A married couple with a passion to serve communities found their niche in real estate.
But first...check out what CEO Chris Hinze has to say about having his office at Connex Fort Worth, "We looked at several office spaces before deciding Connex would be the best fit for our needs. We currently have a relatively small team that often works remotely. We wanted a space where we had the opportunity to expand, which we have been able to do by leasing two units, and that was in a great location. We have loved being able to utilize the conference room space for larger meetings and the high-speed internet. We are very happy with our choice and believe Connex is a great asset to small businesses in the community."
Ekklesia is not a word you hear very often, if at all. However, it has a powerful meaning and Chris Hinze and his wife Bailey took the Greek word to heart when they started their real estate business.
"Ekklesia means 'called out ones'," says CEO Chris Hinze. "We believe we are called out to put people first, to serve and help people in Fort Worth and around the world build homes and communities."
So while real estate may be the business, the mission and vision go much deeper. "My wife and I have a passion for knowing, caring for, and serving others. We love to be a part of others’ lives and invite others into ours. Our passion for serving other people brought us overseas to both Africa and the Middle East where we taught as well as learned from others."
In fact, the company gives a portion of its transactions and takes donations to help a non-profit company build homes in Ethiopia and Uganda. "We primarily serve the Fort Worth and surrounding areas, and we also partner with a company called Godesign. They are an amazing non-profit that builds homes, libraries, schools, etc. in Ethiopia and Uganda and we are currently helping them build a home for the staff of a school in Uganda."
The Mikayla House in Ethiopia, the latest project to be completed by GoDesign
After spending time overseas, the Hinze's decided it was time to move back to the states. Contemplating how to stay connected to seeing lives transformed and serving others, Ekklesia Real Estate was born. Real estate is an industry that Chris has a deep connection to, growing up with grandparents who renovated houses and managed them as rentals. They taught him how to negotiate and manage properties.
"We built our Real Estate company with these values in mind; Our mission: Serving others, developing community. transforming lives. We’ve seen our clients sell homes, buy homes, and invest in properties they love. We soon noticed that there was a need for honest lending companies who could help guide our clients through the home buying or refinancing process. Thus, our vision for Arise Lending was born. We help people find the perfect home, identify the best financing options, and guide them through the process. When you find that bond with clients and integrate into a neighborhood, you become an integral part of the growth and development of that community."
The two companies have grown, and now boast 15 realtors, three loan officers, and eight acquisition agents. Chris talked about a few key members of his leadership team:
"Christian Lehenbauer is the president of Arise Lending. Christian brings a diverse corporate background and over 10 years of marketing experience to the Ekklesia team. He is passionately curious and is constantly looking for the most optimal way of getting things done. He has literally helped build our Lending Company from the ground up. He ensures we maintain our integrity and that we put the right people in place to take care of all our clients. Jason Cox is our Director of Investment Operations. Jason has over 17 years of experience in the financial services industry and is passionate about creating a customer experience that is easy and personal. He keeps our property acquisitions team running smoothly and maintains all the software and tools we need for this team. Kathy Kinney is our Office Manager as well as an amazing realtor. She helps onboard all our new realtors and makes sure our team has all the supplies they need to keep our office in tip-top shape. She also volunteers her time to help create training for our realtors and to network with others in the industry. Kathy finds joy in helping people build wealth and family legacies through real estate. She takes time to understand the needs, goals, and concerns of her clients and then helps them develop a plan for achieving those goals. We could not be more proud to have Kathy on our team. Krista Erbe is our Chief Operating Officer. She makes sure our company is headed in the right direction. She is our problem solver. We depend on her to analyze our business activities, assess our P&L objectives, as well as prepare and implement action plans that maximize our assets and personnel performance."
Check out the Ekklesia animated explainer video by clicking the graphic below.
The current economic climate in the United States is no doubt at the forefront of most peoples' minds. Unless you own an EV, gas prices alone are enough to cause some angst, and those looking to buy a home right now are especially feeling the doubt about whether it's worth it.
Although housing demand is still high, it's been trending lower month-over-month while mortgage rates are climbing. Supply and inventory issues, inflationary concerns, and other global factors may price some families looking for their dream homes out of the market, while others may think it's better to wait it out and see if interest rates eventually fall (which is highly unlikely in the near-term). Not to mention that, according to Texas A&M Texas Real Estate Research Center data, the median home price in the DFW area currently stands at $375,000.
Despite these factors making a dent in the housing market, Chris is optimistic, "As interest rates rise, we expect the inventory on available homes to rise. We hope this will allow more people to make the moves that best fit their family. Texas continues to have a strong resilience in even the toughest housing markets, and we expect that to continue."
Chris continued saying, "We pride ourselves on our team being able to think outside the box when it comes to listing homes and making offers. Our lending team has been able to come up with unique funding strategies when many others could not. We are a relatively small company which allows us to easily pivot based on the needs in our community."
For any first-time home buyers, the Ekklesia team gave this advice, "Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions most of us will make in a lifetime, so having a trusted real estate professional by your side to guide you, educate you, and protect your interests is the best advice we can give. At Ekklesia, we want our clients feel valued and understood. At the first consult we will address your questions and concerns, then walk you through the home buying process from start to finish so you know what to expect before you start. Step two is equally important and should be done in conjunction with step one: Get pre-approved with a local mortgage lender to find out what you can comfortably afford and the amount of cash you will need at closing. Your realtor can provide you with a list of reputable lenders. Once you have completed these first two steps you can shop for a home with complete confidence."
This points back to Ekklesia's mission, what Chris sees as a key differentiator from competitors, "We believe that everything we do should be about putting people before ourselves. This includes how we take care of our team members. We want to fulfill their lives so they can pass that on to those who are put in their path."