Left to right: John Carey, Sr., John Carey, Jr., Mike Allen, Mike Gutierrez. Photo contributed.
The sale of one of Fresno’s oldest real estate agencies meant for one owner the chance to retire, another the chance to rediscover 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 everyone to have a win-win situation.”
The name of what Carey says is the oldest residential real estate brokerage in Fresno — dating back to 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 of their brokerage they started when they bought the agency in 2017.
Gutierrez, chief broker of Jordan Link & Co. and C. Watson, said the acquisition gives them the largest market center in the Central Valley.
“We knew that to get to where we wanted to be both in terms of agent count and gross revenue, we had to be in Fresno,” Gutierrez said. “But we had to work with the right company, with the right people and do it responsibly.”
Allen and Gutierrez bought Jordan Link & Co. from then-owner Bill Jordan in 2017. Since the purchase, Allen said he has tripled the business, in terms of revenue, number of agents and number of offices. They have grown from one county to now four with offices in Visalia, Porterville, Delano, Bakersfield, Hanford and now Fresno. They now have just under 350 officers.
Their goal for some time was to enter the Fresno market, Allen said.
But they were never going to do it while competing with another Century 21 office.
“We always wanted to do this if there was a way we could join forces and do it together and make it work for everyone,” Allen said. “That’s what happened in November.”
The name remains the same, C. Watson’s agents keep their old business cards, and for clients, not much will change, Gutierrez said. The culture at C. Watson was very similar to how they run things at Jordan Link, he continued.
For Carey, who started working for then-owner Charles Watson in 1969, that 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, that means getting back to his passion.
Running a brokerage of their size in a single office is difficult these days, he said. Growth means opening more than one office and he didn’t want to do that. So letting Jordan Link in means the office can grow and he gets back into selling, which is his passion.
“I’m excited to return to the simplicity of the business,” Carey, Jr. said.
He works with his nephew, Vinnie Vidaurri, who Carey says has skills he doesn’t have, while Carey has skills Vidaurri doesn’t, which makes for a good partnership.
Gutierrez and Allen don’t want Jordan Link & Co.’s growth to end with Fresno. But they want to do it responsibly, they said.
Licensed to operate throughout California, Allen said he has received offers to acquire other businesses.
“We said ‘no’ more than we said ‘yes’,” Allen said.
They plan to branch out to the Central Coast or Ventura County closer to areas where they have market expertise.
They do about 2,100 transactions a year, Gutierrez said, and they plan to do about 2,600 this year. But they want to be good for the neighborhood.
“We give where we live,” Gutierrez said. “We live it, we breathe it, we do it, it’s not just lip service.”