If you’re not familiar yet with the name Nebraska Realty, it’s understandable. Formerly Deeb Realty, the company recently changed brands but is still one of the largest real estate companies in the state. And if you aren’t familiar with the name Andy Alloway, the company’s CEO, that’s not surprising. Even though he bought Deeb six years ago, he likes to give the rest of his management team credit for the growth the company has experienced, but every good team has a strong leader.
An Omaha native, Alloway grew up with a love for sports and earned a degree in exercise science from Northwest Missouri State University. Following college he helped train the Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league baseball team. But during their first off-season, he took a real estate class, and something clicked. His instructor, Paul Vojchehoske, suggested he talk to Van Deeb to find out more about the business. As a result, Alloway joined Deeb Realty, which only had 20 agents at the time. Fourteen years later, Nebraska Realty has 320 agents throughout Nebraska and Iowa.
Alloway and Deeb grew the company together, forming a real estate business unlike any other. Alloway describes Nebraska Realty as an “agent-centric” firm rather than the traditional “broker-centric,” which requires agents to pay the broker fees and follow sales quotas. “We’ve never charged a dime in fees to our agents,” Alloway said. “Our number one customers are our agents, and everything we do is to help make their businesses successful. It’s not about the name on the sign or how fast a home sells. It’s about the realtors, and they are the ones on the front lines delivering service.”
Alloway and his team recognize that in order for their agents to be successful, the company needs to give them tools that will enable growth such as training, technology, and facilities. Nebraska Realty will be moving to a new 46,000 sq. ft. building in West Omaha, which they encourage their agents to use. “We want to provide them with the best support and marketing so their business is easier to do,” Alloway said.
Because they don’t charge their agents hidden fees, Alloway said their agents make more money per transaction. “One of our cornerstones is flexibility,” he said. “We don’t incorporate strict company policies, and management’s doors are always open. We’re here to help them. The rising tide lifts all boats. The more resources we have to put back into our agents, then the more they’re able to put into their clients. Our most important aspect is agent retention.”
In fact, it was such a priority, that when Alloway bought the company from Deeb, they completed the transition in just one week. It went so smoothly, they didn’t lose a single agent. “That’s one of the things we’re most proud of,” Alloway said. “We have our agents’ best interest at heart. A majority of the decisions we make are the result of agent suggestions.”
The smooth transition could also be attributed to Alloway’s conviction in believing things happen for a reason. Even though he bought the company in 2009 during one of the largest real estate downturns, he never hesitated. “The state of the market didn’t worry me,” he said. “It wasn’t going to last forever, and I knew the company had lots of potential, because I knew if we treated people well, then the company couldn’t help but grow.”
Leading a large, growing real estate company that relies on evening and weekends can be demanding, especially on family time. But Alloway makes his two children, Savanna and Jake, ages seven and four, an even larger priority. He attributes much of the company’s success to his team, chief among them Christy Leesly, COO and Associate Broker, and Paul Vojchehoske, Executive Vice President—and his original real estate instructor. “Andy takes care of everyone and is so loyal, sincere, and genuine,” Leesly said. “He doesn’t do anything unless it’s right for our agents. I’m lucky because I get to work for a true friend.”
Even as a student, Alloway exhibited leadership qualities. “He believes in integrity with business practices,” Vojchehoske said. “It’s not about making the sale, but about doing it the right way.” Alloway sits on a number of local and state real estate boards because he wants to not only help change the industry for the better, but he wants to demonstrate a high level of professionalism. “I have two things I ask of all our agents: represent yourself and your company in a professional manner.”
With a leader like Alloway at the helm, it’s easy to see why Nebraska Realty’s goal is to be one of the biggest and best real estate companies in Nebraska and Iowa. The name change is meant to reflect that goal as well. “When you’re growing to become a large company, you want a name that projects that,” Alloway said. “It represents longevity. And that’s the last piece to the puzzle. It really says who we are.”