Real estate transactions are personal, emotional, and sometimes stressful experiences for many people—and what makes a great REALTOR® is their ability to competently guide clients through these momentous experiences.
REALTORS® are at their best when they’re out working with clients, not sorting through mountains of administrative tasks.
For agents who are driven to provide a truly great experience for their clients, the right brokerage can act as a launching pad for successful transactions. Home Group Realty is equipped with an administrative and marketing team that offers responsive and encompassing service, in-house coaching programs, and a truly collaborative culture among team members.
In an environment like this, skilled agents can thrive and constantly grow. Unburdened by administrative work, their businesses run much more smoothly and they are free to spend more time with their clients.
Home Group Realty, an independent brokerage in the Guelph Junction, is made up of 45 REALTORS® supported by six administrative staff. The tight-knit team are each specialized in their own departments—whether it be checking all the boxes for a last-minute listing, making sure deals are ready for closing day, or helping agents stay connected with their sphere, the team is poised to ensure a smooth experience from start to finish. Education is also a central part of the brokerage’s success—Broker of Record Paul Fitzpatrick provides 1-on-1 coaching to the team, as well as regular training sessions with industry experts and collaborative team meetings, which have proven to be crucial in the last several years, as we all faced both isolation and a rapidly-changing marketplace.
A specialized staff like this is key, as marketing, admin and lead generation tasks typically take up about 60 to 75 percent of an agent’s time and energy, leaving little resources to actually work with clients.
“The bulk of most agents’ time is spent trying to find business and stay on top of all of their paperwork,” explains Fitzpatrick. “The way we’ve set our brokerage up, our admin people do the bulk of that work. We really try to take as much off their plate as possible so that they focus their time on taking care of their clients.”
When the brokerage first opened ten years ago, Fitzpatrick made several strategic decisions. He decided it was going to be a very open concept office. “We don’t have any private agent offices.
That’s on purpose, to create a collaborative environment,” he says. It was also important to him that they offered coaching. There are currently three mentors on his team—senior, very productive agents; they take new and new-to-the-brokerage agents under their wing and guide them through industry best practices.
Particularly in a fast market like the one we’re currently in, real estate marketing can feel a bit like the wild west; the Home Group team maintains a high bar for marketing their listings, even when sellers are on tight timelines. Their team knows that going the extra mile is always worth it, even in a hot seller’s market. They also pride themselves on providing ongoing education and resources, in the form of a weekly blog covering the ever-changing market, exclusive partnerships with local businesses and tradespeople, and even family-friendly community events.
“We’re big on coaching our team to look at everything as a relationship versus transactional,” he says. “Historically, most agents out there are independent contractors. They essentially work for themselves, but they work under a brokerage, whether it’s one of the franchise brands or an independent brokerage like ours.”
In most brokerages, agents are responsible for everything they have to do, whether it’s getting coaching, marketing materials, or customer relationship management software. Home Group Realty provides a set standard for all of those components, so their agents don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel.
Because most agents have to spend so much of their time hunting for business, doing administration and marketing, they tend to become general practitioners—and they can lose sight of the importance of the interpersonal aspect of the work.
“We’ve been coaching our agents that if you’re doing business in a relationship manner, it’s easier to maintain those relationships and grow your business. Business will find you organically; your clients will want to refer the people in their lives to you, because they’ve had such a positive experience dealing with you. The referral business that comes to them is more consistent and allows them to be more productive,” he says. So rather than having agents focus on lead generation, instead they focus on staying in touch with past clients and contacts.
Fitzpatrick would know. He has been in real estate for 35 years—25 of them with a franchise. The brokerage he’s built has a smaller group of agents that are more productive.
“That’s the approach we’ve taken. We don’t want to be the biggest brokerage in terms of headcount. Our goal is to have the most effective and service-oriented agents in the marketplace,” he says.
He worries about the commodification of real estate. Just because most people know at least one REALTOR®, it doesn’t mean they’re all the same and provide the same service.
“If there was one thing I could educate consumers about, it is that they have a responsibility to interview and find the agent that works best for them, because we’re not all the same. Agents offer different levels of service, experience, and qualifications. It’s the same with brokerages,” says Fitzpatrick. “We’re a full-service brokerage and we feel that we offer a consistently higher level of experience for the agents and the clients who choose to work with us.”
Most people move every five to seven years, and the market changes considerably in that timeframe. Even in today’s market, there’s a lot of education that needs to happen with clients before they begin the process of buying or selling. The Home Group team excel at this piece: educating clients on the market, what’s happening with it currently and where they see it going, as well as explaining how the whole process works.
A real estate transaction is ranked right up there in terms of the top five stressful life events. Says Fitzpatrick, “We make sure that we make a real estate purchase or sale not just frictionless, but actually enjoyable.”
For more information, visit Home Group Realty or call 226-780-0202.