Business Profile: Richard T. Kiko Agency Inc.

SALEM, Ohio — Say ‘Kiko,’ think real estate.

All real estate.

If a parcel exists — anything from a shopping center or industrial building to a residential corner lot or farmstead — the Richard T. Kiko Agency Inc. can sell it.

The company, based in Canton, specializes in all kinds of real estate transactions, not just the red-and-yellow-signed auctions most people link with the family name.

History

The Richard T. Kiko Agency Inc. was founded in 1970 by Richard Kiko Sr., alongside his father Russ’ successful auction company.

Richard Kiko Sr. had attended auctioneer school and joined the family auction company in 1958, with the goal of selling real estate via the absolute auction method, explained his son, Dick Kiko Jr.

“My grandfather had a real estate broker working with him, and Dad decided he also wanted to do that,” he explained.

Ohio law requires a broker’s license for anyone who wants to facilitate buying and selling of real estate, Dick Kiko Jr. said.

Richard Kiko earned his real estate license in 1961, went on to get his broker’s license in 1969, and opened his agency the following year.

The company currently has two divisions: Russ Kiko Auctioneers sells strictly by absolute auction, and Richard T. Kiko Agency sells, by listing, properties across northeast Ohio.

Kiko said roughly 80 percent of their business is done by the auction method, and the other 20 percent is completed by private listings and unadvertised sales.

Family

The Kiko business is dominated by family, Dick Kiko Jr. said. Approximately 40 to 50 blood relatives across three generations — 29 of whom are licensed real estate agents — are associated with the companies.

The company is also guided by family principles and integrity, something none of them take lightly.

“When you hire us, you hire our family, and we all have to live up to the long-term integrity of the family name,” Kiko said.

That’s not to say that every single person at Kiko is, in fact, a Kiko. The company does bring in nonfamily employees as part of the team, he said.

But, “it’s not taboo to have business that consists of a lot of relatives,” he said. “We embrace the strength of families.”

Differences

That strength is what has carried the business successfully into the third generation and allowed them to practice the skills of selling all types of real estate.

Farm and Dairy readers recognize the Kiko name for farm and land auctions, but Dick Kiko Jr. said the business doesn’t focus solely on farms. It focuses on evaluating the needs of the customer to turn property assets into cash, whether it’s by an auction or a for-sale listing.

Offering both is a company strength.

“The client’s needs determine the method of marketing, not us,” Kiko said.

Whichever way a property is sold, the Kikos take it seriously. In fact, a banner proclaiming ‘We sell real estate’ hangs in the Canton office, a reminder to all that they don’t just list real estate, they sell it.

“Whether it is a listing or an auction, the public knows it’s going to be sold if the Kiko name is on it,” Kiko said.

Turned down

However, not everyone who looks to the family to sell a property gets a Kiko sign in the front yard. Especially in today’s declining housing market, the Kikos admit they’re willing to walk away from a situation that’s not favorable for the seller.

“We can write your auction or listing, sell it and make money,” Kiko said. “But if you owe more than we sell it for, you lose. That’s not how we do business,” he said.

“We walk in with our integrity and leave with our integrity. Our family demands that of us.”

Other ways

Kikos also offer other buying or purchasing arrangements, such as ‘quiet listings,’ where a buyer asks a Kiko agent to hunt a specific type of property for them, or a seller confidentially lists their property for sale without advertising it to the public.

“We can find it and put a deal together or work deals that nobody ever knows we’re involved in,” Kiko said.

Geography

Though Kiko agents primarily sell real estate in northeastern Ohio, they’re licensed to and do sell in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and as far away as Texas, Michigan or South Carolina.

“We can assist in selling real estate just about anywhere in the U.S. with our national network and relationships,” Kiko said.

“If someone wants to sell real estate, they should call a company like ours with access to all the methods,” of marketing real estate, he said. “We’re in business to succeed, to help the buyer and seller reach their goal.”

About the Author

Former staff reporter Andrea Zippay wrote for Farm and Dairy from 2001 to 2009. More Stories by Andrea Zippay

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