a front row seat to the myriad changes that technology and the ever-expanding power of the Internet have wrought. As with most advancements, there is much to be considered and Rooney perceives both the advantages and disadvantages.

“Of course, the Internet and other advancements in technology have been a boon to the real estate business,” he acknowledges. “However, there is a danger of oversimplifying the process or for agents to cut corners. Technology is a powerful tool, but we still need to be conscientious in our responsibilities as a REALTOR.

“There are various examples I could name,” he adds, “but one that I feel is most egregious is the advent of the electronic signature. The electronic signature has changed our industry for the better when it comes to finalizing deals and not driving all around town to get a signature. But, I have witnessed many buyers and sellers signing a document without being fully aware of its contents. It is so important to explain not only the process, but what they are committing to. Finding out at the closing table or, even worse, aft er the closing is not what clients deserve. We make sure they fully understand what they are signing.”

Fame, Fortune and Family
Due to his acumen, experience and continually updated knowledge of the market, Rooney’s acclaim extends well beyond Prior Lake. The host of a lively and informative weekly radio show, “The Real Estate Radio Hour,” Rooney shares his expertise and insights with thousands of devoted listeners. Aired every Saturday at 10 a.m. on WCCO CBS News Radio (830 on the AM dial), Rooney’s popular program features a call-in format.

Though he has many colleagues, Rooney’s partner is his wife of nearly 25 years who also happens to be named Chris. A year behind him at Prior Lake High, he says they didn’t start dating until she graduated.

“She’s my biggest supporter and my reality check,” Rooney says with a grin. “Not only is she an amazing wife and mother, she manages our rental properties. I am still not sure she has forgiven me for inheriting that job … .”

The Rooneys have two children. Nick plays football at Adams State University, and 13-year-old daughter Morgan plays soccer and volleyball.

“Thankfully I realized early in my career that putting family first is the most important thing,” says Rooney. “Work will always be there, but kids grow up fast. I’ve learned that when you tell people you need to get going because you’re due at this thing or another for your kids, they not only understand, they appreciate it.”

It would be ridiculous to suggest that anyone, including this devoted dad, works so hard just for altruistic reasons, but Rooney puts the money aspect into perspective.

“The money comes when you do the right thing,” he says. “I don’t apologize for earning my commission, but that’s never my focus. My focus is always doing the very best for each client and being a good person.”