One of the many blessings of buying and selling Miami real estate is the extraordinary camaraderie that exists between professionals in our industry. Such a phenomenon is difficult to quantify, but having worked several deals outside of Miami over the years, I can tell you with much certainty that this is the case. Real estate agents from other markets who venture into South Florida are often shocked at how well, in the main, we all get along; how rarely they experience ethical violations; and how this spirit of cooperation exists at every level. (According to the Miami Association of Realtors, 79.6 percent of all Miami real estate transactions happen between two Realtors — a particularly high rate, considering the rise of Zillow, developer sales, and “for sale by owner” transactions.) And while this professional solidarity certainly makes life easier for us local agents and brokers, I believe the real winners are Miami’s home buyers and sellers.
Allow me a brief look back before expanding on this point. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated our city, and made the practice of real estate extraordinary challenging. With the help of a local bank and the mutual trust shared with several of my colleagues from other brokerages, we formed an independent network called the Master Brokers Forum, and shared information and resources that allowed us to serve our respective clients during such a difficult time. Those relationships have only strengthened over the years, and today the MBF has more than 400 members, including a sister chapter covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. Such a unique organization could only thrive in a friendly and responsible environment.
How does such a congenial ecosystem benefit local buyers and sellers?
Confidence: When agents on two sides of a deal know each other’s track record and the nature of how they do business, there is a mutual reliability that extends to both customers as well. If one of my trusted colleagues promises to do something on that very long road from signing a contract to filing the closing statements, it relieves me of the stress of daily checkups to ensure that what they say they are going to do actually gets done. Furthermore, wise clients give “the benefit of the doubt” to two experienced colleagues who are collaborating on a deal, allowing their confidence in one another to become the clients’ confidence and assurance in the transaction.
Familiarity: Let’s face it — even the smoothest of real estate deals can sometimes go “off track,” usually at the least convenient times. In those difficult situations when I have had to call the other Realtor at very odd hours (and not with good news), I am grateful when it is someone I have known for a long time, and with whom I can cut through the potential awkwardness and red tape.
Trust: Sometimes, my Realtor colleague knows both parties involved in our transaction, and may be in a position to facilitate both parts of the transaction — even my responsibilities — better than me. This happens rarely, but sometimes it is necessary to get a deal done. And it can only happen with enormous trust in the colleague, allowing me to step back with the faith that they will improve the transaction, have the ability to get it done, and that they would trust me if the situation was reversed.
Opportunities: By sharing stories, getting personal and learning about our Miami Realtor colleagues’ unique talents and histories, we sometimes develop new ideas and channels for business that might not be considered otherwise. Knowing them and valuing their expertise can be the difference between a successful negotiation and a “no go” on a deal. For example, I once completed a successful residential deal with a fellow broker who later came to me with a very good value on a commercial property, which I in turn presented to one of my residential buyers. (We wound up selling the commercial piece together.)
Creative solutions: Again, challenges can and do come from all directions when trying to complete a real estate deal. When this happens with a colleague I know and trust well, we are almost always able to develop unique and creative solutions that can be presented to our respective clients with confidence.
Security: At one of our MBF board meetings, a longtime colleague of mine remarked, “As I look around this table, I know that if I lost all my clients today, everyone in this group would refer me a customer and I would be back in business in no time.” I believe her observation best illustrates and exemplifies the message of this column.
I am not certain what inspires this unique solidarity among Miami real estate professionals. Perhaps it is our incredible weather, the mixing of so many different cultures or the shared experience of dramatic up-and-down real estate cycles. Whatever the reason, it is something I treasure, have worked hard to nurture and look forward to enjoying for many years to come.
Helen Jeanne Nicastri is the founder of the Master Brokers Forum, its 2016 “Legacy Award” honoree, and a Coldwell Banker agent in Miami. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-332-4534.
▪ This article was written for the Real Estate/Broker’s View space in Business Monday in the Miami Herald and reflects the opinion of the writer but not necessarily the newspaper.
▪ Realtors may submit columns for Broker’s View of 700 words to rclarke@MiamiHerald.com. This feature is intended primarily for residential brokers, but pieces about commercial real estate will also be accepted as space allows.