From left to right: John Carey, Sr., John Carey, Jr., Mike Allen, Mike Gutierrez. Photo contributed.

published on June 9, 2022 - 9:30 AM
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The sale of one of Fresno’s oldest real estate brokerages meant for one owner the ability to retire, another the chance to return to their passion, and for the buyer, a long-awaited entry into the Fresno market.

Mike Allen and Michael Gutierrez of Visalia-based Century 21 Jordan Link & Co. announced the acquisition of Fresno-based Century 21 C. Watson. The deal was finalized in November 2021 and for all parties involved, it meant a mutually beneficial relationship, said John Carey, Sr., former owner/broker.

“We had talked with Mike and Michael for two or three years, they wanted to come to Fresno but they didn’t really want to compete with us,” Carey said. “It was a way for everybody to have a win-win situation.”

The name of what Carey says is the oldest residential real estate brokerage in Fresno — starting back in 1959 — will remain the same, as will the agents who work there.

But for Allen and Gutierrez of Jordan Link & Co., it means continuing the growth for their brokerage they began when they purchased the agency in 2017.

Gutierrez, managing broker for both Jordan Link & Co. and C. Watson, said the acquisition allows them biggest market center in the Central Valley.

“We knew that in order for us to get where we wanted to be in both agent count and gross revenue, we needed to be in Fresno,” Gutierrez said. “But we needed to work with the right company, with the right people and to do it responsibly.”

Allen and Gutierrez purchased Jordan Link & Co. from then-owner Bill Jordan in 2017. Since purchasing, Allen said they have tripled the business, in revenue, agent count and office count. They expanded from one county to now four with offices in Visalia, Porterville, Delano, Bakersfield, Hanford and now Fresno. They now have just under 350 agents.

Their goal for some time had been to enter the Fresno market, said Allen.

But they were never going to do it having to compete with another Century 21 office.

“We always wanted to do it if there’s a way to join forces and do it together and make it work for everybody,” Allen said. “That’s what happened in November.”

The name stays the same, agents with C. Watson get to keep their old business cards and for clients, not much will change, said Gutierrez. The culture at C. Watson was very similar to how they run things at Jordan Link, he went on to say.

For Carey, who began working for then-owner Charles Watson in 1969, it means he can do wants to do. He still comes into the office and attends sales meetings, he said.

For John Carey, Jr., former president of C. Watson, it means returning to his passion.

Operating a brokerage their size out a single office is difficult in this day and age, he said. Growth means opening more than one office and he didn’t want to do that. So letting Jordan Link come in means the office can grow and he go back to selling, which is where his passion is.

“I’m excited to get back to the simplicity of the business,” Carey, Jr. said.

He works with his nephew, Vinnie Vidaurri, whom Carey says has skills he doesn’t have, while Carey has skills Vidaurri doesn’t have, making a good partnership.

Gutierrez and Allen don’t want growth for Jordan Link & Co. to end with Fresno. But they want to do it responsibly, they said.

Licensed to operate throughout California, Allen said they have received offers to acquire other businesses.
“We’ve said ‘no’ more than we’ve said ‘yes,’” said Allen.

They are looking at branching out to the Central Coast or Ventura County, closer to areas where they have market expertise.

They do about 2,100 transctions a year, said Gutierrez and they anticipate doing about 2,600 this year. But they want to be good for the neighborhood.

“We give where we live,” said Gutierrez. “We live it, we breathe it, we do it, it’s not just lip service.”

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