From 1 to 51 Real Estate Agents in 111 Days – How Diana Johnson’s Realty ONE Group Franchise Did It [Hint: Having In-Office Arcade Games Doesn’t Hurt!]
As a small business owner, making the decision to hire your first employees is not one you take lightly. Most entrepreneurs usually tread lightly. They want to be sure their first hire is the perfect fit for their company.
Diana Johnson didn’t have time to hem and haw. She had a Realty ONE Group operation to get up and running! She needed to build her team—and quickly.
And that she did.
At the time of our interview with Diana, she had only been in business for 111 days. She opened her Realty ONE Group office in Summerville, SC on December 1st of last year. Today, she has 51 agents working for her. FIFTY-ONE agents! Wrap your head around that.
It’s funny to hear how Diana got started in the business, and how it’s led her to where she is today. She jokes that she got into real estate naively. She had been a medical compliance coordinator earlier in her career. When she had twins, she decided to get into real estate – “on the side.”
She became rookie of the year that same year. So much for that part-time schedule she had in mind!
Diana started her career working for a traditional, nationally-branded company as so many agents do. As she became more successful, she started to grow her team. She started with an administrative assistant and eventually built out her team with four agents under her. In other words, Diana had some experience building a team. But 1 to 51 agents in 111 days? That’s not something she could have ever imagined.
So, how’d she get there?
Diana never dreamed of starting a Realty ONE Group franchise. In fact, she turned down the offer a few times before. She had a friend who was particularly persistent. He insisted she fly out to California to learn more about the opportunity. Eventually, Diana caved. Looking back, she’s so glad she did!
Diana talks about her first impressions of Realty ONE Group. “I found the company to be very innovative,” she says. “This was a model that was needed in the market where I’m from. It’s the type of model agents were demanding. If I didn’t do this franchise, someone else would.”
That’s how confident Diana is in the Realty ONE Group e franchise model. If she didn’t leap at this opportunity, someone else would. She didn’t want that to happen.
It took Diana a few months to get the gears in motion. It was the first time she had started her own business from scratch. She originally planned to take her time getting settled. Test the waters a bit. But the business took off faster than she could have ever expected.
Trial by fire, so they say.
“It was really stressful,” she recalls. “But I have a great team and we’ve climbed the mountains together.” Today, her team works out of a 4,500-square foot office that’s fully equipped with a conference room, small kitchen, reception area, training room, and 11 large offices that are about to be subdivided to make room for her growing team.
Oh, and did we mention the Ms. Pac-Man arcade game? Her office has one of those, too, just to keep the mood light. “I wanted to build a fun environment,” she says. “Real estate can be very stressful. I’ve lived through a down market. The last thing you want is a stuffy office.”
Her thoughtful approach seems to be working. She started the company with just an admin (who was her daughter, she points out). Within two weeks, she hired an office manager, someone Diana calls a lifesaver. “I don’t know what I’d do without her!” She’s since hired a second office manager who has a complimentary skillset and can help with graphic design, social media and more.
Two administrative staff – that seems reasonable. But 51 agents in less than four months?! That’s remarkable.
Diana says she’s gotten a lot of feedback from her agents already. They cite the company’s unconventional approach and in particular, Diana’s incredible energy, as a draw. Agents are excited by the tools and training Realty ONE offers (all at no cost to them). The technology available to the agents is unprecedented, and can be used by both new and experienced agents alike. “It’s what agents have been demanding for years,” Diana reminds us.
Interestingly, Diana never talks about the company’s compensation structure. You might think that the 100% commission model is what drives agents. And while that’s certainly part of it, Diana doesn’t lead with that as a primary factor for her team’s growth. At the end of the day, it’s really about the support, tools, technology and training that Realty ONE provides that agents are drawn to. THAT’S what will help agents succeed.
And it seems to be working. Her office is still expanding. Her agents are thriving. Diana has one agent who started with the company on January 1st and in that time, has already doubled what she earned all of last year working for a large, traditional brokerage shop.
Don’t expect to see Diana slowing down any time soon. She’s already looking at opening a second office in Mt. Pleasant, about 20 minutes away from her Realty ONE Group office in Summerville. Mt. Pleasant is a coastal community and as a result, homes tend to be listed at a higher price point. Diana thinks the Realty ONE brokerage model would be equally successful in that area. Agents tend to agree—a number have already expressed interest in working out of that office if she were to pull the trigger.
Diana has big plans for Realty ONE Group. She knows what it’s like to work for a market leader, and knows what she needs to do to disrupt the status quo. She can do that with Realty ONE, and is looking to keep growing the number of agents working as part of her team.
“We’re entering this market with a bang, and I sure plan to continue that.”
If you’re in the Charleston, SC area and want to learn more, give Diana a call! She’d be happy to have a 100% confidential conversation to tell you more about the company. “There’s a platform out there for every agent,” she says, “but I think we have something special to offer.”
Diana Johnson, Realty ONE Group Coastal
April 10, 2018Read More
From a Real Estate Team to a Broker Owner – How Barry Aldridge Did it and Why He’s Not Looking Back
It was an unlikely move—going from being a wholesale Christmas tree provider to becoming a real estate broker. But for Barry Aldridge, it was a move that made a lot of sense.
Both of Barry’s parents were in the real estate industry, so he’d been learning about real estate from a young age. After 20 years in the tree business he decided to follow their lead, once and for all.
Barry experimented at first. Like many real estate agents, he worked for a number of the larger brokerage companies at first: Keller Williams, Century21 and others. Those companies felt too large, too impersonal. So he tried working for a few boutique real estate agencies. Again, it just didn’t feel quite right.
The fact of the matter was, Barry was tired of hustling day in and day out and then only receiving a fraction of the commission he had so rightly earned. Most real estate brokerages (large and small alike) take anywhere from 30% to 50% of their agents’ commissions. This seemed reasonable, if the brokerages were providing robust support, training and advanced software programs for their agents to use. But more often than not, he was forking over thousands of dollars in commission for almost nothing in exchange. He liked being a real estate agent, but begrudged writing that check to his broker.
There had to be a better way, Barry thought.
And that’s why Barry was so psyched to learn about Realty ONE Group. Realty ONE Group is a transaction-based brokerage. Whereas other brokerages charge a percentage of agents’ commissions, Realty ONE has set fees based upon a four-tier system. Their 100% brokerage model has a fee structure that is totally transparent. Better yet, it saves agents money.
Barry was intrigued. He needed to learn more. He and his wife started chatting with a friend and learned that they, too, could open a Realty ONE Group franchise. There weren’t any yet in North Carolina, so Barry was skeptical, but he decided it was worth the risk. He dove right in.
That was last May. Over the next several months, Barry prepared to open his first Realty ONE Group franchise: Realty ONE Group Select. The brokerage opened its office on January 1, 2018 and at the time of this interview, he’d been in business for 80 days. What Barry has accomplished in that short of a time is pretty remarkable. Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights:
Barry opened a 3,300 square foot office – a space equipped with 8 offices, a conference room, and reception area. Not all agents want to come into the office, but he wanted to have plenty of space available for those who do, even if only now and then.
Barry has grown his team to 10+ agents. He has another 4 in the pipeline, and another 4-5 have promised to sign on with the company. He expects to have 20 agents in the next few weeks. Not bad for an agency that’s just ramping up!
Barry purchased a “bat phone”. For Barry, it was important that his agents could reach him anytime, anywhere. He’s made a commitment to his team that they can call him 24/7 and will
receive a call back within 30 minutes. Agents can call him on his “bat phone,” a line that only agents have the number to – nobody else.
Barry’s agents are already earning more in commissions with Realty ONE Group Select than they did working for their previous brokerages.
For example: on the sale of a $300,000 home, assuming a modest 3% commission, a real estate agent would typically earn $9,000. At most other agencies, which charge up to 50% in commissions, an agent may only take home $4,500 of his hard earned money. At Realty ONE Group Select, the same agent would only pay a flat $450 fee. The remaining $8,550 goes back in his own pocket. To date, Barry has not had a single agent that didn’t make more money by coming to Realty ONE.
So, it’s not just Barry that’s realizing success. His agents are finding this setup to be highly lucrative as well. And for Barry, that’s what matters.
Barry admits that he could probably earn more money if he just went out on his own. He knows how to sell real estate as well as anyone. But over the years, he’s come to realize that he has a talent for working with other agents and helping them succeed. When they do, he feels like a really proud father. It’s obvious, in talking to Barry, that he cares as much about his agents as any broker we’ve met to date.
There are other aspects of the business that Barry appreciates, too. He talks a lot about the technology that Realty ONE provides its agents. “There are so many technology tools available to us, and the company is always adding stuff weekly,” he says. He talks about software like Skyslope that facilitates paperless online transaction, and MoxySuite to create IDX searchable websites. “Technology is really important in today’s market,” Barry reiterates. And this is the first brokerage he’s worked with who has invested so much time and energy in putting that tech in agents’ hands – at no cost to them, to boot.
We were so excited to learn about Barry’s first 80 days, and are even more excited for what’s still in store. His energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and will undoubtedly help earn Realty ONE a reputation as the leader in their local market.
Interested in learning more about Barry’s Realty ONE startup story? Check out the video below!
Written by Robb Spearman, Regional Director for Realty ONE Group Heartland Region.
April 2, 2018Read More