Chad Carroll transformed golf training into real estate success

Chad Carroll transformed golf training into real estate success

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Chad Carroll never imagined as a kid that the work ethic he developed playing 12 hours of golf per day would one day translate into him becoming one of the top real estate agents in the country.

Today, Carroll consistently ranks as the No. 1 agent for Compass Florida, is numbered among the top 1 percent of agents nationwide and leads his own luxury team of about 45 agents and staff.

He has also been named to the second annual class of Inman Influencers and boasts 487,000 followers on Instagram.

“I was very, very competitive,” Carroll said of his youth spent devoted to golf. “And I think that’s what made me a very good businessman and taught me good work ethic, dedication, structure, etcetera.”

Without having role models in his family for how to carry out a real estate career, Carroll largely forged his own path, leaning heavily on the hard work and dedication he had cultivated his entire life.

Credit: Jeff Remas

Cut from a different mold

Carroll grew up in a small town outside of Columbus, Ohio, called Bexley, where “everybody kind of knew each other,” he said.

Nearly his entire family was in the medical profession — Carroll’s grandfather was a doctor, as was his father. His mother was a nurse, and his sister grew up to be an ER doctor, while his brother became a dentist. But Carroll never really had an interest in medicine.

“I was kind of the black sheep,” he told Inman.


Drawn to athletics, Carroll became an avid golfer from a young age and threw everything he had into the sport.

“I was traveling around almost every single week to different tournaments around the country,” Carroll explained.

When he attended university at Florida Southern College, Carroll continued to play golf and at first had hopes of going pro. But once he started competing at that level, Carroll realized that a career as a golfer might not be in the cards.

“When it comes to the professional level, you really need to have that natural talent,” he told Inman. “And I just didn’t feel that I had that.”

Carroll decided to transfer to Hofstra University in Long Island and closed out his undergraduate career with a degree in marketing and business management. After graduating, he had a short stint doing marketing for an aerospace defense company in the area and then decided to move back to Florida to work in commercial real estate at the suggestion of a friend’s dad, who worked in the industry and saw Carroll’s potential.

“He is a major, major player in the commercial world,” Carroll said of the man who became a role model to him. “He owns about 350 or 400 shopping centers around the country, and I always looked up to him as a business mentor. He thought I had what it took to get into the real estate sector, and so I followed his lead. Thankfully, that led me to the residential world, which I figured out on my own, and here we are today.”

Credit: Jeff Remas

Launching a career at a difficult time

Carroll got into residential real estate around 2009, right after the Great Recession had hit and the market was at bottom.

But instead of being discouraged about the overall state of the market or his odds going into an industry that, at the time, didn’t look very optimistic, Carroll turned what could have been seen as a negative situation into an opportunity.

“It was a very, very bad time in the marketplace, right after the recession,” Carroll said. “But, my expenses were low, and it allowed me to really focus in on learning the market and the players backward and forward so that, when the market turned around, I was there to take advantage of it.”

During those early years, Carroll faced a lot of letdowns, he said. But he never let those disappointments break him.

“There were many deals I was working on that just did not come to fruition,” Carroll said. “I learned how to manage my emotions throughout those experiences and really dial it down and take those missed opportunities as lessons and learn from them and become a better agent because of that.”

Carroll would study the situation in hindsight and ask himself questions like What could I have done differently? How can I improve? Are there things in the future that I could do that could have made me seal that deal? Or was it a lost cause?

Carroll adjusted his mindset each time to see the positives in the negative, and when he did close a deal, he reinvested his profits into the business. He also used his golf training as a model to set daily, weekly and monthly goals.

For the first six to seven years of his business, Carroll reinvested his profits to the point where he was ultimately spending $1 million-plus per year on marketing.

Credit: Justin Mein

Growing a team

Around year five of his business, Carroll realized he could do much more with a team surrounding him.

“I realized that having a team was so beneficial,” Carroll said. “That you could cover more areas than just one little sector, and that we weren’t limiting ourselves to one little area.”

“Then on top of that, I realized that I was turning into a really killer agent and wanted to help other people become the same caliber of agent,” he added.

Several of Carroll’s teammates have been with him now for close to 10 years, he said.

“And they’re growing every year, year-over-year, and it’s really an amazing thing to watch. That was my goal — just create a bunch of killer agents with great work ethic and attention to detail.”

The team specializes in South Florida’s ultra-high-end market and has broken records in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

“We’re always striving to do better, to gain more market share in different areas and do the best job we can for our clients,” Carroll said.

In the near future, Carroll said he hopes to continue growing the team and its market share in a “very positive way.” The team plans to expand into more markets throughout Florida, New York, the West Coast and Chicago in upcoming years.

“I want to mentor more people individually and show them how to compete at the high end of the market; show them what it takes,” Carroll told Inman. “Because I think a lot of people say they want to do it, but they don’t understand what it really takes, day in and day out, to compete at that level. It’s very easy to do one sale, but to stay at the top is a challenge, and I think I know how to navigate that system very well and would like to teach more people how to do that.”

Credit: Justin Mein

Social media

Wielding social media in his business has helped Carroll reach potential high-end clients all over the world, he told Inman. It has also helped shape the team, in one way, to meet demand.

“We’ve closed countless transactions with people [who speak] other languages,” Carroll said. “Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Hebrew, you name it. That’s one of the things that I noticed [through social media engagement] and we started to incorporate within the team. We’ve got Russian-speaking, Portuguese, Spanish, and all these [agents who speak] different languages so we can facilitate these transactions in a much smoother way. We try to meet the client’s expectations of having a native language speaker, and it’s really helped our business dramatically.”

In addition to connecting with new and established clients, Carroll said he sees social media as a valuable motivational tool that can help other agents reach new heights, particularly when they learn how he had to make his own way in the industry, but today is one of the top agents in the country.

“I have people reaching out to me every single day saying, ‘Teach me the ropes. Tell me what you did and how you did it.’” Carroll said. “And a lot of these random people that follow me, I’ll respond to and give advice to them.”

Maintaining transparency

In addition to his work ethic, Carroll says his other secret to success is being completely transparent with clients and not giving in to what he knows they want to hear.

“It sounds great, but that’s not the reality,” Carroll said of other agents who appease their clients, even if they know it will make things more difficult in the long run. “Most of the time, you have to show them what the reality is today and explain to them why it is that way and what you can do for them. So I don’t ever over-promise. I like to set expectations the right way and over-perform.”

Email Lillian Dickerson

House made famous by ‘Home Alone’ hits market for $5.25M

House made famous by ‘Home Alone’ hits market for $5.25M

The red brick Georgian mansion, known by children all over the world as Kevin McCallister’s home, is back on the market after 12 years and comes with a large Kevin Lego figure for the home theater.

At Inman Connect Las Vegas, July 30-Aug. 1 2024, the noise and misinformation will be banished, all your big questions will be answered, and new business opportunities will be revealed. Join us.

A red brick Georgian mansion known by children all over the world as Kevin McCallister’s home is back on the market after 12 years for $5.25 million.

Tim and Trisha Johnson, who are selling the property with the assistance of Katie Moor and Dawn McKenna of Coldwell Banker Realty, told The Wall Street Journal it’s not unusual for fans of Home Alone to stop by the house in Winnetka, Illinois, for a photo or to recreate their favorite scenes from the movie.

“Sometimes we’ll hear the Kevin scream,” Trisha told The WSJ. “It’s a lot of fun to see people as excited as they are, just to see my house.”

The couple purchased the home in 2012 for $1.585 million, according to property records. At that time, the home had already been altered a bit from how it appears in the 1990 film starring Macaulay Culkin, in which Culkin’s character gets left behind when his family goes on vacation to France over Christmas.

Four years after taking ownership of the property, the Johnsons did an extensive renovation of their own, finishing and expanding the basement, adding a home theater and sports court and reconfiguring parts of the house.

The home was originally built in the 1920s and spans about 5,700 square feet on half an acre of land.

When the Johnsons were house hunting all those years ago, Trisha confided to Tim that she had always dreaming of having a home like the red brick Georgian featured in Home Alone. “At the time, neither of us knew it was in Illinois, let alone in one of the towns we were considering,” she told The WSJ. “We found out that it was in Winnetka when our agent added it to our list of homes to see.”

When the couple did their renovation, they left some crucial features intact that are part of iconic scenes from Home Alone, like the front door and the central staircase that Kevin sleds down. “That was in the movie and it’s classic,” Trisha said. “We didn’t want to take that out or touch it in any way.”

The theater, which features seven custom seats and a bar, is also home to a Lego replica of the house the Johnsons built and a large Kevin Lego figure that Lego offered the couple. They will leave both with the house when they sell.

The couple decided to let go of the property now to take advantage of the luxury inventory crunch, despite their love of the home, Trisha told The WSJ.

Listing agent Katie Moor said, “Each year, we seem to have more buyers looking and inventory is so slim.”

The median sale price of a home in Winnetka was $1.4 million in April, down 4 percent year over year, according to Redfin. The real estate company said the market is “somewhat competitive,” with some homes receiving multiple offers and the average property selling for 4 percent above asking.

“I’m in a multiple-offer situation now on a $4 million house, and that’s not uncommon,” Moor added.

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New Trixie Mattel series features real estate celeb cameos

New Trixie Mattel series features real estate celeb cameos

Christine Quinn and a number of other stars are set to make an appearance on “Trixie Motel: Drag Me Home,” a new HGTV series that premieres on Max on June 1.

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Drag superstar Trixie Mattel is launching a new celebrity-studded home renovation series with HGTV that will feature some big names from real estate and pop culture at large.

The series, Trixie Motel: Drag Me Home, will follow Mattel and her partner, David Silver, as, one month into co-owning their Palm Springs motel together, the couple embark on the thrilling journey of buying and renovating a home together in Los Angeles.

A series trailer from Max, which will air the show beginning on June 1, reveals a host of celebrities set to make an appearance on the series — including none other than Christine Quinn, formerly of Selling Sunset and The Oppenheim Group.

Quinn is the couple’s real estate agent and set on helping them find the home of their dreams.

“Trixie and David are the best clients ever because they always tell me I’m pretty and my hair looks good,” Quinn says in a trailer Max released on Thursday.

As the trailer goes on, viewers get a sneak peek into some of the homes Mattel and Silver consider in their home search, including the “storybook home” it appears the couple may have landed on.

In the trailer, Mattel also seemingly tries to enlist Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott to help with the home renovation, but ultimately decides that their sexual orientation doesn’t really work within her parameters.

“I need someone gay,” Mattel tells Drew on the phone. “Could you call your brother?” after which Jonathan cuts into the call to say, “Yes, we know just the guy.”

Enter designer and HGTV star Dan Vickery who flies in on the scene to help Mattel channel Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” into the home’s design.

Other celebrities who pop up in the trailer include comedian Nicole Byer, drag stars Katya Zamolodchikova and Juno Birch, reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump, country musician Orville Peck and comedian Brittany Broski. The series will include four hour-long episodes, according to HGTV.

“We’ll sprinkle some Trixie Mattel magic and pinkify everything from top to bottom,” Mattel says in the trailer. “I can’t wait to see how this turns out.”

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Morgan Stanley exec: Prepare now for the new wave of wealth

Morgan Stanley exec: Prepare now for the new wave of wealth

At Inman Connect Las Vegas, July 30-Aug. 1, 2024, the noise and misinformation will be banished, all your big questions will be answered, and new business opportunities will be revealed. Join us.

Within the next 10 years or less, new wealth demographics will enter the market — and if they haven’t already, real estate agents need to start forging connections with those future clients now, Ileana Musa of Morgan Stanley told moderator Stephanie Anton and other attendees at Inman Connect Miami on Wednesday.

In the next few years, as baby boomers pass away and transfer their assets to younger generations, over $84 trillion in assets will go into the hands of millennials, Gen Zers and Zoomers, Musa said. Thus, the time for both wealth asset managers and real estate agents alike to develop relationships with the younger generation is right now.


“You have to start with them early,” Musa said, “when that next generation is coming into the wealth, because by the time they inherit the wealth, they’re going to be making decisions. And if you haven’t been at that table and you haven’t been engaged with them, they’re not going to choose you.”

In addition to being data- and market-savvy, agents can help forge those relationships by simply offering some more general advice about estate planning that shows the family you appreciate the bigger picture, Musa said.

“Oftentimes, folks think that this business is focused on investing and rate of return, but it has really evolved quite a bit to be advice-driven,” she said. “So you spend a lot of time not just thinking about the return on the portfolio, but building that road map for the family that includes the kids in terms of how you structure that wealth.”

“It’s not just the transaction — it’s the advice that the clients and the families value, because there’s no finish line in terms of the advice business,” she added. “Clients need it.”

During her own recent journey of buying one apartment and selling another in New York City, Musa said she found herself most drawn to agents who didn’t start the conversation off by asking if they could list her home, but rather those who were interested in educating her about market trends and inventory levels in her neighborhood.

“Because they were giving me guidance in terms of things I needed to know,” Musa said.

The generational shifts among foreign national investors also pose “a mammoth opportunity,” Musa added.

In the last 15 years, many foreign nationals shifted their investments to the U.S. after the common reporting standard was enacted. Under this standard, financial institutions were required to disclose who was doing business with them, because many foreign nationals place trust in U.S. financial systems, Musa explained.

Now, many of those families have students who have or are currently attending college in the U.S. and maturing into adulthood. Many of them will be preparing to make their first real estate transaction soon, too.

“Whether it’s a family spending time here, growing roots here, their kids are coming to school here, [there are] more and more real estate purchases,” Musa said.

Roughly $53 billion was spent by foreign nationals on real estate purchases in the U.S. between 2022 and 2023, Musa added, with about 50 percent of those coming from Latin America.

With the shift in wealth, agents need to consider how these emerging buyer pools think, and be sure that they can meet them where they’re at.

“So now you have to think, ‘OK, that next generation, how do they think?’” Musa said. “‘How do they make buying decisions?’ ‘Am I connected to them?’”

Women are also poised to emerge as a larger wealth demographic in upcoming years, Musa said, which is another factor that agents need to consider. Latinos are also now the majority-minority in the U.S., Musa added, and another demographic to forge connections with.

“One-third of the wealth in this country is owned by women,” Musa said. “But it’s going to be two-thirds by 2030. So, gentlemen, women will outlive you. So a lot of the work we do is, ‘Are you prepared?’”

As agents have meetings with their older clients, start looping the younger generation (and women) into the conversation, Musa suggested. If it’s by Zoom, simply ask if the kids are around and would like to listen in to get the ball rolling.

“By the second or third time you start to bring them in, they start to influence a decision on a sale that you’re ultimately going to make,” Musa said. “And as a result, you may end up getting a new client.”

At the end of the day, finding ways to advise beyond just the transaction will help agents gain trusted clients for life, Musa said.

“Finding creative ways to offer that advice beyond making a sale is the X factor.”

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Graceland saved from auction for now, court chancellor rules

Graceland saved from auction for now, court chancellor rules

The historic mansion where Elvis once lived will remain in the Presley family’s hands following a lawsuit filed by the actor Riley Keough, Elvis’ granddaughter, which alleged the company trying to sell it had committed fraud.

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Graceland has been saved from the auction block for now, a Tennessee court chancellor ruled on Wednesday.

A foreclosure auction of the historic property where Elvis Presley lived for 20 years had been planned for Thursday, but in a court hearing Wednesday, Chancellor JoeDae Jenkins said the final determination on the home’s future would be made at a later hearing once it becomes clear who holds rightful ownership of the mansion.

Actor Riley Keough, the eldest daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and sole granddaughter of Elvis, had earlier this month filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the auctioning off of Graceland, according to various reports.


The hearing on Wednesday determined that the auction of the estate would irreparably harm Keough, who took ownership of the estate and tourist attraction last year, CNN reported.

“The estate is considered unique under Tennessee law, and in being unique the loss of the real estate will be considered irreparable harm,” Jenkins said.

Court papers filed by Keough’s lawyers allege that the company that had attempted to put the storied mansion and tourist attraction up for auction fraudulently claimed Lisa Marie Presley, who died in 2023, had borrowed money and used Graceland as collateral. Court documents say the company in question, Naussany Investments & Private Lending LLC, “appears to be a false identity,” and that documents surrounding the loan are also fraudulent.

Naussany Investments filed a public notice of foreclosure sale on May 19, 2024 in Tennessee, claiming Lisa Marie Presley had defaulted on a $3.8 million loan made to her by the company. Following her default, the group said it took ownership of the home and would be selling to the highest bidder come Thursday.

“Elvis Presley Enterprises can confirm that these claims are fraudulent,” the organization that manages Graceland said in a statement. “The counter lawsuit has been filed to stop the fraud.”

Chancery Court in Shelby County, Tennessee, had granted Keough a temporary restraining order on the sale last week ahead of Wednesday’s hearing.

Graceland living room | Credit: Terry Waggoner / Wikimedia Commons

Months after Lisa Marie Presley died, Naussany Investments revealed documents claiming that she had borrowed $3.8 million from the company and “gave a deed of trust encumbering Graceland as security,” according to documents Elvis Presley Enterprises showed to The New York Times.

A promissory note related to the debt appeared to be notarized in Florida in 2018, but the notary named on the document recently signed an affidavit stating that she had “never met Lisa Marie Presley, nor have I ever notarized a document signed by Lisa Marie Presley.”

Efforts made by The NYT and The Wall Street Journal to reach Naussany Investments by phone and email were unsuccessful, with one phone number associated with the company out of service. A Jacksonville, Florida, address associated with the group is for a UPS store.

Following Lisa Marie Presley’s death last year, Keough, who starred in Daisy Jones and the Six, engaged in a legal battle with her grandmother, Priscilla Presley, to become sole trustee of the Promenade Trust, established by her mother in 1993. Despite growing the trust’s assets to more than $100 million by 2005, Lisa Marie Presley also incurred more than $3 million in debt over the years, according to a 2022 income and expense declaration, which forced her to sell 85 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises. It is still unclear to whom that debt is owed, however.

Through all her financial woes, Lisa Marie Presley managed to keep Graceland in the family. The Colonial revival was Elvis’ home from 1957 until his death in 1977. The property was appraised at $5.6 million in 2021, but generates much more income as a tourist attraction, and the complex also features an exhibition center and a 450-room hotel. The mansion brought in at least $80 million in 2022, much of which supports Elvis Presley Enterprises.

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Email Lillian Dickerson