By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
Real Living John Burt Realty, a dependable, successful realtor located at 15 E. Burdick Street since August 21, 1996, has joined forces with one of Michigan’s largest realtors and is now known as Real Living Kee Realty – Oxford.
Run by President John Meesseman, Real Living Kee Realty (RLKR) has ten offices throughout the Lower Peninsula, ranging from Brownstown to Lake Orion to St. Clair Shores. Burt and Meesseman announced the merger on June 17 at Legacy 925, live-streaming the event on their Facebook page.
“This merger allows us to provide more services, more support, better marketing, and a lot of great benefits to our agents, to our clients, to our customers, and to the public in Oxford and Lake Orion, as well,” Burt said during the announcement.
“I’m super, super excited,” added Meesseman. “I’ve known John and his wife (Julie) for 20-plus years, we go way back. Great company, great agents, and a great reputation in Lake Orion, Oxford, and, really, all northern Oakland County.
A 1976 graduate of Lake Orion High School, Burt obtained his Michigan real estate license in 1988, the same year he and Julie were married.
Nearing a quarter-century at his current office space, he purchased the building from Jim Bushman, a fellow Lake Orion native, who was one of Oxford’s most well-known businessmen in the food service industry for close to three decades.
“When I started in 1996, I started with just me,” Burt shared of the company’s growth. “So, I started with just me and then I ended up with six people. Once I had six agents, I decided I needed something bigger, so I looked at all the different franchises and went with Better Homes and Gardens.
“Better Homes and Gardens was sold to General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), so we were a GMAC real estate broker for a while, and then GMAC sold us to Real Living.
“Now, Real Living is part of Berkshire Hathaway, so it actually has some Warren Buffet roots.”
Burt’s business quickly grew to 35 agents by the early-2000s, a number that likely could have been even larger if they had wished to add more. With the move to RLKR, this one-time husband and wife operation will now be included in a network of more than 400 agents.
Always placing an emphasis on customer service and the needs of the individual, Burt and his agents have received dozens of awards and recognitions since the business’ inception, including taking home “Best of the Best” honors in Lake Orion and Oxford for six-straight years from 2008-13.
Known by many for his creative advertising campaigns and philanthropic efforts in the community over the last two-plus decades, the decision to merge with a larger network of businesses was one that required a great deal of thought and consideration.
“It was something I had been thinking over for months,” Burt said of the merger.
“Real estate has been good to us, and it will continue to be good to us. The new guys, they have a lot of other core businesses, too, not just real estate, and this will allow me to kind of take a bit of a step back and give the business a facelift.
“It’s been a seamless transition. I want people to know John and Julie Burt are still going to be here serving the community, still going to have my office, I just felt it was time to make the change.”
Speaking to this quick transition, the office is freshly adorned with their new “Kee Realty” signs and has kept running without missing a beat, even with the ongoing uncertainty regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Oxford, along with most of northern Oakland County, has experienced a housing boom and a population increase since the turn of the century. Serving this expansion while also maintaining the small town values that made them successful in the first place, John Burt Realty has been there for residents looking to buy and sell a home every step of the way, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
If you are in the market for a home, Burt and his team can be reached via telephone at (248) 628-7700 or found online at realliving.com.
By Teddy Rydquist