Working Family

Working Family

John Medaris and family work at new realty company.

Real estate is important to the Medaris family. John Medaris, who began "Team Medaris" while at RE/MAX 10 years ago, now works with all three of his family members at the new Exit Advantage Realty in Fairfax. Exit Advantage Realty, a franchise of a Canada-based real estate company, is referral-based and operates from the idea of Realtors working together. The Fairfax Station resident recently sat down for an interview about himself and his business.

How long have you been in this community and what brought you here? Thirty years. Before that I lived in Chevy Chase. I was courting my wife, and we got married and then moved to this area.

Family: We’re a working family, we’re all real estate agents. My wife, Linda, is an agent. My daughter, Kerry, is an agent. She’s 25. And my son Chris, who’s 23, is an agent. Both the kids worked their way through college selling real estate. So, we all basically lived together, in fact we home-schooled both of the kids. We would do a four-day school and enable them to do outside work. Kerry graduated from Mason and Chris graduated from Grove City College in western Pennsylvania. They both worked their way through high school on Capitol Hill, which was pretty cool … for the first half of the day, up until noon, was school, and then if they got their work done they could hang with me, and I would drag them around with me to all these real estate things. When I was showing houses, I would take them with me, so they got a chance to be subliminally exposed to this.

What’s it like to work with family? It’s fun. It’s a blast. I’m sure we’re not much different than most Realtors that in our spare time, what do we do? Go out and look at houses.

Education: I started at Pitt, but I really tell people I went to George Washington University. I was working on a master’s degree in finance, and I passed two parts of the CPA exam and finally just had this wake-up call saying, “What are you doing? You’re not a bean-counter desk-jockey type,” and I thought, “This is insane.” So I quit the MBA, quit pursuing the CPA certificate and decided I wanted to go into real estate. Which was a lot more fun.

When did you start Team Medaris? We had a team for 10 years. My deal with RE-MAX was I wanted to stay in a separate company, mainly because if I ever wanted to change the name over the door I could just basically change business cards and boom. Then RE-MAX wanted me to take that team that was with John Medaris and Associates, and transfer them into RE-MAX, and my contention is that the enemy of synergy is autonomy.

First job: Newspaper boy — Washington Post in the morning and the Washington Star in the evenings. I had two paper routes, I would get up at the crack of dawn to deliver papers. In fact, I was too young to be a paper boy, but somehow I got to do it anyway.

Hobbies/activities: Sailing. My college dorm room was a sailboat. I worked my way through college on the railroads, in Potomac Yards in Alexandria. I had all my classes clustered on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I’d be out of school by 12, 1 o’clock. I had a Triumph TR-3, and I’d throw my sailbags on the back of the TR-3 and drive 80 miles an hour to Annapolis. And I would jump on my boat and sail off and I would come back Tuesday morning about 6 a.m. and race back to GW and be there for class at 8 in the morning.

Favorite local restaurant or place to hang out? Coastal Flats.

Last book you read or the last movie you watched? It’s a book on tape, it’s called “Failing Forward” by Dr. John Maxwell. How did Exit Advantage begin? I was at RE-MAX, love RE-MAX, thought I’d be one of those guys they’d carry out when he fell out of his chair. I never could conceive of leaving. One day the sales manager out of the Burke office came and said, “This team thing you got going here, we think they really ought to be carrying RE-MAX cards.” We made really, really, really sure that if we were going to do this, we were going to do this the right way. We just didn’t want to pay the RE-MAX fees on team members ... I thought to myself, before I pay $5,000 a month or $60,000 a year to have a balloon on my business card, I’d rather have a waterfront property.

Personal and business goals? Business goals are to get up to 40 producing agents, open office number two. Every multiple of 40 agents we’ll open another office, the goal being to have one in every Zip code in Northern Virginia. And to train all the agents to work by referral and to all do a minimum of 12 transactions a year, the minimum being 30 transactions a year. And to have a life, not working 24/7. You don’t have to work like a slave in this business. Personally, I’d like to do 75 transactions in the next year.

If you could go on a road trip anywhere in the U.S. right now, where would you go? I would take Chris and my son-in-law Jason, and we would rent Harley-Davidsons and we would go down the California coastline to Baja. And we would sleep in tents and we would eat at great restaurants the whole way.

— Lea Mae Rice