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This movement to take a smarter approach toward bricks and mortar speaks to a broader need to demonstrate a renewed commitment to managing overall finances. In fact, profitability will hinge upon it, says Long & Foster Real Estate President Gary Scott.

“In 2003, none of us were good—we just thought we were,” explains Scott. “If we’re going to be a better company, we’re going to have to exercise better financial discipline.”

To that end, MacDonald switched up his compensation model. He also focuses on preparing his agents to operate in the real-time real estate market.

“We extensively train our agents,” MacDonald explains. “We train them every week on subjects that are relevant to what’s happening in the marketplace. We host exchanges with mortgage brokers, etc., and invite agents from other brokerages to attend. We were one of the first to offer distressed property training and develop a relationship with Fannie Mae and Clear Capital to stay on top of the REO business. We are now focusing on working with first-time homebuyers.”

According to Scott, profiting today is all about “simplifying the complicated.”

“As much as everything changes, it’s still about blocking and tackling,” says Scott. “We got away from that because we thought we had to. We are in a people business and we hide behind social media. It’s all about leadership—and not just from those who have a title but from every real estate professional who represents their community.”

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