Last year, there has been a sense of pessimism about what real estate was going to face in 2017. Basically, it surrounded the broker-centric model that is used in the industry.
However, it was just a prediction, and so it was. Actually, real estate in the US still fared well this year, and when it comes to recruitment, there are many brokers who reported some great stories. But like any area of the industry, it was not all wins—there are also losses or those that planted doubts in the minds of others.
It is time to look into the hits and misses that are seen so far in this years’ real estate brokerage head-hunting season.
Speaking of going big, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin has managed to shake things up in the real estate world with his ambitious plan of expanding into 10 new markets in 20 of the largest US cities to gain 20% of the country’s property market by 2020. The cities that are all slated to become his company’s outposts under the plan include Seattle, Houston, San Diego, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles among others.
Sharing a few of his strategies of how to realize his ambitious plan, Reffkin says, “In the top 20 cities, 20 percent market share by 2020. “How are we going to do that? By investing in our agents, giving them support and building more for them than any company in the history of this country.”
The news of this strategic plan immediately followed the hiring spree at Compass that started in the third quarter of this year. During this period, top-selling brokers from other firms, such as Sotheby’s, The Agency, and Halstead, all jumped ship for Reffkin’s company. Until now, sources say that the company’s push to recruit new agents will go on through 2018.
Aside from Compass, California Regional MLS has also pursued a huge step in improving its processes. To remove the difficulties in the use of tools and software systems, which can cause agent paralysis, the realtor listing service has opted to make their recruitment playbook more streamlined by actually removing some of those obstacles.
In particular, the service has created a system of choice where brokers and agents are allowed to use the most widely-used MLS software platforms—Black Knight’s Paragon and CoreLogic’s Matrix—and the newly added W&R Studios’ Cloud MLX. Now, members will be able to access the MLS database as a benefit.
As a result, California Regional MLS has provided their members more choices to interface with MLS data; lessened software woes when it comes to agent on-boarding; reduced dissatisfaction among users; and improved cooperation across geographies.
But some firms are not so lucky this season. One of them is Bamboo Realty, which closed its doors to their agents and is now facing lawsuits.
The millennial-focused brokerage, which started in 2009 as a rental-only firm, claimed that they have exhausted all their business and personal resources to keep the business running and working.
Many of their agents claimed that husband and wife founders Brian and Sarah Jones either failed to pay them or not at all. This happened on more than one occasion too.
Expressing his regret over what happened to the firm, Brian says, “We exhausted all of our business and personal resources to make it work, but in August made the hard decision to close our doors. There are some agents and vendors who have not received their full compensation, and for that we are deeply sorry.”
While some real estate brokerage firms shared success stories during this season, others did not. Nonetheless, the industry as a whole is expected to be stronger and to see more growth next year.