Vitals: Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty
Years in Business: 35
Size: 27 offices, 1,069 agents
Regions Served: Northern New Jersey, Westchester, the Bronx, Rockland, Dutchess, Putnam and Orange Counties
2018 Sales Volume: $2,295,000
2018 Transactions: 6,415
Since 1984, Marsha Rand—founder and president of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty—has transformed the business from one office in a small town in New York’s Hudson Valley to offices throughout Northern New Jersey, Westchester, the Bronx, Rockland, Dutchess, Putnam and Orange Counties. A registered nurse, Rand entered the real estate business part-time in the ’70s, and has since learned to love the industry, finding it both stimulating and rewarding.
What’s happening in your markets in 2019? How are things shaking out in Upper New York and New Jersey?
Marsha Rand: It depends on the price point in the different towns we’re in. The medium and lower price points are moving, while the upper price points are moving more slowly. To me, there’s no such thing as a good market or bad market. It’s just the market, and that’s what you have to work in, so we don’t worry about what it’s like. All in all, our listings are up and we’re ahead of last year.
Do you have a growth strategy for 2019?
MR: It’s the same one I have every year, which is to take every opportunity and look at it seriously as it comes our way. It could be an agent, a team, a company, mortgage or insurance. I love expanding the company and having new people involved. We’re very proud of what we’ve established, and it’s wonderful to be able to introduce it to people.
What do you consider the biggest challenges facing the industry today?
MR: It would have to be commission splits—to have enough money on the broker side to be able to continue to provide the things we provide. The Northeast hasn’t really gone to a model where the agent pays for everything, so we’re an old-fashioned company that still does most of the marketing for the agents.
This is a family business. Why is that important?
MR: Right now, we’re the only large, family-owned company in our marketplace. Four of us work in the company, and while we’re all different ages, I think that gives us a lot of creativity. I have a son who is an attorney who has written several real estate books. There’s enough of us, and we all have different talents. Putting that together in a family business makes us unique.
How do you prepare your agents for the customers of 2019—the millennials and those who may be purchasing homes for the first time?
MR: The people we’re preparing for are either of that age group or have children that fall into that age group, and, truthfully, I don’t think it’s that different. Yes, they may want to communicate differently, but you have to match your rhythm to the rhythm of buyers and sellers. If they want a text, you text them back; if they want a call, you call them.
What do agents like about working for the firm?
MR: I think they like the style of the company and the culture we’ve developed. When people come to us from other places, they comment that it’s truly a “family business” and that the family is visible around the office.
Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.