Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 2, 2021

Lundberg, Century 21 find right fit

Marc Lundberg is the owner of Century 21 Prestige in Chattanooga and Hendersonville. He says training and coaching agents are his two greatest passions in real estate. - Photo by David Laprad | Hamilton County Herald

As a Realtor, Marc Lundberg claims to have the Midas touch.

While selling homes for Century 21 M&M and Associates in California, Lundberg, 63, says he was the No. 5 agent out of 650 at the company’s largest brokerage.

Years later, during a brief home-selling stint with Keller Williams Greater Downtown Realty in Chattanooga, Lundberg ranked among the top 20% of the company’s 300-plus agents, KW confirms.

But just because someone is good at something doesn’t mean they’re passionate about doing it.

This was Lundberg’s dilemma when a friend asked him to move to Tennessee to work for U.S. Xpress as the bottom fell out of the housing market in California in 2007. It was also an issue several years later as Lundberg labored at Keller Williams.

In each case, Lundberg envisioned himself not as someone who toils in the trenches but as someone who guides others through them. Essentially, he saw himself as a leader.

Lundberg’s aspiration was not without precedent. During the height of his success at Century 21, he stopped working with homebuyers and sellers and became the company’s director of career development. In this role, he coached and trained agents and sales managers at nine of the company’s 30 brokerages.

“I really liked managing and training people,” Lundberg says. “It’s where my heart has been ever since.”

Lundberg followed his heart to U.S. Xpress in Tennessee, where he served as vice president and general manager of the company’s Expedited Services Division. He had worked as vice president of sales for U.S. Xpress in California before becoming a Realtor, so it represented a homecoming of sorts.

Or, so he thought. But after less than two years in the position, a desire to spend more time at home with his family than on the road working motivated him to return to real estate.

“In that industry, you travel 50 to 75% of the time,” he explains. “I had a family, and every time Dad was on a plane, there was an issue. So, I wanted more flexibility.”

Lundberg landed at Keller Williams, which hired him as its team leader. But as he settled into the role, he discovered something important about himself: While he relished the work, he felt spread thin.

“I want to know my agents and what’s happening in their lives,” he says. “I couldn’t do that with 300 agents.”

Lundberg shifted to a sales role, but didn’t remain there long. Driven to bring his long-simmering vision of leading a group of agents to a boil – a vision his experience as KW’s team leader had helped to refine – he started Prestige Property Brokers in 2017.

One might assume launching his own company allowed Lundberg to finally achieve professional nirvana, but this was not the case. As he moved into a suite above The Mill in Chattanooga’s Southside community and started to build a team of agents, he felt like he was missing an important ingredient, like a chef who’d forgotten to salt his dish.

Becoming a profitable operation after two months didn’t ease the nagging. Neither did moving to the McCallie Street office in 2018. Rather, the feeling stayed with him until mid-2019 and the day Paul Roesch walked into his office, out of the proverbial blue.

Roesch is the director of strategic growth for Century 21, and he saw untapped potential in Lundberg and his fledgling company.

“He said, ‘You need a Century 21 office in Chattanooga,’” Lundberg recalls.

Finally, Lundberg knew what his company was missing: The tools a large franchise provides its agents.

Lundberg was intrigued but was not an easy sell. Leery of the added costs of aligning with a franchise, he sat on the fence for six months as Roesch pursued him. He finally relented as 2019 drew to a close.

Today, Lundberg says becoming a Century 21 company is the best thing he could have done for Prestige.

“Revenues so far this year have increased 223% over the first five months of 2020, and we’re No. 18 in the MLS. The transition has been fabulous.”

Lundberg credits both the tools Century 21 provides and his agents with the success of what he’s now calling Century 21 Prestige.

“I’d love to take the credit, but the agents have worked hard and made good use of the tools,” he enthuses. “I could not be more pleased with what they’ve accomplished.”

Sensing he’s on a roll, Lundberg proves he still has the DNA of a salesman in him as he crows about Century 21, calling it “the most recognized brand in the world” (according to a 2018 Millward Brown consumer survey, it was actually No. 1 in brand awareness among U.S. home buying and selling consumers presented with a list of real estate agencies) and claiming the company’s website is the most visited online destination in the world. (He later amends this statement to “the most visited real estate company website.”)

“All that gives my agents the tools to succeed,” Lundberg concludes.

All that, plus his coaching and training. Lundberg is not just the sole owner and operator of Century 21 Prestige, he’s also its director of career development – a role he’s missed since his days with Century 21 in California.

Within the small confines of his plain-walled office, Lundberg meets with agents one-on-one to coach them to individual success. He also steps into the common area outside his office to host weekly training sessions for his entire team.

“The topic can be anything from lead generation, to contracts, to listing presentations,” he says. “Whatever the agents need.”

There are often fresh faces at these sessions, as Lundberg’s team is growing in numbers. Since signing with Century 21, he’s grown from 25 to 38 agents at his Chattanooga office and has opened a second office in Hendersonville. Although he could accommodate more, he says he’ll cap his agent count at 50.

“I didn’t like being with a large company, so I’m going to keep Prestige smaller,” he notes. “We’re not going to recruit anyone but grow slowly through referral and word-of-mouth.”

That number will naturally expand, however, if Lundberg continues to open additional offices. He currently plans to open new branches in Chattanooga, Nashville and North Georgia.

Whatever comes to pass, Lundberg is thrilled to have brought Century 21 to Chattanooga and to have finally achieved professional nirvana as the one who leads its agents through the trenches.

“The gold standard is back in Chattanooga,” he says with the smile of someone who still has the DNA of a salesman in him. “And it’s here to stay.”