Our Story

In 1952, a young real estate agent named William C. Knapp found himself in the peculiar position of owning the company he had worked for just a day earlier.  His boss owed him so much money in commissions that he gave Knapp the company in lieu of payment.  Not at all daunted by the company's lack of cash flow, Knapp set about transforming Iowa Realty into the No. 1 real estate brokerage in Des Moines.

Iowa Realty has long proved a tough competitor.  In the late 1970's and 1980's, the company acquired several other Des Moines-area real estate brokerages and also created its own mortgage company along with the purchase of Iowa Title Company.  Its sales force ballooned to more than 500 agents by 1985, and its market share approached 40 percent.  As the name Iowa Realty grew in prominence, the company decided to capitalize on the recognition by establishing a franchise network, which today serves 41 independent real estate companies across Iowa.

In the early 1980's, Bill Knapp, then chairman, realized real estate companies, especially those in development, had to have access to more financial resources.  He struck a deal to sell Iowa Realty to Central Life Assurance Company, now HomeServices of America.  With the backing of the life insurer, Iowa Realty doubled in size.  Eventually Iowa Realty became the backbone in HomeServices of America that later included Edina Realty.  The mergers and acquisitions culminated in 1998, when MidAmerican Energy acquired AmerUs Home Services, Inc., including Iowa Realty.  The energy company has remained committed to its real estate operations, HomeServices of America, and continues to buy brokerages across the United States.  Affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway and led by Ron Peltier, HomeServices is the second-largest real estate company in the nation.

During Mike Knapp's lead as CEO, the company has also increased by acquiring several other real estate brokerages.  Beginning in 1993, the company acquired Byers & Happel in Cedar Rapids and Carol Jones, Realtors of Springfield, Missouri.  Knapp's most bold and daring acquisition came in 1995 when Iowa Realty purchased long-time rival, Des Moines' First Realty/Better Homes and Gardens, now Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices First Realty.

Iowa Realty continued to expand in 2001 with the acquisition of United Title and Settlement in Eastern Iowa consisting of Scott County Title, Linn County Title and Real Estate Links.  Iowa Title owns Scott County Title in Davenport with Linn County Title, the Cedar Rapids operation, a joint venture of Iowa Title and Skogman Realty. In 2002, Crowley Commercial Real Estate was purchased reinstituting Iowa Realty commercial real estate in the metro market.

Recently, Iowa Realty has undergone leadership changes and is now lead by CEO, Kim Bakey and President Brennan Buckley. Bakey and Buckley are proven leaders and they’ve both played a critical role in helping evolve the organization into what it is today. They are the perfect team to lead Iowa Realty through the next phase of our growth.

Offices continue to expand and today with over 1,200 sales associates in the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City metropolitan areas, Iowa Realty enjoys a major share of the market in the Des Moines Metropolitan Area and the State of Iowa.

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