Three Under 30: Imperial Valley’s Rising Realtors

Garrett Thill, Shannon Colace, and Mitch Allen- Imperial Valley’s up and coming realtors under 30.

“I have zero fear. I will do the right thing.” – Garrett Thill, DMA Real Estate

“I’m the most aggressive realtor you will find.” – Mitch Allen, DMA Real Estate

“I protect my clients in a small town.” – Shannon Colace, Smith-Kandal Insurance

BRAWLEY — They are passionate words from passionate people. These three young realtors are thriving in a county that is crippled with the highest unemployment rate in the state, according to California’s Employment Development Department data, released in December of 2014.

What is their secret?  While sharing unprecedented success at such young ages, each realtor is different. Though possessing his or her own impressive skills and strengths, they share a strong desire to help others and a true love for real estate — and each are 30 or under.

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Shannon Colace, Realtor, Smith-Kandal Insurance


A 28-year-old mother of two and farmer’s wife, Shannon Colace has had a love for real estate since a young age. A newly-licensed agent working for Smith-Kandal Insurance, Colace sold two homes in her first brief months as an agent, working part time at the Valley’s leading firm by volume. Altruistic to the core, Colace is motivated by her desire to help those in need. She views real estate as twofold – through it she is able to help those in need locally, while also contributing to satisfying the needs of people worldwide.

“Ultimately, my number one goal is a happy customer,” Colace said. “I don’t lose focus – it is always about the customer.”

Combining a self-professed inability to sit still with a genuine love for real estate, Colace spends her spare time researching the market. “When I am not working, I am at home researching the housing market and looking at interiors,” she confessed. “I love what I do.”

Under the banner of Smith-Kandal Insurance, Colace is being mentored in a sense, by Darren Smith, a realtor and broker, and a fourth generation realtor in the family business.

Smith has proven to be a great resource, considering “there is virtually nothing (we) haven’t seen or experienced,” he said.  “Such experience is very useful,” he emphasized.  For Smith, selling parcels of land is his “bread and butter,” while Colace focuses on residential real estate.

Colace specializes in negotiating to achieve the finest result for her clients. “I enjoy the negotiation process and listen to my clients’ wants. I treat the process as if it were my own home purchase,” she explained.

Raised in Brawley, she is excited to see the real estate demand rise in her town over the past few months. “It’s a seller’s market right now,” she remarked. “The market is very stable.”

Colace utilizes a no stress or pressure approach when dealing with her clients; she assures them their confidentiality and believes that through real estate, she can help improve the Valley and make a lasting difference.

Shannon’s Tip

For renters: “Real estate is one of the best investments you can make! It is a much better option to buy, even through lending, because rates are low now.”

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Mitch Allen, Realtor, DMA Real Estate


Mitch Allen, 28, is an agent with DMA Real Estate who has successfully launched himself from watching HGTV shows as a junior-higher into the #1 Buyers’ Agent in the Valley for 2014. A naturally enthusiastic “go-getter,” Allen believes, “You need an agent who will fight for you.”

After having his career sights set on real estate for many years, Allen said he is confident he has found his “sweet spot” in life as an agent.

“Real estate is the driving motivation for everything I do in life,” he stated. His educational background includes earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Real Estate Finance before becoming a realtor, and he also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations.

After obtaining his real estate license in March 2014, Allen completed an astounding 41 transactions his first year, leading him to become the #1 Buyer’s Agent in the Valley for the year, out of a pool of 150 agents. “I always close escrow for the client,” he stated. “I’ve not once had an escrow fall.”

Allen claimed he operates from a desire to change a common perception of real estate agents. “I want to change the interaction (between realtors and buyers),” he said. “I want people to leave thinking, ‘that was the best experience I’ve ever had,’” he confided.

Allen also believes that the goal for “all agents, all the time” should be “to be honest, hardworking, polite, and do the best for your client,” he said.

While the national average of transactions per year for realtors is between six and seven,  Allen has closed 17 escrows since January and currently has eight pending.

“Giving clients keys is the most exciting thing,” he said. “For most people this is the largest purchase of their life. The more keys I give out, the more people I am helping achieve their dream of being homeowners.”

“That’s something tangible I can take with me for the rest of my life,” he concluded.

Mitch’s Tip

For First Time Buyers: “If you are a first time buyer, now is the perfect time. There are low interest rates, low housing prices, and low mortgages being offered!”

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Garrett Thill, Realtor, DMA Real Estate


Garrett Thill is a 30-year-old realtor from San Diego who has “transplanted” into Imperial Valley and “loves the small town feel.” He earned his real estate license at age 22 and began pursuing real estate full time at 26. With hard work, Thill quickly rose to success, being named the Valley’s #1 Buyer’s Agent for both 2012 and 2013, and advancing to become the #1 Agent Overall for 2014.

Despite dropping out of college and never having a mentor in real estate, Thill successfully built his business from the ground up, advancing from knocking on doors to completing 27 transactions since January 1 this year. He currently has 14 homes in escrow, setting him on track to successfully complete his goal of finalizing 100 transactions for 2015.

Thill began real estate in a tough market, just a few years after the market had crashed, and people were not buying or selling as frequently as they are today.

“I’m glad I started when I did,” Thill said. “It made me humble and it was a good way to learn to work hard.” Now, he is building a team of agents around him, beginning with mentoring Allen. “My goal is for my team to outperform me,” he stated.

Thill seems to have perfected the art of “servant hood service,” often going above and beyond the normal call of realtors. For example, for those who have purchased a home with him, he mails out a “congratulations letter” congratulating them on their three-year-anniversary/milestone and giving friendly reminders to service the air conditioner, change smoke detector batteries, etc.

“It’s important for me to do people right,” he remarked.

Thill is also motivated by his family, stating he is “100 percent driven” by the desire to support his wife Cami, and their new son, Branson.

A recreational pilot, he enjoys flying with his wife and being there for both breakfast and bedtime for his son, as his father was for him.

When asked what he believes has contributed to his success at such a relatively young age, Thill stated, “I give everyone the same chance… I put my blinders on and don’t prejudge. I don’t stereotype – whether someone is 20 or 70 – everyone is worth it.”

“Those people who think they can’t (buy or sell a home), I give them an opportunity,” he said.

He further clarified his ideals by stating, “I approach this as a friend. I let (buyers and sellers) make their own decisions, but give them all the knowledge and education for what they want to do.”

“I just try to look out for others,” he said.

Garrett’s Tip

For Home Owners: “Most homeowners have no idea what their home is worth. Many people have the option to upsize. They often don’t realize they have equity and can get a bigger home!”

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