Howard Hanna executive strives to bring out the best in agents
It was always Mike Grogan’s dream to be a coach. Now he is. Grogan, vice president and regional manager for the Central Atlantic region of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, coaches agents.
“I thought I would be a basketball coach one day, and I couldn’t find a way to do that, at least not full time,” says Grogan, who grew up in Northern Virginia and lives in Williamsburg.
He’s the son of an FBI agent, who coached every sport that Grogan pursued, and a team mom, who attended every game. At Florida State University he was named outstanding intramural athlete in 1993.
“Instead of coaching basketball, I coach managers and agents to get more out of them than they know how to get out of themselves. It’s my passion.”
Grogan got involved with real estate at the ground level at 25. He first sold houses, then got involved in other aspects of the industry.
“I got interested in new construction and built a few houses and organized a couple of new home subdivisions. I was out there driving tractors, mowing lawns, and I even had to help build a pond.”
One job led to another over the past 20-plus years until he eventually became manager of the Williamsburg office for Howard Hanna. After just a few years, his office jumped to the top office in the region. That opened the door for him to become the regional vice president as Howard Hanna began to spread into new markets in Virginia. One thing is clear in speaking with Grogan. He loves his job and his company.
“It’s all about the culture,” he says. “I love working with our people. We’re very selective in the agents we choose because we put so much effort into helping them build great careers. It keeps me coming back every day.”
Grogan now is challenged by leading Howard Hanna, the largest privately owned real estate company in the country, to expand its footprint in Virginia. The company has locations in 13 states and 14 locations in the Virginia market, most of which are in Hampton Roads. “Being privately owned means it’s easy for us to adapt to changing environments.”
The past several years have been wild. “We just went through a dynamic period in which we were having multiple offers on almost every listing,” he says. “The market caught fire. It got to the point that people had to offer at least 10 percent over asking price to even be considered for a house.” In one case, a home listed for $310,000 sold for $425,000, 37 percent over listing price.
Now as the market settles down due to increasing interest rates and buyer fatigue, Grogan says the industry is having to adapt again. In a “normal” market, houses take an average of six months to sell, and though there’s still a nationwide shortage of houses, agents are having to make another shift to a slower market. “It’s just getting back to what we expected in the past. We have been preparing our agents for this right from the start and it feels good to know that they are positioned for success right now.”
While his day job is coaching agents, Grogan has scratched his athletic coaching itch by coaching his three daughters, 22, 20 and 18, in their respective sports. He and his wife Stephanie were heavily involved in the girls’ swim, soccer and basketball teams, and they helped start a lacrosse program in Williamsburg.
“Coaching my kids has not only been fun for me, but also good for business,” he says. “The name of the game in real estate is getting out there, meeting people and giving back to the community. I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to combine both my coaching passions and help a lot of people along the way.”