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In the following interview, Elias Trejo, owner/CEO of HomeSmart Premier Realty in Idaho Falls, Idaho, discusses establishing the first HomeSmart in Idaho, and how the market is shifting. 

Region Served: Idaho
Years in Real Estate: 6
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 21
Favorite Part of Your Job: Talking to our agents about what got them into real estate, determining whether real estate has delivered the lifestyle they want, and trying to provide solutions for them to fund the life they wanted to live when they got into real estate.

Please describe some of the current trends you’re seeing in your market today.
We’re starting to see a shift in our marketplace. As the first and only HomeSmart franchisee in Idaho (our grand opening was Jan. 4), our presence is forcing others on the local level to step up their game and adjust what they’re doing. The more competition there is, the more the agent wins, so we’re focused on coming in and setting the bar higher. The revenue model we offer is the best in the state because agents get a low-fee structure, our proprietary software, great training and culture, and we’re making the competition nervous. 

What sets HomeSmart Premier Realty apart from other brokerages?
The youth of our leadership team. We’re younger than most, and while we were born with giving hearts, we’re trying to prove ourselves and prove that millennials can help prospective buyers and sellers navigate the real estate process. It’s exciting for me to see the energy within the office and the injection of a younger generation of real estate professionals committed to going above and beyond to support their clients. My goal is to grow our agent count to 251 by the end of our first year, so I’m focused on bringing in educated professionals who are eager to prove themselves in the industry.

How are you preparing your agents for the future of real estate?
As we look ahead, everyone is talking about technology being the future, but we don’t have to worry about it because HomeSmart International has it done and has been a tech company for 19 years. It provides us the ability to focus on developing the person and making sure they understand the current market and current trends when branding themselves. Aside from our revenue-friendly model, we’re also preparing our agents for the future by providing them with the proper training and support to go out and succeed in the market. In the end, the biggest/best way to succeed is to have a positive revenue cash flow, which will allow agents to better serve their clients.

What is it about the HomeSmart brand that makes it the best fit for you and your agents?
I’ve been in real estate as a coach, in addition to working as an agent at Keller Williams and being involved in their Agent Leadership Council. Throughout my time in the industry, I’ve observed a problem that’s taking place nationwide in that we’re underserving the agent and taking too much of their revenue, which is making it hard for them to find true success. As I began to look more closely at the HomeSmart brand and its model, it was clear to me that it made sense. HomeSmart has been a technology company since the beginning—and they continue to spend a lot of money on technology—so by affiliating with them, we’re able to focus our attention on developing the individual. The technology systems we have access to through HomeSmart are phenomenal. Not only is it all easy to use, but also, it’s all housed in one platform.

How do you stay ahead of the competition?
By leveraging local relationships. While it’s easy to get caught up in doing our own thing in our own little world, we’ve made a concerted effort to connect with local experts by bringing them in to teach and train our agents in a variety of areas. As connected as we all are because of technology, many of us feel more disconnected than ever, so we’re focusing a lot on relationships. We’re facilitating face-to-face conversations through social hours where agents from other offices, lenders, etc., can get together and get to know one another. While top companies are creating their own mortgage companies to compete with our local friends, we want to improve our relationships with our local affiliates because they have so much value and education to offer our agents.

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Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at