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Meet Darby Merriman of M Squared Real Estate Team

Today we’d like to introduce you to Darby Merriman.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After a successful 15+ year career as an educational meeting and event planner, I decided to make a career change into real estate after being urged by my family and friends for years. Part of my decision was based on my husband’s increased business travel and the need for more flexibility for my family. The other piece of this decision was based on a love for homes, decorating and all things real estate that has been there since I was a child. Leaving a job I loved, and the great people I worked with was tough, but I knew it was right almost immediately since my first listing hit the market on my last day of my job in meetings and events.

I’ve always believed that you must surround yourself with great people and when I started preparing for my career in real estate, I looked at who had a quality of life and the success I’d like to have. I was introduced to Chrissy Mallouf, my business partner, by a mutual friend when I was considering getting into real estate. She was a busy, overcommitted mom like me who loved her kids, volunteering and helping others. We instantly connected! The first time we ever talked on the phone, she told me that I needed to come join her on the team she was a part of so I could learn the ropes, and we could “do our own thing” in a couple of years.

Almost exactly two years to the day I obtained my real estate license, we launched M Squared Real Estate Team with Keller Williams! Since then, we have been recognized as a top producing team in the DFW market and have received numerous awards and accolades. We are known for our organic business model since most of our business comes from referrals from friends, family and past clients – this is extremely rare in real estate. We also focus on customer service, marketing and are known as social media influencers in addition to our ability to sell homes quickly, win in multiple offers and all other things real estate!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think my transition into real estate was relatively easy considering what I have seen other new agents go through, but my life has not always been easy and being a top producing realtor is definitely not easy. I was born to teenage parents who have both struggled with addiction and/or mental illness. People are always surprised when I share my story because they don’t expect it which I think holds a greater lesson in that you never know what someone has been through.

Thankfully, I was blessed with the most incredible, massive extended family who have always been there for my sister and me. I always say that we are “family kids” because our own parents have not been present for most of our lives, even as adults. No matter what was going on in my nuclear family, I always had grandparents, aunts and uncles who loved me, cared for me, believed in me and expected me to be successful.

Additionally, I always had adults in my life – be it family, teachers or a friend’s parent, that had expectations of me who I looked up to and wanted to make proud. This has continued for me as an adult – I have had some amazing role models and mentors throughout my life who have kept me motivated.

Now as an adult and especially as a parent, I try to be the same thing for my children, their friends, and other kids I meet through volunteering. The value of a caring adult who believes in you is priceless, and I am living proof.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the M Squared Real Estate Team – Keller Williams Realty story. Tell us more about the business.
My business partner, Chrissy Mallouf, and I formed M Squared Real Estate Team with Keller Williams in February of 2018. Chrissy is actually the person that finally convinced me to go into real estate, and we had been teammates on another high performing team.

From the get-go, we always had the goal of starting a company that showcased our community-mindedness and values. We wanted this to be a collaboration between two top producing, award-winning realtors rooted in their communities. Our vision is to be a company that will not only serve clients but also strengthen our local economy and give back to the community through volunteerism and support of local initiatives.

In addition to our community focus, we are also very relationship focused – when you work with us, it is not a transactional experience – it is about you and what is best for your family. The majority of our business is from friends and personal referrals, which we are very proud of, so we feel like the stakes are higher for us because we work with so many people we have personal relationships with and the people they care for dearly.

M Squared is known for its social media presence, marketing, and ability to sell homes quickly. We do it all when it comes to real estate – we work with buyers, sellers, renters, and investors. Our ultimate goal is to provide unmatched customer service, innovative real estate methodologies and tools, and a community-minded approach to maximize the client’s real estate experience.

We hear that we do a good job of making something that seems like it should be very stressful and complicated a stress-free and easy experience for our clients. We think a huge part of that is being available and responsive – which means going above and beyond what others may do to provide excellent service to our clients.

We’ve always known we weren’t like other realtors, which is a huge part of what gave us the confidence to branch off and form our own company. We know we aren’t for everyone, but we also know the people we work with are rabid fans and will refer us to everyone they know.

We are most proud of the fact that nearly every client we have has referred a friend, family member or coworker to us. Being a referral-based business in a world where many realtors are cold calling and buying your information off of one of the many home search websites is rare.

The proof that being yourself and focusing on what matters most to us is definitely in our numbers!  We have held strong as the #1 team in our Keller Williams market center and are in the top 1% of realtors in DFW since we formed M Squared Real Estate Team.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Everything happens for a reason, and I am very lucky and thankful every day for the life I have and the people in it! I am very lucky to have been born into such an amazing and supportive extended family – definitely a pot of gold!

I am also very lucky to have the best friends in the world, many of whom I wish I would have known longer or met at a different time in my life because I know they could have impacted or changed my life for the better. I feel like no matter the situation I am in, I have always had support from someone in some way which has to be luck! In business, I am very lucky! I have always met the right people at the right time.

For example, when I was finishing up my bachelor’s degree, I began interning at an amazing nonprofit that did school-based violence prevention programs. It was an odd fit for my major, but I was really passionate about the work they did and ended up meeting one of the most important and influential people in my life, Dr. Susan Armoni.

She believed in me, and when I was getting close to graduation, she happened to have (or create) a job for me, so I didn’t have the post-graduation stress of job hunting. In real estate, a lot of building a business is being in the right place at the right time when you or someone you know hears a conversation about someone wanting to buy or sell a home, and I have been very lucky to be in those situations.

Another time when luck was on my side was when Chrissy and I met! We both went to high school in the same town, have birthdays just days apart from each other, have hundreds of mutual friends and as many shared interests as differences, however, we never knew each other until we were connected by a mutual friend when I started seriously considering getting my real estate license.

Who knows if things would have gone this way had we known each other sooner since she was the person that convinced me to take this crazy leap!

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