RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

DEC 2018

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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RISMedia's REAL ESTATE December 2018 89 BRAND RECOGNITION Starting an independent brokerage can provide the opportunity for au - tonomy and flexibility. As an indepen- dent broker, there are a lot of posi- tives: It's your name, it's everything you've created, and you're not tied to a long-term contract. You also have complete control over the branding, marketing assets and promotional style—but unless you're a marketing guru or have someone in your back pocket who is, this could be intimi - dating and costly. Creating a brand from scratch means developing a name and the look and feel of the company, as well as collateral, a website and every - thing else that represents your pres- ence in the industry. While you're in control of your own brand, maintain - ing a strong marketing program can be a substantial financial undertak - ing compared to what you'd pay at a franchise like HomeSmart, where all marketing programs are at no addi - tional cost to brokers or their agents. For many real estate profession - als, what makes an established fran- chise brand so appealing is that it's easily recognizable. Agents trust the brokers they align with, so it's impor - tant for brokers to think about brand- ing and how they can provide a solid branding experience for agents and consumers alike. ADAPTABILITY Brokers and agents who operate un - der a franchise face challenges, as well. As the industry shifts, it's cru - cial that an established franchisor is able to adapt to current trends and keep up with consumers' needs. Many of the longest-standing brands in the country are evolving more to - day than ever before, and this evo- lution is necessary to stay relevant and provide the on-demand experi - ence brokers and agents need so they can, in turn, meet rapidly chang - ing consumer expectations. As an independent, you may be able to move fast because you're operating as a standalone entity, but with the support of an open-minded and cre - ative franchisor, you'll have a wider net and resources to help you foreshadow industry and market trends and adapt efficiently and to scale. Leaning on a franchisor for guid - ance and support doesn't have to mean brokers and agents lose individuality. Franchisors are real - izing this, and modern models like HomeSmart International are now allowing the individual to identify themselves, while still branding in accordance with their brokerage's standards. VALUE THROUGH SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY Any broker, whether a franchise owner or independent, is going to have overhead. Ask yourself what it's going to cost you. The differentiation is either: A. Starting an agency where you have to purchase absolutely ev - ery tool and system you and your agents will need to be successful. B. Joining a franchisor that offers you the tools and technology you need to run your business and has already figured out the recipe for success. When you buy a franchise like HomeSmart, you're not only getting a name that's identifiable, but also a proven business system and an end- to-end integrated technology set. WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE? Big guys in the real estate space are gobbling up small and medium bro - kerages who are struggling because they can't afford all the technology and systems they need. If you look at the top 10 compa - nies in RISMedia's 2018 Power Bro- ker Report, most of them are fran- chises, and they're all well-known brands. As you think about indepen - dent versus franchise, look at your MLS marketplace and see who has the top marketshare. You also need to understand your business plan and what you're trying to accomplish. This is key when deciding whether you want to talk to a traditional brokerage or a transaction-based brokerage like HomeSmart. RE Bryan Brooks is the senior vice president of Franchise Sales for HomeSmart International, responsible for spearheading the company's domestic and interna- tional franchise growth initiatives, including mergers, acquisitions, roll-ins and conver- sion opportunities. For more information about HomeSmart International franchising oppor- tunities, visit HomeSmart.com/ Franchising. To Franchise or Not to Franchise? That Is the Question Commentary by Bryan Brooks W hen you decide to open a real estate brokerage, you can take one of two paths: go indie and open your own unaffiliated brand; or leverage an established, national franchisor brand. Both options present their own set of challenges and benefits. Let's discuss the pros and cons of each.

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