Women-owned real estate company thriving and expanding in just fifth year Cutline: Christi Harvey, left, and Jill Henderson began Red Door Realty in Atascocita five years ago and the company is already expanding to The Woodlands. When Christi Harvey and Jill Henderson decided to venture out and form their own real estate brokerage in 2008, they knew it would be a gamble. Both had been real estate agents for five years, and knew the type of agency they wanted to start. However, Hurricane Ike had just ravaged Southeast Texas and the bottom fell out of the real estate market that same year. It was actually the best time to open a company, Harvey said. We started when the economy was at the bottom, so as the economy has grown, so have we. So as times get better, we continue to get better. Even with 17 agents coming on board with them, they knew that trying to start a new company from the ground up in that economy would be a challenge. However, their determination has paid off as Red Door Realty has become a true success story, not just in the Atascocita area, but throughout Northeast Houston and beyond. Through November of 2013, Red Door Realty sold more than $90 million in closed transactions sales, one of its best years to date. It is now the number one independent broker in Northeast Houston and is ranked 65th out of 3,528 brokerages in the Greater Houston area. Henderson attributes their business model to their success. Big franchise fees have kind of gone the way of the dinosaur, Henderson said. The paradigm has shifted. Agents dont need big broker houses to practice real estate. You used to have to depend on your broker to get listings and everything was fed through them. You had to have open house actually at your office, so people could see the new listings. Now, agents have their own listings and everything is done on the Internet. So we wanted to offer a business model where people could practice real estate and keep their money. And I think that is why we have been so successful. That model, which includes a 100 percent commission plan and zero franchise fees, has helped the company grow rapidly over the last five years. They currently have more than 50 full- or part-time agents that work all around Northeast Houston. We have a plan for every agent and it depends on where they are in their production, Henderson said. Whether you are a top producer and you are producing $10 million or more a year or if you are just doing real estate part-time, there is a plan for you. The fees are low so that you can afford to practice real estate and be part of a brokerage that we think is like a family. We consider all of our agents here our family. We want the money and the business to stay in the community, Harvey added. Instead of supporting somebody that lives in Colorado or whatever, you help support a local small business. We are here to stay. It is in our best interest to keep the community thriving. Their business model has worked so well that Henderson and Harvey have been named the Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Womens Council of Realtors both in 2008 and 2010. In addition, the growth that Red Door Realty has experienced over the last five years has led to a new endeavor as Harvey and Henderson this month opened a new office in The Woodlands. We have 60 agents at this office (Atascocita office) and we feel like that is a good number, Harvey said. We have been very successful with this office and we want to focus on other parts of Houston and grow. Instead of having a million agents at this office, we decided to spread ourselves out and grow the company. We want to invest in The Woodlands community, Henderson added. We want to become a part of that community the way we have here. We want to recruit agents that know and love The Woodlands the way we know and love Atascocita, Kingwood and Humble. As the real estate market overall in Houston, and especially in Atascocita/Humble and The Woodlands, continues to grow, Harvey and Henderson are confident their business will to continue to prosper. They predict another great year in 2014 as they continue to build their Atascocita office and start to grow their Woodlands office. And they attribute several things to their success. Number one, we are both approachable, said Henderson. We do what we say we are going to do. If we tell you we are going to do something you can write it in stone because it will get done. We dont let grass grow under our feet. We are go-getters. We seize the opportunity. But I think most important is that we believe in doing unto others as you would do unto you. That has been huge. Its a little recipe really, Harvey added. Red Door Realty is located in Atascocita at 7810 FM 1960 E., Suite 104. For more information about the company, go to reddoorrealtyandassociates.com.