Chris Rooney

Never Say Never

Chris at the WCCO studio where he hosted his radio show for 11 years

As a child growing up in Prior Lake, Minnesota, Chris Rooney was determined not to follow in the footsteps of his parents. He says, “There was no way I was going to be in real estate.” Like most kids, he had a childhood dream of going into professional football or baseball.

“My mom became a REALTOR® when I was one year old,” he explains. A trendsetter, Chris’ mom was one of the first female REALTORS®. “My Dad joined her a year after that.” With both of his parents working in real estate, Chris learned how to cook meals for himself because his parents would have crazy work hours. A son of two REALTORS®, Chris was familiar with the industry but wanted no part of it.

“I’m still a good cook today,” Chris shares. Throughout his adult life, Chris has moved a total of 21 times. He laughs, “It’s happened a lot of times that a client has bought my house.” As a result, Chris kept moving up, taking advantage of tax laws along the way.

It was after college at St. Cloud State, where he majored in Speech and Communications and minored in Real Estate, that he decided to get his real estate license. “I’ve been going nonstop ever since,” he reflects. “I always thought that I would do something else besides real estate, but it’s kind of infectious; I’ve been fortunate.”

Chris’ gift for sales was evident at a young age, when he actually sold a house at the age of 15! He is quick to note that it was an unlicensed sale, but the buyer showed up while Chris was landscaping one of his parent’s properties. However, Chris was meant to be a REALTOR®. He got into the business in 1990, before MLS was on the computer, and he learned to overcome obstacles, including the start of real estate as a business.

“I was just a pimply-faced 23-year-old,” he jokes. “I read up on anything I possibly could as I needed to be smarter than everyone else to have them use me.”

“I couldn’t sell a house for six months,” he recalls. “Then I started selling and doubled my income for the next three years.” Chris continued to build on his success to establish the business that he has today as Chris Rooney Home Experts at RE/MAX Preferred. He relies heavily on Karin Mindak— “I basically do the marketing, negotiating, and networking, and she pretty much does the rest,” along with his two adult kids and his long-time stager/designer Stacy Edwards.
Building his business on referrals and past clients, Chris was able to leverage his successes. He comments, “It’s much more enjoyable than the early years. That’s when I grabbed anything that I could get and spent long days hauling people all over the Twin Cities.”

Best of all, Chris had the ability to set his own schedule, which has revolved around sports. After playing football and baseball throughout college, he played touch football until he was 39 and baseball until he was 44, and rarely missed his daughter’s and son’s sports schedules.

What he Wish he Knew
Chris has gained a wealth of knowledge through his career in real estate which spans over three decades. Although he was prepared for the highs and lows of real estate, there is one thing he wished he had known decades ago.

“I wish I had known the power of borrowing, taking a chance, and using other people’s money sooner than I did. In real estate, we make money with sales, but the big money is investing in real estate. I would save all my pennies, finance projects, and then do one deal at a time. I wish I would have known— and had the confidence— to better leverage other people’s money than just my own,” Chris reflects.

Making a Difference
To Chris, real estate is all about making a difference in people’s lives. “I want to be a positive influence on those around me. I want to look back and hope I have made a difference in the world, work, and how I mentored people.” Although he wishes that he had more balance in his life, Chris has a love for work.

In the future, he hopes to continue to work in real estate and venture further into the business and commercial sales side of things. Additionally, he has started a mentoring program for agents and created Integrity Marketing Services to help others in the industry. Chris has experienced nearly every direction an agent can take, so he encourages other agents to go in the direction that works for them, no matter what anyone else says. Chris looks back and says if he had to knock on doors or do cold calls to get business like he was told to, he never would have made it in the industry. He has proven that you can have a life and a successful business by doing it your own way.

Family First
When Chris isn’t working, he enjoys time with his family. His son, Nick, is living the dream— traveling the world and playing American football overseas. Chris’s daughter, Morgan, works with him daily in real estate. Nick and Morgan both help Chris with daily tasks and marketing initiatives. “They are helping with social media,” he adds. His wife, Christine, managed all of their past rental properties and has really turned into an expert mover!

Final Thoughts
Chris strives to be a man of integrity. He is committed to doing things the right way— always representing clients first and foremost. “I have never looked at an agent as competition,” he says. “I look at them as help.” After 33 years of real estate, he knows it’s all about his clients. That’s the secret to his long-standing success in the real estate industry, building a reputation of excellence by doing the right thing.