RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

JUL 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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90 July 2018 RISMedia's REAL ESTATE Barbara Pronin: Let's begin with a lit- tle personal background, and a brief description of your firm's history and positioning in the marketplace. Long Doan: I have been in the industry for over 25 years, although the first 15 years were spent on the mort- gage side. I started Realty Group in 2009 and closed more than 1,000 transactions in our first four years. Mike, who was a top producer rank- ing in the top one percent of Minne- sota real estate agents, joined me in 2011. In 2014, when the real estate landscape changed and the market began recovering, we decided to partner and launch Realty Group 2.0 with a grand total of eight agents and some very definite ideas about the way we wanted to run our brokerage. Mike Bernier: We are grateful to have had remarkable success in these first four years, doubling our net growth year-over-year and expanding from our original eight agents to 250- plus real estate professionals and growing. We currently operate out of three Twin Cities-area offices, and we expect to open two more offices within the next 18 months. BP: So what approach have you been taking to fuel this kind of growth? MB: To start with, we recruit very carefully. There is a lot of buzz in the real estate community here because we are ranked as one of the state's fastest-growing companies with the sixth most-recognized brand—so we get a fair number of inquiries. But most of the agents we take on board are referred by our current agents, so our growth has been both organic and controlled. LD: In effect, we have 250-plus re- cruiters, and the reason our agents do the recruiting for us is that we attract, promote, develop and sup- port them in ways that encourage and foster their success as busi- ness owners. We provide them with cutting-edge technology and market- ing support, coaching and training at every level, and one of the most competitive commission payouts in the industry. It's a partnership mod- el that works, and it benefits every- one, including consumers, who are getting industry-best service from the most qualified agents in the business. BP: How would you describe the state of your market? What are the challenges and opportunities? LD: There is still an inventory short- age in Minneapolis-St. Paul and sur- rounding areas, but we maintain a proactive and collaborative environ- ment with a high success rate in winning listings and multiple offers in this hyper-competitive market. Our greatest challenge, I think—which is also our greatest opportunity—is keeping up our forward-thinking ap- proach and improving on our own growth rate. BP: What is it that you do differently to set your firm and its agents apart from the competition? LD: In a word, it's our partnership model. Each agent is truly the CEO of his or her own company. We flip the traditional real estate model so that instead of our agents working for us, we work for them. Our job is to bring value to them, which we do by providing a 100-percent commis- sion with a flat fee. Our core purpose is to help them grow their business, which we do via leadership, market- ing tools, leads, facilities and, most of all, the culture of success that defines us. We understand that this is a people business—that there is more than one path to success and that one size doesn't fit all. And we take the time to encourage every one of our agents to find the best path for them. MB: There are no layers here be- tween us and the agents. We take a family approach to the business and are directly available to our agents when they need us. Taken together, our agents are given everything they need to succeed in running their own business. We must be doing something right because here in Minnesota, the average number of sales per agent is between four and five per year. Our agents are, for the most part, closing between 10 and 11 transactions a year, and our core of top agents will sell hundreds of homes this year. BP: You've mentioned your strategy for aracting and recruiting agents. "Our greatest challenge, I think—which is also our greatest opportunity—is keeping up our forward-thinking approach and improving on our own growth rate." - LONG DOAN Broker and CEO, Realty Group Inc.

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