Original article published 6/19/16 in The Times of Northwest Indiana.
If you live or work in Northwest Indiana or the Chicago Southland, chances are you’ve seen a McColly Real Estate office. What you might not know is that McColly offers much more than residential real estate services.
Monica Decker, director of marketing and technology, says, “McColly Real Estate, founded in 1974, has strived to help all types of buyers and sellers.” She adds that diversifying into various entities related to real estate has made that vision a reality. “We can do everything in-house, from the listing to the sale, the title search and the closing,” notes Decker. “This makes the process easier.”
Entities that operate under the McColly umbrella include McColly Bennett Commercial, the New Homes Division, McColly Auctions, McColly School of Real Estate, Community Title and the McColly Foundation. McColly is also a member of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®.
McColly Bennett Commercial is a full service commercial real estate brokerage firm that is the result of a 2011 merger between McColly Real Estate and Bennett Commercial/Bennett Homes of Kankakee County, Illinois. The firm sells commercial properties on both sides of the border, and Decker says that an important part of their success is the big influx of Illinois businesses to Indiana to take advantage of a better business environment.
Another McColly entity is its New Homes Division, which works with home builders to market their developments and subdivisions, and to sell lots and new residential homes. “Because it’s currently a great seller’s market, the inventory of existing homes is very low,” explains Decker. “This situation has effectively boosted the new construction market and real estate agents are helping to manage the demand.”
Before individuals can show their first house, they must complete a pre-licensing course required by the state and pass an exam to become a licensed residential real estate agent. McColly School of Real Estate offers classes to prepare students to take and pass the Indiana or Illinois state licensing exam.
One of the top reputable facilities in the area, the school is operated in accordance with strict standards set by the state. “The classroom course, which is taught by licensed brokers/licensed instructors in Indiana and Illinois, has been in existence since 1993,” says operations coordinator Rhonda McColly-Fleener. “Over the years we’ve trained thousands of people to become licensed real estate agents.”
Community Title, McColly’s title and closing service, has handled residential and commercial, purchase and refinance transactions throughout all of Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland since 1988. They conduct title searches, schedule the settlement, disburse mortgage loan or sale proceeds, issue title insurance policies and prepare and record all documents. “The main office of Community Title is in Merrillville,” says Decker, “but we can conduct closings in all of our offices.”
The McColly Foundation is the entity that gives back to the 19 communities in which McColly Real Estate has offices. “We don’t collect money,” Decker explains. “We sponsor drives.” For instance, this past March, McColly sponsored a baby shower to collect baby items for underprivileged mothers at St. Monica Home in Dyer, the Nazareth House in East Chicago and other local shelters.
Last year, the Foundation conducted a peanut butter and jelly drive during the summer and donated the goods to the Salvation Army and various food pantries. “Everyone collects during the holidays, but in the summer, food pantries tend to dry up,” says Decker.
McColly also has a relationship with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), which sells more homes globally than any other real estate organization in the world. Via this exclusive network, McColly, a local company, can help clients with relocation to other parts of the globe. McColly also represents LeadingRE’s luxury face, Luxury Portfolio International®, a unique luxury marketing program for exquisite homes valued at $750,000 and above around the world.
These are just some of the reasons why McColly just won Best of the Region #1 for Best Real Estate Local Company in Northwest Indiana. Other awards and distinctions include being voted 2016 Best Residential and Commercial Real Estate Company in the Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly magazine Readers Poll, and being listed as #146 of the 2016 Top 500 Power Brokers in the U.S. based on sales transactions, according to RIS Media.
Decker says one explanation why consumers are drawn to McColly is because of its mobile app, which is populated with all active listings from the local multiple listing services. On mccolly.com, every listing has its own website with Inrix Drive Times, school information and walk score. Listing data is updated hourly and consumers can set up property searches (via their own dashboard) and new listing alerts. “Gone are the days of driving to scores of houses,” Decker says. “Potential home buyers look online first and rank which homes they want to see.”
With offices in Lake, Porter and Jasper counties in Indiana, and Cook, Will and Kankakee counties in Illinois, McColly has a finger on the pulse of each individual community. “McColly is local with deep community roots,” says Decker. ”It’s not a franchise.” She notes that due to all of the company’s efforts, there are in excess of 100,000 unique users a month on mccolly.com, which indicates consumers begin their home search online. As for all of McColly’s efforts and entities, Decker says, “We continue to raise the bar.”