By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Jim Manning and Ryan Wessels were classmates at St. Louis University High School and baseball coaches there before they decided to form STL Real Estate in Kirkwood in 2011.
Both had several years of experience in real estate: Wessels had been buying, selling and rehabbing houses since 2006. Manning was frustrated with his corporate job and longed to do “something important.”
One area of focus for STL Real Estate is buying distressed properties, rehabbing them and selling them. Its mission reads, “We are committed to client-focused solutions while providing excellent service in today’s market.”
In many cases, the firm buys the houses outright, performs repairs and makes improvements to enhance the resale value. Often, the homeowner needs to sell quickly or the property needs more repairs than the owner is willing to make.
“We show them our numbers,” Wessels said. “We try to educate our clients by showing them what they could get if they sell the house as-is to a buyer (like STL Real Estate) or what they could get by listing it as-is on the market.”
Clients also get a sheet listing the pros and cons of selling the house to STL Real Estate or listing the house for sale. The company rehabbed 40 houses last year, 27 of them purchased outright.
“We focus on their needs,” Manning said. “We want to build long-term relationships with people.”
In addition to rehabbing, STL Real Estate is a full-serve real estate brokerage with three full-time agents and two part-time agents. When they sell a house, they make sure clients understand the process and know what they need to do and what to expect as it move through loan approval, if applicable, and closing, which often occurs at the company’s Kirkwood office.
Lindsay Wessels, Ryan’s wife and the company’s business operations director, said the company emphasizes teamwork, so any employee or agent can assist customers if their usual agent is unavailable.
The company has regular Monday meetings to discuss employees’ goals and achievements. It also holds monthly networking events with clients and other Kirkwood businesses in its remodeled storefront. The first floor is set up with a moveable wall that allows for dividing the space or opening it up for events.
Manning does most company training one-on-one, but he’s working to set up a technology-based training program.
“We do things slowly and efficiently,” said Manning. “We understand the time it takes to have an agent come aboard in our business.”
The company looks for people who like to work hard, but have fun, too. Right before Thanksgiving, STL Real Estate threw a pie party, giving away 200 pies from McArthur’s Bakery to clients, contractors and other business associates.
Lindsay Wessels leads most of the company’s charitable activities, serving on the board of the St. Louis chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Association and organizing some of the charity’s events. The company also has been active with the Tower Grove Neighborhood Improvement Association because several of its rehabs have been in that part of St. Louis.
Profiles of BBB Accredited Businesses and BBB Accredited Charities are created as part of BBB’s TORCH Award process and are not intended as an endorsement. To register for this year’s TORCH Awards luncheon on Nov. 13, go to http://www.bbb.org/stlouis/events.