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VIProfile: Andrew McGranaghan and Claudia Stallings

Story by Gay Lyons

Andrew McGranaghan and Claudia Stallings recently described Wallace Real Estate’s decision not to renew the business’s partnership agreement with Coldwell Banker, which expired March 31, as a “return to its roots.”

Starting with its founding in 1936, the business has been owned by the Wallace family, who started the business in the Arcade Building on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. The business expanded with six offices across east Tennessee, “from Johnson City to Crossville,” said McGranaghan. Wallace and Wallace partnered with Coldwell Banker for 35 years, offering residential and commercial sales, property management and insurance and title services.

“The firm greatly expanded through the years, employing nearly 500 agents and doing over a billion dollars in sales,” said Stallings. “We sold over 4,000 homes in 2022. This move makes us the largest locally owned independent brokerage headquartered in East Tennessee.”

Stallings, a native Tennessean and University of Tennessee graduate, started in real estate in 2004. In 2010, she brokered the Farragut office, in 2015, she became residential sales manager and in 2019, she became a partner. McGranaghan, a native Knoxvillian and University of Tennessee graduate, started his career in real estate in 2015, working in various areas, and became a partner in 2021.

Stallings and McGranaghan described themselves as the first partners who are not Wallaces. Stallings is also the first female partner. McGranaghan, though not a Wallace, has a family connection: He’s married to partner Jim Wallace’s daughter, Julie.

According to Stallings, the four partners, Jim and George Wallace, Stallings and McGranaghan, saw numerous advantages to becoming an independent brokerage once again.

“We realized we could be more nimble than a franchise allows,” she said. “There are a lot of tools out there for an agent. When those are selected for you, it may not be what works best in the local community.”

According to McGranaghan, serving the local community is paramount. “Since Covid there’s been a push to shop locally, to work with people you trust,” he said.
“We are the local experts. We are locally owned and locally invested. This gives us more opportunities to grow, to attract new agents and to provide innovative marketing solutions for our buyers and sellers.”

“With the Wallace brand, the local connection is important to us,” he continued. “It’s important that we give back to the community. Our loyalty is to our local community. We just built a Habitat for Humanity house, we support the United Way and ChildHelp, we sponsor the Knoxville Museum of Art’s Holiday Home Tour and we’re partners with the Chamber of Commerce.”

“Our business is competitive,” added Stallings. “We’ve planted a stake in the ground to be the local full service brokerage. We want to maintain our culture and our values and remain competitive for our agents. We consider our agents to be our first clients. We take care of them so they can take care of their buyers and sellers.”

“The world of real estate has changed so much,” she continued. “Consumers have changed the way they shop for homes. We used to buy pages of advertising. Now it’s all digital. We do virtual tours.”

Independence does not mean the partners don’t have networks. “We’ve joined Leading Real Estate Companies of the World,” explained Stallings. “It’s a network of independent brokers across the country. We’re experiencing ‘the postmodern great migration.’ We have colleagues in places where people are moving from. They are sending people to us.”

“We get the advantages of a national network without the rules of a franchise,” added McGranaghan.

Stallings and McGranaghan find their work rewarding. “We get to solve problems for people on a daily basis and help them with the largest transaction of their lives,” said McGranaghan. “We also get to help agents build their business.”

“Moving is hard,” said Stallings. “People move for two reasons: towards pleasure or away from pain. I’ve never viewed myself as a salesperson. When you sit at the closing table, and you’ve helped someone with that transaction, it’s a big deal.”

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