Riley’s interest in real estate began at age 20 when he bought his first home. He wrote his senior thesis on owning a real estate company and another paper on how a salesperson could survive a recession. By then it was clear he would pursue a real estate career rather than take over the family business and become a fourth-generation farmer. Still, he returns to the farm often and has been known to close a deal while riding in a combine. Riley closed $21 million in sales on 47 transactions in 2004 and won the Century 21 Quality Service award.
Personal touch: Riley tries to meet face-to-face with past clients once or twice a year. He also sends handwritten notes, hosts a client holiday party, and gives customized gifts for closings and special milestones. Strategic alliances with lenders, escrow officers, contractors, and termite companies expand his sphere of influence and save him time.
Board meetings: Riley says he works 80 hours per week but still finds time for surfing and mountain biking, activities that help him connect with new prospects. “I’ve put several deals together sitting on a surfboard while waiting for waves.”