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Colburn’s team at The Agency Hall & Hunter, with Mauricio, center, and Colburn to his right.

Featured Article

A Meeting Of The Minds

Birmingham’s Hall & Hunter partners with The Agency in business and philosophies.

Mauricio Umansky founded The Agency, a billion-dollar boutique real-estate brokerage based in Los Angeles, in 2011 with “a mission of good,” he says. “We are trying to make the industry better, trying to create better service to the clients, better service to the agents — better service all the way around.” 

So it was serendipitous when Meredith Colburn, associate broker of the Meredith Colburn Real Estate Team at Birmingham’s Hall & Hunter Realtors, made the introduction between Umansky and Hall & Hunter owners Brad Wolf and Ryan Wolf — which led to the newly launched The Agency. Hall & Hunter becoming one of The Agency’s 52 offices around the globe, and the first Agency franchise in the Midwest. 

Founded in 1954 by their father, Dennis Wolf, as a family-owned business with an emphasis on integrity, trust and exceptional customer service, Hall & Hunter has grown to 90 agents and was prime for creating a new level of real estate — one that prioritizes its traditional values while at the same time leading the way with all the benefits of cutting-edge technology.

Which is exactly what appeals to Umansky, whose company’s listings include the Playboy Mansion, the first house in L.A. to sell above the $100 million mark, Walt Disney Estate and homes owned by Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan and Prince.

Familiar to many as the husband of Kyle Richards on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (and a frequent winner of unofficial polls of viewers’ favorite “househusband” for his down-to-earth charm and humor), the father of four daughters (two of whom work for The Agency) prides his own business as being both family-owned and like a big family, so he jumped at the chance to take Colburn up on her offer to meet.

“After an amazing conversation with Meredith, I had dinner with Brad and Ryan at a conference in Las Vegas,” Umansky says. “I think the philosophies are the most important thing in having a partnership that makes sense. These two entities are so aligned — both family businesses, we treat our agents and brokerage as a big family, we like to give back — it’s a very similar cultural fit. The service, the technology that we can provide, the things we are working on and how both of our companies can benefit each other, we feel really good about that. I think it’s a win-win scenario for both of us.

“I also really like the pedigree — the legacy that Dennis Wolf created, and that Ryan and Brad were open and willing to take this traditional brokerage into the next generation of what a brokerage can be, to look at different ways of marketing and be willing to be innovative. It’s very exciting.” 

The Agency is modernizing the industry by fostering a culture of partnership in which all clients and listings are represented in a collaborative environment. Agents share knowledge, spheres of influence, contacts and expertise, ensuring clients better representation and a true competitive edge.

“It's beyond exciting,” says Colburn, who leads the top-producing team at Hall & Hunter, including six brokers, all women, including her mom, Nanci Rands — Colburn’s mentor. “When you look at building a business and efforts to increase business, you look to align with organizations that best mirror your core values and can provide you with a platform for greater success. That’s The Agency for Hall & Hunter. 

“Our brokers looked at a lot of different platforms and partnerships over the years, but I don’t think they found anything that really spoke to them the way that The Agency does. Their technology platforms allow agents one-stop shopping — you connect into their system, you're able to operate your CRM, interface with agents throughout the family of companies around the world, create all of your marketing materials, from print to social media. It's very forward thinking and effective,” she says. 

Adds Umansky, “It’s set up so that everyone is on the same CRM, we make sure that everyone is talking to each other. It allows everyone to celebrate everything, or if someone at Hall & Hunter has a question, it may be answered by someone at the Turks and Caicos office rather than a response from corporate.” 

Colburn prides herself on providing a luxury experience at every price, focusing on the service she can provide a client, and believes The Agency echoes that commitment. “It offers a boutique approach to the world’s most coveted markets,” she says. 

Colburn notes that there has been an adrenaline surrounding the launch. “It’s palpable and has been so well-received,” she says. “The owners are so excited for the people who work here. And there’s a buzz from Mauricio — he exudes that passion and excitement for what he does and for the integrity of the people he selects to represent his brand.

“There’s some excitement about a little bit of celebrity coming to our area — people know of the company because we’ve seen a little bit of it on TV,” Colburn says. “He really is the nicest guy. He’s the down-to-earth family guy with great values that we see. But the excitement really comes from the energy, enthusiasm and passion for real estate and The Agency brand that Mauricio brings when he addresses a group and speaks about his vision for the company. He speaks about his experience, his vision, from the heart. There‘s no put-on there, it’s just authentic.”

  • Mauricio Umansky
  • Colburn’s team at The Agency Hall & Hunter, with Mauricio, center, and Colburn to his right.
  • Meredith Colburn

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