Shannon and Adam – Direct Realty
Shannon Williams arrived in Dallas in 1994 when her stepdad’s job brought them east from Arizona, and Adam Williams arrived from Louisiana in 2006 to continue his career in IT. Neither of them would have guessed that their paths would cross in Dallas, and that they’d leave their respective careers in IT and the medical field to pursue a life in real estate.
It started out as a side gig for Adam, buying investment properties and helping friends and family wade into the world of real estate. He enjoyed the challenge, the calculated risk, and having another avenue to serve people. But when he lost his job in IT, he decided to take the plunge and co-found a real estate company headquartered in downtown Dallas. During his time there, he met Shannon who happened to be on the cusp of burnout in her medical career. When Adam and his business partner split ways, Shannon came on board, and in 2018, Direct Realty was born. They decide to close up shop in downtown, migrate to Bedford, and open an office in Grapevine.
While it was a plot twist in the story of their lives, Shannon’s passion for customer service and Adam’s love of systems analysis prepared them to build a real estate business that was set apart and marked by solutions to other real estate companies’ shortcomings. Shannon’s self-proclaimed “nerdiness” (she goes by The Realtor-Scientist on social media) became her superpower, as she began constantly studying. “I moved from the science of the body to the science of people,” she noted, “I love using data to make our clients’ experience better.” She asked for feedback at every turn — from the clients’ experience with Direct Realty to the downsides of every open house. “Not many people like negative feedback, but it makes us better,” she said. Unsurprisingly, another thing they’re known for is “keeping it real” with their clients. In fact, that’s where the name “Direct Realty” came from. “We don’t sugarcoat anything,” Adam said, “We’re straight shooters. You’re always going to get the truth from us.”
Their willingness to tell and hear the truth is what makes them different, they both said. Shannon said she may have inherited or at least learned entrepreneurship from her family, but it was her first job at McDonald’s as a teen that taught her the true value of customer service. “It was extremely customer service-oriented, and it was a formative professional experience for me,” she recalled.
An arm of Direct Realty includes property management. Adam saw areas for improvement in the ways many companies managed properties, so he took those solutions and implemented them at Direct Realty. Part of this initiative means that it’s not just the property owners who have a great experience, but the tenants as well. “The tenants aren’t our clients,” Adam explained, “But it is in the best interest of the owners that the tenants have a good experience and feel taken care of.”
The two make a great team as Adam has an eye for the big picture, while Shannon has a knack for the nitty gritty details of the business. Adam spends most of his hours running the brokerage and being available to agents while Shannon, now a Broker, ensures all operations are “by the book,” and that there is a surplus of educational and training resources for agents (of which there are about 90 between DFW, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio). She’s currently in the process of developing new education programs . Growth is a clear priority — not just for their company, but for each individual agent. They strive to empower their colleagues and clients by learning from and surrounding themselves with experts. Shannon is on regular calls with other leaders, entrepreneurs, and brokers across the country — especially when operations were almost 100 percent virtual — gleaning wisdom in how to navigate those uncharted waters as business owners.
Adam also noted that every transaction is a learning experience. Furthermore, they provide opportunities to engage their “A-Team,” which is their thoroughly vetted network of vendors and partners. From title to mortgage to insurance companies and everything in between, Adam explained that they rely heavily on the expertise and integrity of solid vendors. Just recently, a difficult transaction occurred that required an intricate modification on the title of a home. “We’re not the title experts. We needed to be able to call on our connections to problem-solve that situation,” Shannon began, “You never want to come to your client with a problem, you want to come to them offering solutions.”
“We have so many more solutions together as a team than we do alone,” Adam added, “But that’s also why we have such a high bar for our vendors.”
There’s a groundedness Adam and Shannon bring to the atmosphere that puts the room at ease — not a trace of ego to be found. “There’s really no such thing as a ‘Top Producer,’” Shannon offered casually, “When you break down the whole process, you’re not really doing anything by yourself. You need the whole team to be successful.” They laughed and acknowledged with shrugged shoulders that that statement could be a little controversial at some tables.
They’ve got a couple of passion projects including an old grocery store they just purchased out in Kaufman County near their ranch on Cedar Creek Lake. In small-town fashion, Adam fields lots of curious visitors who stop by, wondering what he’s going to do with the place and offering their input. The visitors might be hoping that the character and integrity of the building will be preserved, but mostly they’re hoping he doesn’t put in another barbecue joint, Adam joked. He’s going to put some rental spaces in it, he said, and maybe a shop for himself. “He loves cars,” Shannon chimed in. “I do,” Adam admitted, “It’d be a great place to work on my cars.”
True humility — celebrating others’ successes before your own — is countercultural, but the pair doesn’t seem to mind going against the grain in that regard. Perhaps it’s humility, too, that allows them to grasp the importance of rest, leisure, and play, filling themselves up so they might be able to pour back out. The ranch serves as their own Texan paradise — cooking out, riding four-wheelers, “lots of country things,” Adam laughed.
Some people talk about building empires when they’re asked about the future, but Adam and Shannon talk about retiring on the ranch someday. Shannon wants horses. They want lots of space to hike and enjoy nature. They might also do some big renovations on the house that include an outdoor kitchen and a projector to watch movies.
The real estate world in DFW is a land of opportunity in and of itself. It offers virtually limitless income potential, status, and ego, and it’s awfully easy to be swept away in the hustle and glamour available. But now and again, you come across people like Adam and Shannon who leverage their resources for the success, empowerment, and well-being of others. They stay in it for the love of the game and the opportunities afforded to change people’s lives, and when the time comes, they’ll settle on the ranch and likely move some of their work to the nearby town. There’s no doubt they’ll be well-received in that community, too — just as long as they don’t open another barbecue joint.