John Ryan and Anne Ryan of The Ryan Tradition

Through the years, John Ryan and Anne Ryan have encountered the rollercoaster of highs and lows that is the real estate market. Using their decades of experience to guide clients through those ups and downs, the mother-and-son team of The Ryan Tradition continues to flourish today. “We have the hands-on knowledge to help both buyers and sellers through today’s market,” John Ryan says. “You can only go so far with data—you need to have that intuitive insight, as well.”

Around 1970, when John and his sister, Carole, were in high school, their mother was recruited by family friend Ira Berry into his real estate company. Berry recognized the power of female agents during a time when the business was dominated by males, and Anne Ryan quickly thrived. By 1979, she had started a fine properties division focused on luxury homes. Meanwhile, her son started in commercial real estate out of college in 1978. In 1991, he joined Anne, forming The Ryan Tradition under the umbrella of what is now Coldwell Banker Gundaker. “The dynamics of the industry were changing considerably—there was more automation, and the business was becoming much more professional and organized,” he explains. “We had a lot of complementing talents, and with our business and personal connections, it was a great opportunity.”

Today, the duo is at the top of their game, focused in the upper price range of buyers and sellers. The Ryans, along with team members Aimee Simpson and Sharon Stirrat, primarily work with corporate professionals, including many CEOs relocating to St. Louis. “It’s more than just finding a house; there are so many variables and choices. Because we have such a broad knowledge of the market and the community, we’re very comfortable helping people through that process and sharing the aspects of every location,” Ryan says.

In 2011, the team did $47 million in volume, with an average sale price of $2.2 million (up from its normal average of $1.5 million). That $47 million earned The Ryan Tradition a place on The Wall Street Journal and Real Trends, Inc.’s 2012 list of the Top 1,000 real estate professionals, ranking No. 168 in the Top 250 Sales Professionals by Transaction Volume category. “Just because you’re in a strong market position doesn’t mean deals are going to fall out of the sky— you have to earn every one,” Ryan says.

The majority of the Ryans’ business takes place in the central corridor. A prime example of its inventory is 15 Huntleigh Woods. The 4-year-old Dick Busch-designed home includes amenities like a movie theater, wine cellar and two-level outdoor pool. Listed for $4.495 million, the property sits in a unique neighborhood of impressive houses where the team has done multiple transactions, Ryan notes.

After more than 20 years working alongside his mother, Ryan is appreciative of the success they have been able to achieve together. “She built a great base, and the fact that we’ve been able to sustain and grow it, while providing the services we do, is very rewarding.”

While Ryan now leads the team, his mother remains very active in the business and the community. As Ryan looks to the future, he recognizes the biggest challenge is adjusting to the ever-changing market. “You have to be aware of how the market has shifted and where it’s going to go from here. As the market starts to rise again, it’s a positive thing, but you have to make sure you advise your buyers and sellers properly so they don’t have unrealistic expectations.”

Ryan says no matter which way the market turns in years to come, The Ryan Tradition will be ready. “Ira Berry had a saying: No transaction is worth your reputation. We try to adhere to that and provide the best service possible. Someone may ask us, Is this the right time to sell our house? We may tell them no, but when it is the right time, we’ll still be here.”

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