For Murphy & Murphy, real estate is still personal
Last updated 5/12/2021 at 3:19pm
Chris and Kim Murphy of Murphy & Murphy Southern California Realty have a couple of significant reasons for their success.
"It's all about relationships," said Chris. To that end, we limit how many clients we work with at a time to 15. That includes clients with homes getting ready for the market, clients with homes on the market, and clients with homes in escrow.
"That way we can give them our full attention," Kim explained.
And the personal approach is working. They've averaged one sale a week since the beginning of the year. It's a success rate that they say is very rewarding, not only financially, but in knowing they have happy clients.
The couple works as a team, with Chris doing most of the out of office work – collaborating with the photographer, showing homes, attending home inspections, meeting appraisers, assisting clients with the preparations to get their homes ready for the market, etc. Kim handles "mission control" in the downtown Fallbrook office, taking care of the multiple tasks required to work through any surprises and remain in contact with lenders and escrow officers to avoid any delays.
You can tell they enjoy working together and are "on the same page." During the interview for this story, one would finish the sentence of the other, or add a little detail, without really interrupting the other.
The Murphy's have strong local roots, living in Bonsall from 1992 to 2001 before moving to Fallbrook.
They started in real estate 24 years ago, in 1997 in Escondido. The broker they worked for moved them to Bonsall in 2001 when that broker opened a new office. Then in 2012, they opened their own brokerage and moved to their current location at 130 N. Main Ave., Fallbrook on the corner of Hawthorne.
"We thought starting our real estate careers in Escondido would give us a broader base, because we both came from backgrounds in international sales," Kim said. "However, over time, more and more of our business came out of our own backyard of Fallbrook."
"We've had clients all the way to San Ysidro, Del Mar, La Jolla, San Clemente and in between, but 95% of the business is local – Fallbrook, Bonsall, Rainbow and De Luz," Chris added.
Their real estate sales have amounted to more than $400 million.
Most of their business is residential, but they also handle commercial and land transactions.
Average home sales in Fallbrook prices have jumped from $729,000 to $828,000 since January of this year, Chris said.
"If you want to sell, it's an amazing time," he added.
They said their role is to help clients decide what's best for them. Often that involves selling their home so they can purchase their next home in another state or even another country. Every client is different.
"There are a lot of variables," Chris said, "including whether their job is unique to California or remote capable. For example, we are representing a retired Navy captain who intends to continue working as a contractor who needs to stay in Southern California. We represent many other clients who work remotely, so finding a new home is as simple as finding them a Realtor is their future location of choice.
Prices are crazy now, something every knows, but will it continue?
"Well, that's not crystal clear, but unless inflation spikes, it could keep going," Chris replied. "One thing that is supporting the incredible demand for homes is that builders just aren't building that many new homes. With COVID, a lot of the lumber mills closed, and building has come to a crawl. The cost of materials has skyrocketed. Fees and restrictions are oppressive.
"As baby boomers are downsizing or dying, millennials with their great jobs have the money to buy the homes the baby boomers are making available, especially with interest rates so low. However, other experts think this housing market will adjust in six months, so no one really knows," Chris said.
"Our business is based on excellent care, the opposite of 'churn and burn,'" Kim said. "By limiting the number of clients, we're able to help each client achieve what they need.' You love it when they say, 'Wow, we felt like we were your only client.'"
"We recently met with three separate clients," Chris recalled. "They may have thought they were interviewing us, but we were interviewing them too, to discover who we could work with and truly help."
"You get a feeling about who you can help the most. Some people have an idea of how things should work, but it's not how they actually work. We're probably not the best agents for them. We understand what works and what is important right now, and if a client wants to do things differently, we're not going to be able to help them achieve their goals." Kim added.
They certainly enjoy their job of helping others.
"Real estate isn't right for a lot of people," Kim said. "They see it as easy money, driving nice cars, having nice clothes, but it's hard work!"
"There are some difficult situations when you have to grin and bear it.," Chris added. "There are long hours and frustration when a transaction goes sideways."
"Basically, we're problem solving all day long," Kim said. "There are documents to sign, ongoing negotiations, and many other details. It's an emotional time for both the buyer and seller, so we work to keep everyone as calm as possible."
"It's so important to have a good Realtor," Chris said. "Not all are as qualified or dedicated as we."
"For example, all our phone calls go to Chris. He always answers his phone, Kim said. "There's no hiding behind a technical device or screening calls. Our clients and other agents love this. We get comments all the time, saying "thank you for answering."
You don't build relationships with the "turn and burn approach" – which they described as rushing to get as many listings as you can, but not really servicing the clients.
Kim identified some of the extra services they provide, such as connecting clients with an insurance company (Robert Bell) who also meets clients personally at his office instead of directing clients to a computer form.
Another aspect of their service is having a long list of reliable contractors who finish projects professionally to help a house sell.
"Buyers want a house that is complete and ready to move into," Kim explained. "Chris can act as a general contractor in coordinating work to be done on a house.
She cited an example of a seller being able to clear $65,000 more than they expected because of the projects Chris directed.
"What we do the most – and like doing the most – is listing homes," Kim said.
They also get plenty of buyer leads from their web page showing local homes.
"When searching a web site, people don't care about the Realtor. They care about the house. Our website focuses on property, not us. Once we meet them, we are able to sell them on our service."
The couple is involved in the community, supporting the Fallbrook Food Pantry, Foundation for Senior Care, the Boys and Girls Club, and youth sports. They've attended North Coast Church for 25 years.
"Our faith is the root of why we are the way we are. Our responsibility is to the Lord. It's why we give back to the community and why we take our jobs so seriously," Chris said.
"Our work is an opportunity to do what we're called to do – show Jesus," Kim added. "We know God is the reason we are blessed."
They run a full-page ad in the Village News, but three times a year their ad doesn't promote their business. During Christmas and Easter, it's about the birth and resurrection of Jesus. And in November, they print Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation.
The bottom line is that clients trust them.
For more information, visit Murphy-Realty.com.