A little more than a year after vacating its longtime office in Brookfield, Failla Realty is back at 9140 Broadway Ave.
Failla, which is in its 33rd year in business, re-christened its Brookfield office earlier this month. With the departure of Harps Realty last year and others in the wake of the real estate crash of 2007-08, Failla is one of just two realty firms remaining in the village. The other is Rende Realty.
“We’ve decided to come back here full time and operate out of there full time,” said Ross Failla.
When Failla decided to move out of its longtime Brookfield digs, the company was trying simply to stay in business. Like every real estate company following the crash, Failla was scrambling in an economy where, for four straight years between 2008 and 2011, homes just weren’t selling.
“Things got tight,” said Failla. “It was a rough seven years [since 2007]. I’m being honest with you.”
There was a time, said Failla, when the Brookfield office employed three shifts. After the crash, inventory soared, buyers disappeared and banks held tight to their cash. In 2011, Failla put the Broadway Avenue property on the market, and sought a smaller office elsewhere.
They found it at the corner of Cermak Road and 11th Avenue in North Riverside. When the move was announced, Failla emphasized the company was still in business, just on a smaller scale.
At the time, the company said the move was in reaction to the changing nature of the real estate business, with its reliance on mobile phones, computers and the Internet and less need for an expensive bricks-and-mortar operation. While those remain true, the company was also reeling from the crash and from real estate taxes, which were suffocating the business, according to Failla.
“We had to do everything possible to not go out of business,” Failla said of the decision.
While trying to sell the Brookfield property, Failla rented out space to an attorney. The real estate firm would still use the conference room for meetings with clients, but their lack of physical presence in Brookfield took a bite out of their local market share.
“People thought we left town,” Failla said.
While the building on Broadway is still listed for sale, Failla has moved the office back to town to reclaim a market the company always ruled. The company also won a real estate tax appeal, according to Failla, taking some of that pressure off the firm.
In addition, they are sharing space with the attorney and another business, but the “Failla” sign is back on the front of the building, announcing clearly that the firm remains a local institution.
“We feel we will gain our market back again if people see the office there,” said Failla.
In the meantime, the real estate market has begun to recover.
“It’s really picked up again,” said Failla.
This story has been changed to correct a statement about the number of realty firms in Brookfield.