Walls are killing your mojo, man
Real estate is an industry that was built on co-operation, two Realtors working together to create the perfect situation for all parties. We as Realtors succeed in this environment as we are inherently social people, we crave the exchange, the interaction. But, somewhere along the real estate journey, our industry has lost its collective way. Offices have become more competitive than co-operative, more hierarchal than helpful, and too often Realtors are left to fight the battle of building a career on their own.
If you ask any Realtor what the most important attributes of a successful real estate office are, culture will undoubtedly be in the top three. Yet most of today’s real estate brokerages are simply not designed to promote a sustainable culture of equality, integrity and sense of community within the brokerage. It’s a serious problem and many companies, including ours, are working to break the model.
The Landlord Tenant Relationship.
Most brokerages function more as a Landlord/Tenant relationship rather than that of a true partnership between management and agents. The Broker takes the big leap and leases 10,000 sq ft of commercial space and then works to slice the space up into a combination of private offices and cubicle spaces. The more desks, the more possible desk fees. The model is wrong from the start, Agents and Brokers simply are not working in the same direction here.
Desk fees have nothing to do with Agent success. They merely promote an environment of complacency and tight spending from ownership - that investment into Agent success simply doesn’t need to be there. As a lovely footnote, you better hope you can come up with that monthly cash because the juice is on! That’s right, many brokers are one small step away from bonafide loan sharking with the ludicrous interest they charge on late or missed desk fee payments.
It’s a business model, I get it. But it’s the wrong one.
Here is a novel idea how about no desk fees… ever, and instead tie Brokerage success to Agent success. That’s right, the brokerage only creates revenue when their Realtors are successful. Brokerage and Agent goals perfectly aligned. The Brokerage has a vested interest in ensuring they are training and putting the absolute best Realtors onto the street - the success of everyone’s business now depends on it.
Sounds risky for the brokerage, right?
Sure is, but for far too long brokerages have been hiding behind the security of consistently flowing desk fees. Real estate is a risk/reward business and I think Brokers should share the burden of that responsibility with their Agents. Through good times and bad, we can all get through this together.
When brokers chop their space up into individual offices inevitably some offices are larger, have better natural light or are in a better location inside the office walls. In most cases, the sweetest office spaces are reserved for the top performing or veteran Realtors - I know this because I used to occupy one. What I didn’t realize at the time was this was creating a natural hierarchy inside the office. Intentionally or not, the Broker has created an office built on hierarchy, not equality.
If you are lucky, you make it out of the cubicles and into one of those private offices. A motivating goal, sure, but then you just become part of the problem. We are Realtors pulling in the same direction, not Kardashians, and none of us should be considered less or more important to the Brokerage.
Open Walls, Open Conversation
Let’s move on to discuss new age office design. By removing the confines of private offices and creating an open shared work space, we promote an aura of collaboration. Egos can be left at the door, as you have removed the places from them to hide themselves away. Realtors work alongside one another as equals, learning from each other, sharing in property conversation and collectively running healthier businesses.
I think the advantages of a newbie agent working alongside a veteran are pretty obvious, but it will shock you as to how much mojo the veterans in your office will pull from the new blood.
It’s all about that energy. If you have been in the industry long enough, I am sure the day to day of real estate can drag you down from time to time. New agents have that youth and infectious exuberance about the industry, remember those days? They can give you that shot in the arm your organization needs on a daily basis. It’s a mutual victory from old to young and from veteran to newbie.
Conversations flow, experiences are shared, time is gifted and your company mojo only grows.
Culture of the right agents
Unfortunately most Real Estate Brokerages are still set up with a quantity over quality mindset. Got a heartbeat, not currently incarcerated and have a real estate license? Well then, welcome to the ‘team’.
Each agent is seen as a potential payday and brokers will often turn a blind eye to shaky ethics and brand-damaging behaviour. These Brokerages are built on a similar model to their questionable agents - a burn and turn set up that has both Agents and the Brokerage constantly looking for new blood. I am telling you these models simply don’t work in an open and collaborative space. There is no where to run and hide for these folks.
Just one more reason to tear down some walls, it makes the statement that you actually stand for change.
It’s happening in every industry
While an open and collaborative office space has really been the calling card of the tech industry, we are seeing it across almost every industry now. Plenty of research has been done, people are healthier, happier and more productive in a collaborative space. Well, maybe not the ones with the big egos and dicey ethics, but you don’t want to build your company around them anyhow.
It works really well for us at TrilliumWest and we would be happy to share our experiences with you anytime.