Broker Spotlight: Johnny Chappell, Compass Carolinas


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Broker Spotlight: Johnny Chappell, Compass Carolinas

Name: Johnny Chappell

Title: Broker-owner

Experience: Licensed Realtor since 2006, founded Chappell in 2016

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Brokerage name: Compass Carolinas, Team: Chappell

Rankings: Top 20 real estate team in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) according to Triangle Business Journal

Team size: 17 agents, 8 staff

Transaction sides: 179 in 2022

Sales volume:  $102,727,401.16 in 2022


  • Triangle Business Journal List of Top 25 Agents and Teams (x5)
  • 2021 Triangle Business Journal CEO of the Year
  • Compass Diamond Circle Award, acknowledging the brokerage’s $75 million plus in closed sales in 2021 and 2022

How did you get your start in real estate? 

I jumped into real estate as a second career, after spending a decade as a television news anchor and reporter. While my hope was to wade part-time into the business, my TV boss told me I had to make a choice, and as a much younger guy with few obligations, I decided to leap into real estate with both feet. That was 2006.

In 2008, the Great Recession slowed my business considerably, forcing me to fall back on my training as a journalist. I started working in another television newsroom, but this time I told my employer that I’d only take the job if I was allowed to build my real estate business during off-hours. That TV boss actually agreed to the request, and I spent six years burning the candle at both ends until I felt comfortable enough to officially retire from my television career and devote all of my time to real estate in 2013.

I opened my own firm a couple of years later, and have no regrets on the path I chose. It had its share of bumps along the way, which only made me stronger.

How did you choose your first brokerage? 

I chose my first brokerage not because of the brand, the perks or the commision plan. I chose it because of one of its agents. Shelby King first represented me as a buyer’s agent, and later mentored me during my first year in real estate. She charged me 10 percent of my commission earnings in exchange for unfiltered access to her daily grind, and for doing her grunt work. What a bargain to learn from the kind of no-nonsense, trusted and approachable advocate I wanted to become.

Shelby was generous with her time and gave a heaping helping of knowledge that became foundational to my career. At the end of the day, this industry is about people more than brands and brokerages.

What’s your top prediction for 2023? 

For consumers, 2023 is the year for people who need to move. Those who simply want to move will stay put. In our industry, it’s the year for people who seriously need to eat. Hungry agents and teams who work harder and innovate will thrive.

Companies who go deeper on investing in agents and culture will weather the storm and grow. It’s going to be a challenging year, with not as much “food” to go around. Those who only experience a craving, from time to time, may not have the stomach for the months ahead.

What’s your top tip for freshly licensed brokers? 

A rapid response is the only response. I had a very small sphere when I started out. When I asked new clients why they chose to work with me, it was almost always because I simply responded quickly. Hustle will build a helluva real estate career.

What makes a good leader? 

Real estate is a team sport, where culture is key and one size most certainly does not fit all. I’ve built a strong team, and I’m most proud of our people. I’m always amazed at how so many different personalities, age groups and skill sets blend together in our quirky yet cohesive group.

When the team works well together and all parts are moving in the same direction, we’re unstoppable. But as a leader, understanding that those parts have very different goals, motivations and ideas of the optimum work-life balance is incredibly important.

I’ve found that our team works best when the individuals feel trusted, empowered and well-equipped. Delegation and sharing responsibility require constant effort and a leader who’s willing to maintain a strong presence with the team while allowing others to step up and shine.

Know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Broker Spotlight? Nominations, please, to [email protected].

Christy Murdock is a freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. Connect with Writing Real Estate on Instagram and subscribe to the weekly roundup, The Ketchup.

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