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homesmart_brokersIn the following interview, Mark Farrow, Jim Sparkman and Don Sturgeon, broker/owners of HomeSmart Realty Group in Salem, Ore., discuss their brokerage’s systemized growth and success.

Region Served: Mid-Willamette Valley and Portland Metro area
Years in Real Estate: 43 years combined
Average Time on Market: 100 days
Average Sales Price: $243,000 in the Mid-Willamette Valley
Number of Offices: 2
Number of Agents: 154

How does HomeSmart help you in your day-to-day business?
HomeSmart helps us in so many ways. The biggest support we receive as a franchisee comes from franchise services and the Centralized Services team. Centralized Services has taken an active role in our recruiting process and recently supported us in our Agent Services department. Through our agent services hotline, our agents are able to reach a capable customer service professional and receive the support they need. This has been simply amazing for our organization.

Which HomeSmart system do you find most beneficial, and why?
The HomeSmart systems provide so many benefits to our agents. Through the HomeSmart platform, we’re able to provide an end-to-end proprietary system that helps them run their business from one place. RealSmart Agent provides them with a paperless transaction marketing system, personal website and other automated marketing tools. These are all products they would have had to get through third-party providers if they were associated with a different real estate company.

What is your main strategy when it comes to promoting company/market growth?
We recognize the need for promoting growth in today’s digital marketplace; therefore, we focus on social media marketing for promoting the growth of our organization and brand. For recruiting, we’ve been successful through our weekly email campaigns and phone touches with agents in the marketplace. Through these campaigns, we focus on promoting the culture of our organization, highlighting the fact that agents can keep more of their commissions when associated with HomeSmart Realty Group. As an organization, we’ve made community involvement a priority. We also use this in our marketing. We’re constantly looking for agents who share our passion for community involvement.

What is the biggest challenge when it comes to working in your region?
When we opened our office in Salem, we had to compete with brokerages that have been in our community for many years. Our model was different. Many agents thought it was too good to be true; others couldn’t imagine working remotely and not having a desk at the office. This was in spite of the fact that they admittedly spent very little time at their office desk. As time went on, and more agents joined us, other agents in our region saw that the model and the systems really are as good as advertised.

What would you say makes a good broker?
A good broker is available to their agents when they need them. In addition to being knowledgeable, they offer sound advice and take the time to educate and train their agents.

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