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What The New "Mike & Melissa" Partnership Means

So, this past week Mike Lester and I announced our formal partnership to the world.  Since then we have gotten overwhelming support and kind words, but there also has been some confusion. So, I am going to try to clarify how the arrangement evolved, and exactly what we mean by "partnership."
Mike joined RE/MAX Commonwealth in May 2014, and has worked for me on a fixed part-time basis since that time.  In the early Summer 2015, it became clear that he was thinking seriously about going out on his own as an independent agent.  I started thinking about how I would replace him and what skills sets that replacement would need to have.  Anyone who has worked with Mike Lester knows he goes above and beyond, and always gets it done.  So the thought of having to find someone else as good, as trustworthy, as reliable, that I also got along with - it was totally depressing.  In the course of thinking through the situation, and talking it through with my significant other, it became clear to me that I really didn't want to replace Mike, I wanted to continue to work WITH Mike. 
But, why would Mike want to come work FOR me?  He'd been there, done that, and with two mega-teams that generated substantially more volume than I did.  As the wheels turned in my tiny little brain, it finally occurred to me what might be appealing to Mike would be a chance to work TOGETHER.  To work WITH me.
So, that's what I pitched.  And thankfully, he was interested.  So, after both of us had lengthy conversations with our significant others, and each other, we hammered out an arrangement. And "Mike & Melissa" was born.
So, back to the original topic.  What is "Mike & Melissa?"
1.  We Are Not a New Brokerage.  We have not left RE/MAX Commonwealth.  We do not intend to leave RE/MAX Commonwealth.  We are not a new brokerage.  We are not positioning ourselves to become a new brokerage at some time in the future.  We are two agents working together for the greatest real estate franchise in in the world!  Seriously, I love RE/MAX, and especially RE/MAX Commonwealth.
2.  We Are Not a Real Estate "Team".  At least not in the traditional real estate team model sense. In most team structures, you have a team leader, whose primary job is to get business. The team members - typically the assistant(s), buyers' agent(s), listing manager(s), transaction coordinator(s) - are the people that actually service the clients on a day-to-day basis.  We don't hand off our clients to subordinates to service.   Neither Mike nor I is a team leader.  I am not the boss of Mike, and Mike is not the boss of me.  We operate as a partnership of equals, and we work with all of our clients day in, and day out.
3.  We Are a Real Estate Partnership.  Again, maybe some folks think this is just an exercise in semantics.  But we want to throw the traditional "team" model out the window, so we are consciously trying to use different language.  We do have a fabulous Transaction Coordinator, Laura Borum, and an awesome Marketing Assistant, Brooke Bates, and we're currently in the market for a Listing Manager and a licensed assistant, so we may look like a traditional  real estate "team," and we definitely bring that depth of service.  But if you list your home with us, you will not see or hear from us only at the listing appointment when we take your listing.  We will be intimately involved with your transaction every step of the way.  And you get two experienced agents for the price of one!
4.  We Can Handle All Types of Real Estate Needs.  One of the other reasons the partnership was appealing to me - I am not going to speak for Mike, maybe he can do a guest blog post on his thought process -  was we brought some complementary skill sets and experiences to the table.  Some examples:
  • Both of us are from Richmond, although Mike grew up South of the River, and I grew up North of the River.
  • Both of us currently live in historic neighborhoods in the City.  Mike lives in the Museum District, I live in the Fan.  
  • Mike has experience with new construction, and currently represents independent builders. I know nothing about new construction transactions, although I grew up around commercial construction, which was and is my Dad's business.  
  • We are different ages - he's in his 30s, I'm in my 40s - so we have different "spheres of influence."  
  • He has more experience with suburban transactions than I do, while I have more experience in the older neighborhoods of the City of Richmond and Henrico County.
5.  We Put Your Needs First.  We do not do dual agency.  Ever.  While it is legally permissible in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we strongly believe it is ethically questionable.  Any agent acting as a dual agent, if they are doing it correctly, cannot advise either the  buyer or the seller. He or she can only stand in the middle and transcribe.  However, that agent is being paid the full commission, rather than half, for doing NO work.  Why in the world should someone be paid double for doing LESS?  Dual agency never benefits the client.  It benefits the agent.
6.  We Are Fun to Work With.  At least we think we are.  I guess we'll have to wait to hear what our past clients say on that front.  But for both Mike and I, many of our clients have become fast friends, and that is one of the reason we are in this business.  We like people.  We like real estate.  We LOVE our job.  Hopefully, that comes through.
I hope this answers questions and fills in the blanks.  
If you have any other questions, we'd certainly be happy to try to answer them.  And we hope you will follow our new business pages and accounts at the following places:
Twitter: @mikemelissarva
Emails: and
We hope to hear from you soon!  And remember, we are never to busy for your referrals!
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