Huff Realty, one of the Cincinnati metro area’s biggest real estate agencies, once again topped The Enquirer’s list of the Top Workplaces in Cincinnati in the large business category.
The Fort Mitchell-based agency is on an enviable roll, topping the list this year for the seventh year in a row.
The string of No. 1 rankings, based on feedback from employee surveys, is a testament to the company’s consistency in keeping its sales agents and support staff happy, satisfied and content in their jobs.
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That’s critical for keeping productivity up and turnover down In today’s blistering hot housing market, where the competition for good sales agents is almost as intense as the competition for homes, Huff President Brad DeVries recently told The Enquirer.
“I don’t think there’s a more competitive industry when it comes to attempting to take one another’s talent than there is in our business,” DeVries said. “We know that at any given time, many of our agents are being called, texted, emailed, wined, dined; you name it. There’s somebody after them. We fight that every single day.”
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Despite competitors’ promises of higher commissions, better leads and working conditions, DeVries said Huff’s staffing levels have remained strong with about 500 agents and 50 support staff spread across nine sales offices in Southwest Ohio,  Northern Kentucky and Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
That kind of employee loyalty doesn’t come easy, he said, attributing Huff’s success to letting employees know their voices are being heard.
“At the end of the day, relationships in this business are really a big deal, and we work really hard at that,” he said. “My job is kind of chief encouragement officer. I’ll spend a lot of my days sending videos and sending texts to our agents thanking them for this and congratulating them on that.
“It’s important to let them (agents and staff) know that we get that they’re the ones who make this business go around,” DeVries added.
Creating a culture of support and opening the lines of communication starts at the top, but it definitely doesn’t end there, he said.
“I think even more important than me engaging with agents and employees is that I empower all of our leaders to do what they need to do to take appropriate care of their folks,” DeVries said. “We’ve got leaders that are engaged with our people each and every day. They don’t have to come to me to fix a problem or address an issue.”
That management style has helped Huff’s agents thrive during one of the most trying times in the industry when a shortage of homes for sale has forced them to make a living off fewer listings and rising home prices and mortgage rates have priced many of their potential customers out of the home-buying market.
Still, Huff agents last year closed 5,441 local real estate transactions and generated $1.4 billion in sales volume, up from about $1.2 billion in 2020, according to figures provided by the company.
Sales have been helped by the lifting of some pandemic-era restrictions, which eliminated in-person showings and forced agents to work from home, using virtual tours to showcase properties to potential buyers.
While remote work helped real estate agents ride out the worst of the pandemic and remain productive, it changed the workplace dramatically, and many of Huff’s agents still haven’t returned to the office full-time, DeVries said.
“COVID sent everybody home,” he said. “And that’s hard because a lot of the culture you create has everything to do with who you’re rubbing elbows with and being side-by-side with, creating those bonds and relationships – the secret sauce, if you will.”
Business: Real estate agents and brokers
Founded: 1975; Acquired by HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, in 2006
Headquarters: Fort Mitchell, Kentucky
Employees: About 500 agents and 50 support staff in the Cincinnati area
Benefits: 401(k) retirement plans, company-sponsored health, dental and vision coverage.
Purpose statement: “We foster a culture empowering people to grow in their careers and give back to those who come after them.”


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