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, 2018