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

Office: 843-972-9450

Cell: 843-345-6485


April 10, 2018

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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

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New Franchise Owners Share What the New Franchisee Training is Like

An interview with Al Galperin and Rebecca Bershad after they had completed new franchisee trainer in Irvine California. Find out why they bought a Realty ONE Group franchise and their experience with the franchise training.

March 30, 2018

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UNreal Podcast with Franchise Owner Karen Schnezler

Join Kacper Turek and Joshua Katz as they talk with Broker/Owner of Realty ONE Group Freedom, Karen Schnezler out of South Carolina.

Karen has owned and operated her brokerage for 17 years. You will learn why she converted her office over to a Realty ONE Group franchise

Grab a drink, click the link, and hear how she became a part of the ONE Family and advice she gives to her real estate professionals to achieve greater success, faster!

March 29, 2018

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Why Not Ditch Your Broker and Open Your Own Real Estate Brokerage?

I am not sure if you have an interest, but we are looking for top agents, top teams that want to open their own real estate brokerage under the Realty ONE Group franchise model. If you do, or if you know someone who does, please reach out to me.

Robb Spearman, Regional Director of the Heartland Region.

Call or Text: 515-202-2974

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March 23, 2018

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1 to 51 Agents in 111 Days

My guest is Diana Johnson the Broker / Owner of Realty ONE Group Coastal in Summerville, South Carolina. Diana shares her story how she went from 1 to 51 agents in 111 days, that’s right, 51 agents in her first 111 days.

1 to 51 Real Estate Agents in 111 Days

Robb: Hi Diana, thank you so much for joining me today. I know you’ve been very busy and I appreciate you taking the time out to share your story.

Diana: Thank you, Robb.

Robb: So Diana, where are you located? I’m curious, because I’ve never been to South Carolina, so I’m not familiar with the area. You’re in Somerville, is that right?

Diana: We are in Somerville, South Carolina. It’s right outside of the Charleston area, and that encompasses Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties.

Robb: So it’s three or four counties, is that correct?
Diana: We cover three counties.
Robb: Three counties, okay. So Somerville is like a suburb of Charleston?
Diana: I think you could say that.
Robb: Okay, very good. And are you on one MLS system?
Diana: We are on one MLS.
Robb: How many agents are in that MLS?
Diana: Oh goodness. Probably 8,000.
Robb: 8,000 agents?
Diana: We have agents graduating from school constantly, so it’s growing by the day.
Robb: Ah, very good. Now tell me a little bit about yourself. What did you do before real estate?

Diana: Before real estate, I was with MUSC, and I helped form the compliance committee, which came about during the Clinton Administration. And then I was a compliance coordinator for several of the departments down at MUSC.

Robb: What is MUSC?
Diana: Medical University of South Carolina, I’m sorry.

Robb: Oh, okay.
Diana: It’s the medical university in downtown Charleston. Robb: Now, after doing that, why did you get into real estate?

Diana: Well, I actually got in very naïvely. I had twins, and I decided that I wanted to work from home and just do a little bit of real estate on the side. But immediately, I was working more than I had previously worked, and ended up being the rookie of the year for my company.

Robb: Rookie of the year, that’s terrific. How long ago was that? Diana: That would’ve been in 2005.
Robb: 2005. What is that, 13 years?
Diana: Yeah, 13 or 14 years.

Robb: Did you work for a traditional legacy-type company with the typical commission splits? (more…)

March 21, 2018

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80 Days After Opening a Real Estate Brokerage

I interview Barry Aldridge who is the Broker / Owner of Realty ONE Group Select in Mooresville, NC. Barry opened his office 80 days ago, and we talk about the thought process of opening a real estate office, and how it has grown over the last 80 days.

R: Alright, Facebook Live, 1 o’clock, all things real estate brokerage.

R: So we’ve got a great interview with Barry Aldridge, and he is the owner and broker of Realty ONE Group Select in North Carolina. It’s only 80 days since his office has been open. So this is kind of fun and interesting to learn. I’m excited about it, because I want to hear about his thought process of why he wanted to start an office, and how we went about doing that, and also what the last 80 days have been like. So we’re going to get started here. I really appreciate you joining me. If you’re not able to watch all the interview, I’ll have it here. You can watch the replay or catch parts that you want to catch. Go ahead and make any comments on this post if you watch it live or afterwards, and then Barry or myself will answer them. And you’re more than welcome to reach out to me or Barry. So let’s get the show going for you here as I get it all up and operational.

R: Barry, thanks for joining me today.

B: Thanks for having me, Robb.

R: I really appreciate it. Hey, where are you at right now? I love that ONE in the background.

B: Well, I’m actually in my office. I’m actually sitting where agents or clients would sit in my office, and this is one of our feature walls behind me, that was given to me by my wife when we did our sign stuff, she surprised me with a nice little bonus. It was kind of nice.

R: Well it looks really, really sharp. And is that tile behind the ONE? What is that?

B: No, that’s actually a faux reclaimed wood.

R: Ooh, nice.

B: Yeah, and we have one similar to it in our entrance. It’s kind of one of our features that we bring a level of sophistication, but kind of design element that really attracts the brand, of course.

R: Oh, it’s sharp, it’s sharp. So Barry, tell me a little bit about this. I know you opened your brokerage just 80 days ago, but what did you do before real estate? Or have you always been in real estate?

B: No, I’ve been in real estate awhile. Prior to real estate, I was actually in the nursery and tree business. We grew Christmas trees in the mountains of North Carolina, and that evolved into a wholesale tree business, and we ship to about 25 different states across the country. Did that for about 21 years.

R: Wow, 21 years.

B: Yeah.

R: And then how did you get into real estate?

B: Well, real estate was kind of a natural progression for me. My mother was a very successful—probably one of the most successful—agents in our area at the time. I grew up in the real estate business, going on listing appointments, and showing houses with my mom when I was little, and it just seemed like I knew real estate from the very beginning. I kind of rebelled against real estate for awhile, and like I said, went down a different path and grew this one business. When we sold that business, I looked to move back into North Carolina and my mom and stepfather, who owned a brokerage at that time, asked me if I wanted to come on board, and I had already been licensed, so I said, sure, let me try it. And, I don’t know, the rest is kind of history. I realized that I probably should’ve been doing it a long time ago. I love real estate.

R: Oh, that’s terrific. What year was that when you started real estate?

B: 2003. So I’m almost at the 15 year mark in real estate now.

R: 15 year mark. Now, you were selling with your mom, perhaps her brokerage. Were those 15 years all with her, or was it some other companies?

B: No, I was only there a couple of years, then I branched out on my own and I experimented with a lot of different companies. Of course, I went the Remax route, I went with Keller Williams, I went with a couple boutique companies—independent, smaller companies—and for just a short period of time, I had a small agency that was just myself and one other person.


March 20, 2018

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UNwritten Stories of Tomorrow

We have officially launched a new blog! Discover the UNwritten stories of tomorrow where we will bring you the latest tech and news trends, current industry stories, UNtraditional podcasts and stories of the future.

UNwritten Stories Blog

March 15, 2018

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