From its humble beginnings with only five agents, Janet McAfee Real Estate now has more than 160 professional agents, corporate headquarters in Ladue, and a strong presence in St. Louis’ most exclusive communities. “We started out in founder Janet McAfee’s basement back in 1975,” says president Ted Thornhill. “Today, we’re the largest independently owned luxury real estate firm in St. Louis. We’re perfectly positioned to guide and serve in an active luxury market.”

But that market hasn’t exactly been thriving over the last couple of years. “There’s some activity around the $1 million-plus level, but it slows down after that,” Thornhill admits. “Homes are staying on the market longer; when they do sell, prices are closer to 2005 and 2006 levels. Anyone who chooses to sell in this market had better understand it, and price their home realistically. Bring it on at the wrong price, and it will sit. People recognize good value, and that’s what they’re buying.”

Despite a still-sluggish market, McAfee’s business is up slightly from last year, a coup Thornhill attributes to a 2009 merger with Edward L. Bakewell Realtors. “And the luxury condo market is showing signs of positive activity,” he reports. The firm’s enduring success stems from its dedicated agents, global network of relocation affiliations, marketing expertise, and strong staff support, notes Thornhill. “We’ve weathered the storm through three decades of housing cycles because we believe in teamwork. Our agents are the most experienced and knowledgeable in the field. They can advise and guide you through the process from beginning to end.”

McAfee has a high-profile presence in every community in the central corridor, Thornhill says. “Our depth and diversity are remarkable. In 2009, we had the third-largest market share and the highest average list and sale price in the central corridor.” The firm also has a large, influential relocation network and a full-time relocation director, he explains. “In addition to outbound referrals, we also source inbound relocation buyers through relocation affiliations, St. Louis corporate clients and agent contacts.”

McAfee supports its agents with comprehensive marketing opportunities, including digital exposure, print ads, direct marketing, professionally produced brochures, and other promotional materials produced through the firm’s in-house marketing department, Thornhill adds. “Our marketing does more than differentiate our properties in a crowded marketplace—it gives your home a true competitive advantage,” he says. “We try to position each home so it sells at optimum value.”

Since 87 percent of all buyers use the Internet to search for homes, reaching this substantial audience is a high priority. “We do everything possible to help our agents win new business, handle existing business and grow their network,” Thornhill says. “We invest in local, national and global digital networks that offer maximum visibility for our listed properties. With digital marketing, we can quickly link our clients with prospective buyers.”

But technology is only as good as the people who use it. “These days, it’s easy to reach people electronically, but difficult to establish a trusting relationship with them,” Thornhill says. “Our agents are worthy of their clients’ trust. They drive our business. They have access to terrific networks of buyers, and they’re experts in the areas where they live and work. Their knowledge and contacts are unparalleled; their commitment to service has never been stronger. The luxury market will bounce back. I wish I could tell you when. But when it does, McAfee will be ready.”

On the Cover: Janet McAfee Real Estate, a full-service residential real estate company with more than 160 agents, has served buyers and sellers in the St. Louis area since 1975. Its agents have extensive experience in the luxury market.  For more information, call 997-4800 or visit Cover photo by Peaks View Photography

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