“I’m here to meet with Matt,” I excitedly but shyly shared with the front desk receptionist at Matt Curtis Real Estate after being warmly greeted upon walking through the office doors for the first time. Saying that I was meeting with Matt felt oddly casual as if we’d met before.
“Great! I’ll let him know you’re here,” she responds.
I’d arrived a few minutes early, so I took to quick stroll around the lobby area admiring the walls adorned with a decade of literature written about Curtis’s business. The articles quickly told a story of a real estate company that began experiencing rapid growth from the getgo, which further excited me about getting to know the guy behind one of the most recognizable real estate companies in the state.
Right on time, Curtis appeared with a kind smile and handshake before leading us together down the hall to his office to sit down and chat. Though we’d never met before, his voice and face were familiar from years of seeing him on various billboards and hearing him on media outlets.
Curtis’s personal office continued to unfold the story of a man who has worked hard both professionally and personally. One wall is decorated with framed photos of Curtis with a few of the recognizable mentors he’s met along the way, such as Robert Herjavic, Dave Ramsey, and President George W. Bush.
The other wall contrasts and features whiteboards covered in a multitude of colorful drawings created by Curtis’s 11-year-old daughter Macy who’d been spending some time with her dad at the office this summer.
Though most may recognize the Matt Curtis Real Estate name, very few know about Curtis’ professional and personal experiences that have culminated in one of North Alabama’s most successful businesses today.
Just a Guy from Tennessee
Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, Curtis jokes that moving to and raising his family in the Huntsville/Madison area was never on his radar. During college, he married his high school sweetheart Courtney and earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering. He even completed an internship with Adtran in Huntsville during college and never planned on coming back.
After graduation, Matt accepted a job in Austin, Texas and moved there with Courtney to begin his professional career.
Curtis laughs and shares that he used to joke with his boss in Austin about getting his degree from “the real UT”.
“That joke eventually got me transferred out of there and over to Huntsville,” he jokes.
In actuality, Curtis had applied for a job in Huntsville as well as a job in Indianapolis.
“I interviewed for a job in Indianapolis, and on paper, I should have gotten it, but God had other plans in bringing us to Huntsville.”
Curtis says that he continued to thrive in his early days as an engineer while also learning the ropes of fatherhood; Their first child, a daughter named Calli, was born shortly after their move to Huntsville.
During this time, Curtis began to side-eye real estate as a way of representing himself as an investor. He decided to go through the process of getting his real estate license, but he quickly realized that real estate was no easy feat to do part-time.
Around the time Curtis began dabbling with real estate on the side, Courtney became pregnant with their second child, Bryce.
“We decided to go ahead and build a home, and we ended up really liking our builder,” noted Curtis, who continued to share that the builder eventually offered Curtis a full-time agent position with new constructions.
“My wife was skeptical,” he says, “but we prayed really hard about it, and it became one of those few things where we knew that this is exactly what God wanted us to do.”
His “yes” to the builder meant that he was also closing the door for now on being an engineer. This was a nerve-wracking decision, but he says that his confidence in the decision grew when he sold two homes in his very first week as a full-time agent. He then went on to sell enough homes that he was nearly the top agent for the company after working just half of the year.
Curtis went on to spend three and a half years as a top agent with this company, which he says taught him a tremendous amount about sales, integrity, and the things he felt were right and wrong about the real estate industry.
On Becoming an Entrepreneur
“I eventually wanted to do my own thing,” explains Curtis, who opened his own brokerage in 2010. “I was the janitor, bookkeeper, and everything else all at once.”
He credits his strong mentors who began taking him under their wings and showing him how to build a great team. He says that while attending a conference with one of his mentors, he experienced a pivotal moment in his career where he saw a trajectory for how to build Matt Curtis Real Estate through a fresh set of lenses.
“We’d provide the highest level of service and would achieve that with a team approach because together everyone achieves more.”
Building a Specialized Team
Curtis quickly hired his first agent and first employee and began to learn that his clients weren’t overly concerned about working with him in particular, but rather cared first and foremost about the level of service they’d receive from start to finish while buying and/or selling with Matt Curtis Real Estate.
In the last decade, Curtis has grown his team to roughly 60 members, including nearly 45 agents.
“We hire specialists in every part of the transaction,” says Curtis, who explains that real estate agents traditionally wear “too many hats, which leads to a lot of burnout.”
“We use a ‘restaurant approach’ analogy”, says Curtis. “Can you imagine if the host at the restaurant also did all of the other things too that make the restaurant work, like taking the orders, cooking the food, bussing the tables, and handling the accounting? You’d never go back because of the service.”
Curtis says that this is why his business model allows his team to utilize their strengths and roll with them.
“An agent often goes into real estate because they’re good with clients, but that doesn’t mean they’re good at all parts of real estate, so we take some of those roles you don’t like or are not good at and give them to someone that loves those roles and is an expert at them,” such as coordinating closing and inspections, installing signs, ordering the photography, and marketing listings.
Curtis says that while clients all work directly with a Matt Curtis agent, he has other specialists behind the scenes doing all of the aforementioned and more.
Curtis’s business model and the way he’s led his team have earned Matt Curtis Real Estate dozens of local and nationwide accolades, including
- #1 Real Estate team in Alabama (2020, 2021, 2022 by Real Trends)
- Inc. 5000’s “Fast Growing Privately Held Companies” (2017-2022)
- Silver and Gold awards for “Best Place to Work” (2019 and 2020 by the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce)
- 2018 Huntsville Chamber of Commerce Service Business of the Year Award
- 2016 Madison Chamber of Commerce Leadership & Service Winner
- 2016 Madison Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Winner
- 2016 Madison Chamber of Commerce Home Services of the Year Winner
- and many more, as well as being featured in multiple local and national media outlets.
Matt Curtis Real Estate also has more than 3,000 five-star reviews online, which Curtis says all tie back to the high priority they put on customer service as a whole team.
Curtis says that the whole team approach is designed to ensure that the buying and selling experience is five-star from start to finish.
“Having a team is a great thing for many reasons, but the greatest reason is that it has freed me up to be a dad.”
Curtis smiles big when asked about his family.
Matt and Courtney are proud parents to three children “in every walk of life”, he jokes.
Calli recently graduated from Madison Academy and begins her freshman year of college at Samford University next month. Bryce is 15 and an avid basketball player.
“He’s bigger than me,” jokes Curtis.
Macy is 11 and her dad’s little sidekick.
“She’s the one who craves that quality time together.”
Curtis says he’s adamant about quality time with each of them too, even telling me during our first conversation that he was leaving a few hours later to take one of his kids on a quick one-on-one weekend trip to Gatlinburg.
Work/Home Life Balance
When asked how he’s navigated raising three children while also growing a thriving business, Curtis says it all goes back to the art of a team.
“Some weeks I’m working 80 hours a week, while other weeks I’m only working five hours a week,” he explains.
He says that even when it appears that he’s not working, he’ll often still be listening to five hours’ worth of podcasts on a family drive to the beach or resting in a nearby chair reading something worthwhile to his team.
“I enjoy listening to podcasts and reading though,” he says before sharing that one of his top business tips is to read for one hour per day about something that pertains to your field.
“If you read for an hour a day every day for five years, you’ll have nearly learned a PhD-amount of material on your own.”
Curtis says that in the early stages of Matt Curtis Real Estate, he was motivated to read and learn as much as he could because “being #1 in the state was really important to me.”
“But now, the main goal I care about is building homes in Nicaragua.”
And with that statement, Curtis begins to settle into his chair a bit more and has a tangible disposition change as I can figuratively see his wheels spinning with thoughts of this special philanthropy.
“I was reading a professional development magazine years ago, and an article I read led me on a trip to meet with the folks from Habitat for Humanity in Nicaragua.”
Curtis says his heart was cracked wide open during that trip for the people in Nicaragua and decided to work with Habitat for Humanity directly for the last few years to help provide housing for widows, families with children, and more.
“God laid it on our hearts to start building one home for every 100 homes we sell,” he says while explaining that his entire family ended up catching onto the vision very quickly.
Each home costs about $6,500 to build.
To date, Matt Curtis Real Estate has funded 141 homes in Nicaragua with plans to continue building at least 20 homes at a time until they hit 1000, though he hopes to build way more than that.
“I have a passion for those kids,” Curtis shares as he points me toward a framed picture on the wall of one of the families they’ve served. “So many kids die of inadequate housing in Nicaragua. There are parasites all over the floor that kids die from, and I wasn’t okay with seeing what I saw.”
Curtis says that his family’s vision for helping Nicaragua extends far beyond building homes.
“We want to build playgrounds and support local pastors too.”
One of the hardest parts of the pandemic for Curtis has been not being able to travel to Nicaragua due to COVID blocks and in-country turmoil, though plans are in the works to return as soon as possible.
Continuing the Momentum
In the meantime, Curtis is passionate about keeping the momentum Matt Curtis Real Estate has built and serving as many local families as they can. He also wants to continue pouring into his team too.
“We are really big in our culture around here. We try to do fun things together, like laser tag or renting out Dave and Busters. We also have a monthly food truck come by the office, and we pay for everyone’s food.”
He shares that they also have monthly guys’ and girls’ evenings as well as optional Bible studies and prayer time.
Matt Curtis Real Estate offers a fix-to-sell program and an instant offer program. They also enjoy doing a tremendous amount of pre-marketing so that they can be the best “matchmakers” they can be for their buyers and sellers.
“This is really one of our secret sauces,” shares Curtis. “We have a database of over 100,000 potential buyers to help match to our sellers’ homes.”
Quick Links for Matt Curtis Real Estate
8097 Madison Blvd, Unit 103, Madison, AL 35758