After many years of working and operating as independent Miami real estate broker/owners (from two separate offices), we recently decided to join a large national company. For both of us, this important decision was made after careful thought and reflection, but one we are absolutely delighted to have settled. In doing so, we have each become part of a growing trend that we believe represents the present and future direction of our industry.
There were many factors that influenced and shaped our respective decisions to end our time as independent brokers, beyond the financial rewards of doing so. The most critical ones we shared are as follows:
1. Celebrity. Let’s face it: Well-known names tend to literally open a lot of doors. Customers just have a different comfort level when they recognize a large, established company’s name, and instinctively assume that their counterparts (buyers or sellers) will know the name as well. It makes our jobs — and our agents’ jobs — exponentially easier.
2. Culture. It was very important to each of us to find a partner that shared our respective core values and philosophies — not only about business, but about people and the experience of buying and selling real estate. We each put a tremendous value on relationship building and maintenance, and only considered joining our new company after feeling certain about their commitment to the same.
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It also helped to know that our company has a reputation for being selective about which offices they purchase. They only look for top producers with integrity, who are well-known and respected in their communities. Neither of us were asked to give up our “identities” in this transition.
3. Cutting-edge technology. The growing influence of technology on real estate simply cannot be overstated. Companies are spending billions of dollars to put listings in front of the “right” buyers faster and more efficiently than ever, and these listings feature increasingly high-quality photos, videos, and graphic design. From our first meetings with our new company, we were absolutely blown away with this incredible technology platform, and its “next-level” ability to showcase properties. As independent brokers, this is an area we found to be very expensive and time-consuming to compete.
4. Comfort. Our new company has experience with shifting independent brokers like us into the fold, and it has made each of our transitions smooth. We have been given reliable and practical support as principals of our agencies, and that support extends completely to our agents. Each of us had concerns about how our teams would respond to this dramatic change, but those seem to have been unfounded. In fact, our agents tell us that they feel empowered and comfortable when they go to listing meetings, present market analyses to buyers, and use the company’s impressive suite of tools and products. Our sales meetings are full of energy and excitement.
It is important to understand this in contrast to the experience of owning a smaller, boutique firm. While the ups and downs can be thrilling, it can often be lonely and uncertain, and the encouragement provided by this steady stream of support is much appreciated at this stage of our careers.
5. Connections. Our clients are the true winners of this transition. They benefit from the amazing access provided by our new company’s well-known brand, which also delivers exposure to a nationwide network of agents, built on a foundation of collaboration and diversity. Our listings not only appear on the MLS (multiple listing service) and the leading real estate sites, they also appear on our company’s network and we find that they sell much faster and more often to our new colleagues.
6. Compensation. All the comforts and connections in the world would be useless if our agents didn’t feel like they were being compensated fairly or had the opportunity to earn more money in the transition. Happily, the aforementioned factors work collectively to deliver exceptional leads that quickly become closed sales, and with a generous commission structure for the participating agents.
7. But we still love indys. In the interest of balance, we thought it only fair to mention the benefits of our independent broker colleagues throughout the region, with whom we still work and admire. These entrepreneurs work and act “out of the box”, with the freedom to pursue their own unique business plans and marketing styles. Many belong to networks of independent brokerages, which give them some of the same technological and network advantages enjoyed by larger companies.
South Florida real estate customers are fortunate to have so many exceptional choices when it comes to their representation. For us, the choice to join a national company has been rewarding and invigorating, keeping us one step ahead of the curve in an increasingly dynamic industry.
Master Brokers Forum board member Iliana Abella is the executive director of sales of GMI | Abella Group with Compass, and can be reached at 305-505-0488 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org. Master Brokers Forum board member Karen Matluck is a luxury real estate advisor with Compass Aventura, and director of sales for Matluck Group. She can be reached at +1 (305) 335-1010 and/or email@example.com.
▪ This piece was written for Business Monday in the Miami Herald and does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the newspaper.
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