Running eight offices and processing approximately 2,400 real estate transactions a year, this C21 brokerage continues to outbid the competition in one of the hottest U.S. housing markets.
Craig Beggins, President and CEO of CENTURY 21 Beggins Enterprises, Tampa, FL, remembers the day like it was yesterday. It was in the late Eighties when his father, a former CENTURY 21 broker, had borrowed $5 million and started developing the waterfront gated community of Symphony Isles in nearby Apollo Beach.
Without warning, the county imposed a water and sewer moratorium, which froze all sales within the development. Meanwhile, the meter kept ticking on the interest payments. The family lost their house on the bay, and the land returned to the bank.
But right about that time, Craig Beggins, who had become a partner in Symphony Realty brokerage with his father, received an opportunity to make the listing presentation to the bank that was foreclosing on his father’s property. He won the listing and received a $15,000 a month marketing budget, which helped put his real estate company on the map.
Soon after, they purchased another brokerage from a builder whose father had bought a CENTURY 21 franchise from Beggins’ dad, and Symphony Realty became CENTURY 21 Beggins Enterprises in 1992.
From there, the opportunities continued to roll in. In 1996, he bought a colleague’s Sun City brokerage, which turned out to be “their best acquisition yet.”
Two years later, a friend in nearby St. Petersburg decided he no longer wanted to be a broker and sold Beggins the office. Then he met a developer who sold him List Realty, which became List With Beggins.
Today, Beggins Enterprises runs eight offices and processes approximately
“One of our agents had 44 offers on one house, and 15 bids is not uncommon.”
– Angelique Beggins, COO
While inventory is tight nationwide, it’s a fierce battleground in Florida and the burgeoning Tampa Bay metro area is no exception.
“One of our agents had 44 offers on one house, and 15 bids is not uncommon,” says Angelique Beggins, COO.
Business-friendly taxes, Florida’s Homestead Exemption and affordable home prices — not to mention the year-round sunny climate — have rapidly heated up the real estate landscape, particularly during the pandemic with remote-based workers seeking new digs.
To illustrate, one of Beggins’ clients had a $27 million condo in New York, which he “dumped” for $19 million, moved to Florida’s Gulf and bought a $4 million condo.
“So now he has $11 million in a tax loss and $15 million in his pocket. It’s crazy. The values here are so affordable,” says Craig.
Or consider the Washington, D.C. transplant who bought a $1 million, 4,000-square-foot home in Apollo Beach with a boat dock, spa and pool for a house payment less than what he was paying in rent in D.C.
With home values increasing 12% over last year, Tampa properties are accelerating at a fast clip with a buying pool fueled by an active local air force base, growing tech sector, vibrant agricultural industry and an all-star lineup of sports teams headlined by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Tampa is hot,” says Craig. “I bought a house two weeks ago at $289,000 and just got the appraisal at $301,000. Two weeks later, the property appreciated $12,000.”
“Our daughter, Jessica Beggins, was in a multiple offer situation… …while the clients were viewing the house, she stayed in her car and wrote the offer with the dotloop mobile app using a hotspot on her phone. She drafted the entire offer package and submitted it to the listing agent in 5 minutes, and they got the house.”
– Angelique Beggins, COO
The Beggins remember the early days of MLS paper books, dial-up modems and lugging suitcases back and forth from offices with paper files — a stark contrast to the digital era when, just the other day, their daughter Samantha, one of five Transaction Coordinators, loaded 26 contracts to their dotloop Business+ account.
Moving to a complete real estate transaction management software has helped the company grow their business, from expediting contracts to closing in full compliance. “I like how everything’s lined up in place when our auditors come in every year,” says Angelique. “It keeps us out of trouble.”
“And I like when an agent calls with a question about a property. I can just ask for the address, log in and view a file with admin access,” says Craig.
Dotloop, Angelique says, has been at the center of all the transactions and, at times, their secret weapon in winning hard-fought bids.
“Our daughter Jessica Beggins was in a multiple offer situation. Her clients were looking at a property, which the listing agent said was going to sell soon. Jessica said, ‘Give me 5 more minutes.’ So while the clients were viewing the house, she stayed in her car and wrote the offer with the dotloop mobile app using a hotspot on her phone. She drafted the entire offer package and submitted it to the listing agent in 5 minutes, and they got the house,” Angelique says.
Mobility, collaboration and ease of use among admins, agents and clients is a big reason why the system has served this busy brokerage so well since 2016.
“We just got a big listing with four men in their 80s who bought a great piece of property right on the Bay 35 years ago,” says Craig. “I got them to use dotloop, and they all signed on the platform. They were like, ‘How are you going to get all of our signatures on one piece of paper?’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, it’s going to be perfect.’ We got it done.”
“I don’t know how we did real estate before dotloop,” says Angelique. “It’s changed the way we do our business, and we won’t go back. We’re completely spoiled with dotloop. It just makes everything so easy.”
With dotloop Business+ you can streamline collaboration by consolidating compliance, storage, form editing and digital signatures into a single transaction management platform.
At Beggins Enterprises, the agents and staff live by the mantra, “E to the 3rd Power: Empower, Education and Encourage.” Rather than measure success purely by numbers, leadership quantifies success by the way they can help improve their agents’ lives through their systems, training, services and the subsequent sales that result.
They call it the “next-level university” with the objective of pushing each agent to move to the next level.
“We’re a life betterment company,” says Craig. “Everybody’s life is different. You have the retiree who wants to make an extra couple grand for their grandkids; the millennials who want to build a career for their families; and the working spouse who wants to take their family on vacations. We call it their ‘why’ and they’re all different.”
As part of Beggins’ full-service brokerage offerings, agents receive daily social posts and regular training sessions every morning on the transaction management software, as well as the company’s CRM and title procedures.
“That is probably the biggest reason people come to us — for the support and experience we offer,” says Craig, who’s completed over 50,000 transactions individually. “There’s not much that we haven’t seen.”
Most of the brokerage business comes from its extensive sphere of influence, past clients and Zillow leads, which converted at a 33% ROI last year.
“An old-school broker,” Craig says the full-service model has served them well.
“Our last three hires interviewed multiple brokerages and came to us and said no to the 100% shops because they wanted the support of the back office and the training,” adds Angelique.
Keeping pace with Tampa Bay’s accelerated growth, Beggins Enterprises shows no signs of slowing. By February of this year, the real estate brokerage had already signed 130 listings, with 100 of them sold by month’s end.
In this market, any property under $300,000 is virtually unheard of. In fact, cars lined up and down the street for the one house that went on sale for $300,000.
“It used to be a $150,000 to $200,000 market. Now it’s over $300,000,” says Craig. “I think Florida is going to look very different in the future.”