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Vitals: Nationwide Real Estate Executives
Years in Business: 8
Size: 8 offices, 603 agents
Regions Served: Orange County, Los Angeles County and minimal service to Riverside and San Bernardino Counties
2018 Sales Volume: $724,389,065
2018 Transactions: 1,266

Daryl Owen has been selling real estate full-time for 13 years, and, before that, he bought his first investment property at the age of 21 while still living with his parents.

Since founding Nationwide Real Estate Executives (No. 397 in sales volume in RISMedia’s 2019 Power Broker Report) in 2011, where he serves as CEO, Owen has had the opportunity to start, grow or invest in new companies along the way, including a licensing school. With thousands of students, it provides a recruitment pool for the firm’s offices and teams, while offering symbiotic mentorship opportunities for new and veteran agents.

What do you love most about the industry?
Daryl Owen: From the investment side, I love having the ability to grow tremendous wealth through the principle of leverage. From the brokerage side, I love the ability to truly build any life you want. No matter what it is, anything can be achieved by starting in real estate sales. The industry is a vehicle, one that can be used to build almost anything, and one that compensates you for the effort and work you put in. I love the idea of having the opportunity to grow, and I’m comfortable being in an environment that’s either sink or swim, because I know that we can all succeed if we keep moving forward.

How did your market fare in 2018? What factors contributed to this?
DO: Our local market was down roughly 8 percent in year-over-year sales, and I would contribute that to fluctuating interest rates, affordability and limited inventory.

What sort of growth plans do you have in 2019? Is it important for success?
DO: Absolutely. If we’re not growing, we’re dying. We’re currently focused on new office acquisition opportunities and growing our office and agent count while continually tweaking and improving on our client experience and agent value proposition. Our recruitment machine already generates 25-30 hires a month as-is, and we’re always looking for new ways to bring even more value to our associates.

What sets your firm apart in the marketplace?
DO: We have an incredible family-oriented culture, one that prioritizes values and has organically evolved into an absolutely fabulous team. I still call every person in our company on their birthday, and it’s one of the highlights of my day. I love connecting with our people and reminding them how valued they are, and how much we appreciate them. We would not be where we are today without the collective contributions of our staff, agents, leadership and clients.

What do agents enjoy about the firm?
DO: In addition to our culture, we also invest heavily in our support and training/agent development. I believe that every agent is a business, and not just a solo practitioner. Our focus is on teaching agents how to run real businesses, which is why I refer to us as entrepreneur-centric. Our technology offering evolves every year, and we’re usually launching up to two new flagship tools annually. This year, we’re launching two automated digital marketing tools that will help agents brand themselves and generate more leads with much less effort.

What are the biggest frustrations you’re currently facing?
DO: The recruitment landscape has shifted from value to price, which deteriorates the professionalism of our industry. We’re happy to hold firm on our compensation model, which is equitable and attractive relative to our market, but it’s disheartening to lose an agent you care about because of fees. I’ve learned that no matter what you do, or what you offer, you can’t save them all, and I’ve gotten better at not taking it personally.

How do you ensure that the client feels important?
DO: We recently launched a few initiatives exclusively focused on elevating the client’s experience. This isn’t just about offering the right technology—or a new, shiny object—but wowing the client in a way that they can’t imagine using anyone but my agent again. This will lead to more referrals and a better overall experience when buying or selling, and includes strategic touch points and value items provided before, during and after the close of escrow. We’re also prioritizing the educational process of the transaction for the client so that they know what to expect, and when.

Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.