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Speculation growing that ownership change is on tap for Lawrence-based Stephens Real Estate

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It sure appears that one of Lawrence’s larger and older real estate agencies is about to be sold.

Multiple sources are indicating that a deal is expected before the end of the year that will sell Stephens Real Estate to two employees of the Lawrence-based agency.

Doug Stephens, president of Stephens, wasn’t yet ready to comment about the speculation.

But talk around business circles is that Stephens employees Pat McCandless and Chris Earl will be principals in the new deal. McCandless declined to comment when reached. McCandless is the company’s director of personnel and Earl is Stephens’ sales manager.

Sources indicate the deal is progressing but hasn’t yet been finalized.

If the deal is completed, it will be the first time since the company’s founding in 1978 that it hasn’t been controlled by the Stephens family.

Longtime real estate broker Bob Stephens founded the agency after it split off from the Mitchell-Stephens Agency, which had its roots dating to 1970. Doug Stephens, Bob’s son, became president of the company in 1997, according to the company’s Web site.

The agency went on to become not only a large seller of homes, but the Stephens family became active in opening new areas of Lawrence and Douglas County for residential development.

No word yet on whether the pending deal will include a name change for the company, or whether the company has any plans to affiliate with a national real estate franchise. The company through its history has been one of the few agencies in the city that has not partnered at some point with a larger national real estate firm, such as a Century 21 or Coldwell Banker.

We’ll let you know if the deal becomes official.

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