Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Metro Brokers, a leading real estate brokerage company in metro Atlanta and north Georgia, and one of the largest in the nation, announced a long-term franchise agreement on Dec. 7, 2009 with two of the most well known brands in the industry. Metro Brokers’ residential division now operates as part of the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC franchise network. In addition, Metro Brokers’ commercial real estate division now operates as part of the Coldwell Banker Commercial franchise network.

This is one of the largest franchising agreements in recent years within the real estate industry.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jenny Norman?

Harry Norman Realtors is absorbing Jenny Pruitt & Associates, creating one of the largest residential real estate firms in Atlanta with 1,474 agents.

The two agencies are owned by HomeServices of America, an affiliate of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Last year, they merged office operations. The latest merger puts all agents under the Harry Norman brand. Dan Parmer will be CEO and Martha Hayhurst will be president.

Thousands of local real estate agents have left the business because of slumping home sales, but Hayhurst said that is not why the merger occurred. “This alliance just seemed the right way to make the firm stronger,” she said.

Parmer said the new Harry Norman will be the largest residential real estate company in Atlanta in terms of sales volume.

Harry Norman was started 79 years ago and grew to more than 1,000 agents. Jenny Pruitt began 20 years ago and employed about 340 agents before the merger.

HomeServices acquired Harry Norman in 2006 and Jenny Pruitt in 2001. Founder Jenny Pruitt left to help start Atlanta Fine Homes.

Buffett and other investors own Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company of 50 firms, including MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., which owns HomeServices. HomeServices owns several real estate firms throughout the country.


Monday, January 14, 2008

I got an invite from a client today to join Yuwie. I will admit I do have pages at Facebook, Myspace and the others. I don't actively use them, except when clients see me and such. I will admit I have never received business from these sites, but I am hoping in the next year that it will help push the envelope with some clients (as in help me close the deal).

Basically, the above is just an excuse on why I have these sites. Well most recently with Konnects, Tagged and Zolve, this Yuwie is intriguing. It says, "

What is Yuwie?=================First off, Yuwie is 100% FREE. Yuwie is like any
other "connect with friends" or social networking site. But we have one major
difference.Use Yuwie
- Get Paid!
Yuwie pays you to blog, upload pictures, refer friends, chat,
hang out, etc.

It sets itself up like an MLM Blog. What it's done is create a very welcoming atmosphere, one that sort of polices itself in the interest of money. So instead of seeing nasty stuff (granted I haven't looked that hard) it's taken the best parts of social networking and taken the leader of social networking (myspace)'s platform and given it to you in an ad/incentive filled experience.

The question I have is this: Is anyone making money with this site or "social" networking at all?

In any case, I signed up because of a client. If you'd like to check it out, please click the link. Otherwise, I look forward to your thoughts on Social Networking.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


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LIST YOUR HOME FOR FREE! only a few gimmicks, no promises.

As posted in Active Rain there's a new service in town and it aims at taking the discounter services by offerring them for FREE. Iggy's House is a new real estate company that offers free listings in exchange for holding you hostage as a buyer.

It's not without benefits. Iggy will never help you personally, but the fat little comic character will again, put your home on the MLS for free and only keep some of the buyer's agent side commission for themselves. That's not too bad of deal for doing nothing. In exchange for this non-service, you get no representation, hounded by agents looking for a steal on the home and most likely a tough deal on the purchase since, let's face it, no one that does something for free will ever compete with someone who is trying to feed a family.

On the surface, there isn't anything wrong with giving away the service. In fact, although popular opinion is that discounters are new to the marketplace, they have in fact, been around since the beginning. Whether it's through a limited service option or a "hookup" for a friend, commissions have been discounted and there remains a solid place for that. Giving the service away in exchange for the other part of the transaction is just good business sense.

However, leaving the customer high and dry when it comes to negotiations only hurts the market. The average agent in Atlanta nets, their seller 97% while discounters are closer to 92%. So in the end they lose more then they save, in addition, because the homes are recorded on the MLS, these homes are used as comparables and now instead of getting a nice 5% bump on appreciation every year you're likely to end up more like 2 or 3%. Or since Iggy and the rest of the discounters like to inflate our average sales price to $350K (more than 150K over average), around $11,000 is lost.

It's obvious, this writer didn't go to "gramma" school, but in any case, it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure out that eventually something's got to give. Either the MLS is open to the public to enter whatever they want - eroding the integrity of the system - or there needs to be minimum standards. Then again, you can represent yourself in court....

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

ERA - True Trailblazer or Copy Cat?

Recently, RIS Media posted their "cover story." A story about ERA, a relatively new real estate company that has similiar principles as Keller Williams. I won't go into the details of the pandering article, you can read it here. However, I will highlight ERA's points here.

What they're offering:
  • to sell you back the leads they generate off their marketing (ala Remax, ZipRealty, Ect)
  • borrowed training models (borrowed from tired and old to tried and true)
  • online training
  • Global Brand Recognition - (it's in 45 countries, but I'm not sure it's recognized)
  • Local Marketing Tools - I've not seen this locally.
  • - Online intranet site that puts everything in one place.
  • Traditional Commission Structure - 70/30 plus franchise fee
  • Some form or recruitng bonus

A quick glance at reveals a sophmoric flash presentation that tells you that what has become mandatory for the big Real Estate companies (an intranet) is adequate at ERA.

What ERA has assembled is a wedding day for most Realtors, with alot borrowed, something blue and a little bit of something new. However, after the honeymoon, it'll be interesting to see if ERA can KEEP their agents over the years with these lackluster offerrings.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

CBS News Magazine Show Misses the Mark

May 14, 2007 -- In the world of political campaigns, it's a standard ploy to set the stage with an empty chair when one candidate refuses to debate his opponents.

The CBS show 60 Minutes gave the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® the empty chair treatment in a May 13 segment that examined the impact of online brokerages on the real estate industry. The show featured interviews with a representative from the now-defunct eRealty and the president and CEO of Redfin, but no one from NAR, even though NAR twice offered and prepared Association spokespersons for interviews with Leslie Stahl. It was CBS that made the decision it would rather interview our opponents and let them make unanswered -- and inaccurate and unfair -- accusations about REALTORS® and NAR policies.

The one-sided journalism and egregious errors served no one well, especially the once-vaunted news magazine show. NAR staff spent nearly a year working with CBS, briefing producers on the issues involved. The producers attended the REALTORS® Conference in New Orleans and met with NAR's legal counsel for half a day in Chicago. Yet, still the segment was full of major errors.

NAR is in communication with 60 Minutes about its unbalanced reporting and presentation of misinformation and will be sending the CBS network a letter demanding an opportunity to correct these errors and misrepresentations.

Here are some examples of the misinformation:
Error: The six percent commission is "sacrosanct."
Fact: All commissions are negotiable. The average commission rate is not 6 percent, but 5.1 percent, according to Real Trends.

Error: NAR is the industry's "governing body."
Fact: NAR is a trade association. It does not govern the industry.

Error: In 2003, NAR issued new rules of its own that threatened to block Internet discounters' access to the MLS.
Fact: The Virtual Office Website policy did not block access to MLSs for discounters or any other brokers who are members of the MLS.

Error: The MLS is the database that lists virtually every home for sale in the country.
Fact: There is no single national MLS. Rather, there are more than 900 local and regional multiple listing services. These are not simply "databases" but private exchange of offers of cooperation and compensation between real estate brokers.

Error: Eight states have "minimum service laws" that require REALTORS® to provide a level of service many Internet discounters can't afford.
Fact: "REALTOR®" is a trademarked term and should never be used synonymously with "real estate agent." The intent of minimum service laws is to ensure consumers receive a minimal level of service from licensees.

Error: The brokerage industry has a powerful lobby. Eleven states flatly prohibit rebates.
Fact: The intent of anti-rebate laws is to prevent kickbacks in real estate transactions, not to limit brokers' incentives to attract customers. The brokerage industry does not lobby for anti-rebate laws.

Other key points 60 Minutes misrepresented or overlooked:
  • NAR supports all business models and favors none. Our 1.3 million members include REALTORS® who work on a full-service basis, as well as those who consider themselves to be limited service, fee-for-service, minimum service, and discounters. We think it's great that consumers have a choice today.

  • The real estate industry has harnessed technology for the benefit of consumers and will continue to do so. Real estate is both high-tech and high-touch, so can be enhanced by both electronic and personal interaction.

  • There is no such thing as a "standard commission." Commissions are negotiable and prices vary. The fact is that commission rates have decreased 16 percent from 1991 to 2004 (source: Real Trends).

  • The real estate business is unique in that competitors must also cooperate with each other to ensure a successful transaction, and MLS systems facilitate that cooperation. The first MLS was created more than 100 years ago as way for brokers to share their listing agreements with each another in hopes of procuring buyers for their properties more quickly and efficiently than they could on their own.

  • The MLS is a tool to help listing brokers find cooperative buyer brokers to help sell their clients' homes. Without the collaborative incentive of the existing MLS, brokers would create their own separate systems, fragmenting rather than consolidating property information.


    Wednesday, May 09, 2007

    How Brokers Contribute to Agent Success
    Three top agents discuss how their brokers help them advance
    By Dr. Cliff Baird
    SOURCE: RISMEDIA, May 10, 2007-

    Here, three successful agents tell how good management factors into their continued success.
    Dominique Babcock, Keller Williams Realty, SLC, Salt Lake City, Utah: Babcock has a dedicated goal as a Realtor to be successful far beyond the average in closings, repeat business clients, and both professional skills and ethics. "I measure those successes' she says, " by the calculated sacrifices to my family and to myself."

    Sean Dionne, Century 21 Results, Sarnia, ON, Canada: Dionne has been in real estate for four years wallowing under a lack of guidance. Under new management and in a new agent-centered environment he has had more transactions in his first 4 months under new leadership than he had in his first 3 years.

    Sondra Blackwell, Coldwell Banker Reehl Properties, Inc., Fairhope, Alabama: Blackwell is an associate broker and a consistent top producer with over $8.3 million in sales for 2006 in the number one Coldwell Banker Office in the state of Alabama.

    How is your broker helping you to succeed in today's market?
    Dominique Babcock: My broker provides classes on a regular basis enabling Realtors to take the next chance. Everything else however, such as leads for buyers or sellers, is agent driven
    Sean Dionne: My broker proves to me everyday that, not only does he want to be successful personally, but more importantly he strives to help me and my co- workers be just as successful.
    Sondra Blackwell…My broker leads by example with a strong work ethic, great training,encouraging agents and emphasizing the importance of acquiring listings.

    What do brokers need to do to lead agents?
    DB: They should make tools and resources easily available. They should also be available by phone or in person for various situations based on urgency and need.
    SD: They need to prove to agents that they want everyone of the team be successful and would do anything possible to assist that happening.
    SB: Agents need to be lead by someone who is a true mentor. It is also important that the Broker have the highest ethical standards.

    What tools and resources do Brokers need to offer?
    DB: Equipment that works!
    SD: Well equipped offices with all the modern technology readily available and target marketing ideas outlined, proven and ready to be worked.
    SB: The most important thing that a Broker can do is to provide proper training.

    What training should Brokers provide?
    DB: A Broker should offer ongoing classes for various levels of agents (from brand new to the seasoned and successful)
    SD: This is an easy one. They should train the specifics on how to become successful and simply everything you need to do to become the best of the best… a household name.
    SB: Training should include sales skills and language training, contract writing, negotiating, and most importantly…the skill of LISTENING to what the client's wants and needs are.

    How should Brokers motivate an agent like you?
    DB: Interesting office meetings are the start…Interesting subjects…motivational speakers… warm greetings in passing…good to great office help…playing no "favorites"…host one freeenjoyable dinner a year.
    SD: Small incentives, nothing outrageous, just some sort of token of praise and appreciation. This maybe incorporated with some fun yet competitive contests.
    SB: Most successful Realtors are motivated from within. But it sure helps to know that my Broker is always in my corner and is always there to help andencourage us agents when business is crazy–like it so often can be.