In early 2017, one of our upstart East Coast franchises, HomeSmart Realty Advisors in Philadelphia, adopted the phrase “No B.S.” (no broker splits) in their marketing to agents. This statement is powerful because it clearly summarizes the frustrations agents have with “traditional” models. It also explains why thousands of agents continue to look to a model like HomeSmart’s as the place where they want to grow their business.
A Transaction-Fee Business Model Is Not a Discount Brokerage
When I was an agent, there weren’t a lot of options. If you wanted to be an agent, you had to deal with broker splits—or B.S., as many agents would say. You gave up 20, 30, 40 percent or more of your commission every time you sold a house—and, you worked hard for that commission. Paperwork and file review was a slow and inefficient process. More time was spent chasing approval and signatures than getting leads and listings.
That’s why, the day I opened HomeSmart in 2000, I started building technology that, combined with brokerage business systems, would allow brokers to offer agents an alternative to brokerage splits (B.S.) by keeping 100 percent of their commissions, and, at the same time, run a profitable brokerage business.
Early on, there were dissenters and those who labeled us as a discount brokerage. Nearly 20 years later, the industry finally caught up to what I knew then. Technology, efficiency and customer service would become the recipe that enables growth for both the brokerage and its agents.
New Models, Old Problems
Today, there are new models and brokerage concepts emerging by the week, it seems. Some of them follow changing consumer preferences. Others promise ownership in various formats. All ask the agent to give up portions of their commission.
While these trends continue to get headlines, what we’re experiencing is that agents would rather have control of 100 percent of their commissions, and make their own personal decisions on how to invest in their businesses and their future.
Why the 100 Percent No B.S. System Wins
What many of today’s trending brokerages continue to ignore is balance. Some take the extreme position of being all-in on technology, but in ways, agents still end up paying heavily in commissions and extra fees. iBuyers have started to retrofit agents into the transaction, but not in a way that allows agents to be in control of their business.
Tech-enabled systems must help agents effortlessly navigate their day-to-day business and their sales transactions, so they can prioritize their relationship with their clients at every step. Balance of technology, process and people has always been the core focus of the HomeSmart brokerage business system, and, it works.
That same start-up franchise in Philadelphia adopted our model and grew from zero to just under 100 agents in one year. As our industry continues to grow and change, at HomeSmart, we’ll continue to stay focused on a business model that removes the B.S., leverages technology that supports operational efficiencies and allows our agents to provide exceptional customer service to their clients.
Matt Widdows is the CEO and founder of HomeSmart International. HomeSmart is built around technology that provides franchisees and agents with cutting-edge tools, which enable them to spend more time focusing on clients and the profitability of their businesses. Learn more about franchising opportunities at HomeSmart.com/Franchising.
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