C3 grows real estate brokerage to third largest in NoCo

When real estate agents John Simmons and Jesse Laner met each other at a conference, they formed a fast friendship. The two had a lot in common: Each was named rookie of the year at The Group, made BizWest 40 Under 40, and had previous leadership experience, Laner as a high school basketball coach and Simmons as an Army Ranger platoon leader.

“The running joke in our office was that Jesse is a smarter, younger, taller, better looking version of myself,” Simmons said. “When you meet someone of that caliber, it’s hard to compete, so you form a partnership.”

John Simmons, left, and Jesse Laner cofounded C3 Real Estate Solutions. Courtesy C3

That partnership developed into C3 Real Estate Solutions LLC, which the pair founded in Fort Collins in December 2012. In the eight years since, the company has grown from its small roots to encompass 130 agents, four loan officers, and two property managers across five locations. At the end of last year, C3 opened its fifth office, and first outside of Northern Colorado, in Breckenridge, adding to the existing locations in Old Town and Front Range Village in Fort Collins, Johnstown, and Loveland. 

Along with that growth, C3 has come to place in the top three in market share in Northern Colorado in the luxury, affordable housing, new construction, commercial, and lending markets. In 2020, it completed more than $758 million in deals, 45% higher than the prior year, and boasted the highest average sales price in Northern Colorado. The company has brokered five of the 10 highest-priced deals in Larimer County last year.

From the beginning, C3 took a different approach to real estate. It treats its offices like retail shops — they’re small spaces in areas with heavy foot traffic, rather than large offices in business parks. That concept, which Simmons said the company took from the way resort communities market themselves, helps C3’s agents and listings get maximum exposure.

“It made sense to start something different in Northern Colorado,” Simmons said. “We’re agent-centric, consumer-centric. We had a vision of something tech-driven, focused on customers and worldwide marketing.”

Simmons said that approach helped C3 grow early on because it attracted veteran, high-producing agents.

“People saw us build our first office in Front Range Village with incredible surrounding tenants,” Simmons said. “They just wanted to be a part of it. We created a concept where we do not have to aggressively recruit and retain agents.”

Those agents include Catherine Rogers and Shirley Watson, who have done more than $50 million in deals last year. Simmons said that the new Breckenridge office is only possible because of the efforts of agents Melissa Doherty and Tonia Steele; Steele is a Breckenridge native and Doherty was doing about half her businesses in Summit County. 

“They’re now attracting other top-producing agents in the area,” Simmons said. “It just made sense for us to open up an office in that area. Without that partnership, C3 would not be in Breck. This allows them to support their clients with our marketing and services.”

The company has also brought on a new non-selling managing broker, Stephen Foster, to help direct C3’s future growth. 

“He’s been the missing piece Jesse and I needed to take the company to the next level,” SImmons said.

The shape that future growth will take is still undetermined. Simmons said C3 may look into franchising new offices. In this regard, the partnership between him and Laner is a key balance; Simmons said that if it was up to him alone, the company would have closer to 20 offices, and if it was up to Laner alone, C3 would grow more slowly. 

“Jesse is the voice of reason,” Simmons said. “The partnership with Jesse is incredible. We are like brothers.”

However C3 grows in the future, Simmons is adamant that the company doesn’t want to lose what has made it successful so far.

“We love the intimate connection with our agents,” Simmons said. “We love knowing them personally. We don’t want to be a massive company. [Oher brokerages] can chase themselves. We want to be the special forces of real estate.”

© 2021 BizWest Media LLC

 

When real estate agents John Simmons and Jesse Laner met each other at a conference, they formed a fast friendship. The two had a lot in common: Each was named rookie of the year at The Group, made BizWest 40 Under 40, and had previous leadership experience, Laner as a high school basketball coach and Simmons as an Army Ranger platoon leader.

“The running joke in our office was that Jesse is a smarter, younger, taller, better looking version of myself,” Simmons said. “When you meet someone of that caliber, it’s hard to compete, so you form a partnership.”

John Simmons, left, and Jesse Laner cofounded C3 Real Estate Solutions. Courtesy C3

That partnership developed into C3 Real Estate Solutions LLC, which the pair founded in Fort Collins in December 2012. In the eight years since, the company has grown from its small roots to encompass 130 agents, four loan officers, and two property managers across five locations. At the end of last year, C3 opened its fifth office, and first outside of Northern Colorado, in Breckenridge, adding to the existing locations in Old Town and Front Range Village in Fort Collins, Johnstown, and Loveland. 

Along with that growth, C3 has come to place in the top three in market share in Northern Colorado in the luxury, affordable housing, new construction, commercial, and lending markets. In 2020, it completed more than…