Michael Pion didn’t have to move very far to start the next chapter of his real estate career: Running his own company.
Over the last three weeks, his NextHome Capital Realty has been settling into a 2,200-square-foot office at 4349 Carlisle Pike, a short walk from Pion’s former employer, Keller Williams of Central PA.
Pion, 39, who got into real estate back in 2001, said it’s always been his dream to own his own business. And opening a local franchise for California-based NextHome, which got started two years ago and is rapidly expanding across the country, was the right opportunity to do that.
“It’s a big sandbox with enough out there to do really well,” Pion said. The local housing market has been on the rise for about the last five years following a few down years during and after the recession.
It’s also a local market dominated by larger companies, including many national franchises, who call that area of the Carlisle Pike in Hampden Township home.
Despite the rising home sales, there haven’t been too many new companies in recent years. Many larger independents have been acquired by the big firms.
“We wanted to be in the heart of the area,” Pion said.
Pion, who spent almost 11 years at Keller Williams, is well known in the Harrisburg area, having served as past president of the board at the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors. He’s also one of the higher performing agents in the area with about $15 million in annual sales volume.
He currently has about 15 agents on staff, with a goal of about 30 or 40. If things go well, he said he could see having an East Shore office to better serve the Harrisburg area.
The NextHome franchise launched in 2014 hoping to appeal to smaller and medium sized real estate brokerages. That appealed to Pion, who said he’s looking for quality and not quantity in terms of agents.
He also sees NextHome, with its bright orange color and french bulldog mascot named Luke, as a brand that will appeal more to younger millennial agents that the industry is hoping to attract as the profession has been skewing older.
The franchise has a robust online platform that’s built for mobility with easy-to-access tools and training that Pion said he could have never offered on his own.
“The goal is to create more opportunity for agents,” he said.
NextHome Capital Realty also is in the process of starting up its own title company.
Meanwhile, the market should continue to perform well, he said. “We’re seeing a lot of new construction.”
His team represents several new and growing communities, including the new Grayhawk Landing development in the popular Cumberland Valley School District. He also has Avery Glen in Hampden Township, while other agents represent new homes being sold in Autumn Oaks and Maiden Creek in Lower Paxton Township.