Better Homes Realty and La Rosa Realty Strategically Align to Meet the Demands of Today’s Real Estate Business
Even though their firms are located in opposite corners of the U.S., it didn’t take Chuck Scoble and Joe La Rosa long to discover that they were kindred spirits. They both shared core values and a business philosophy that made them realize they could turn their similarities into a strategic alliance that allows both firms to retain their brand identities yet capitalize on their synergies. Their goal? To become the brands of choice for real estate agents and to be the leaders in the “agent-centric, consumer-first era of real estate.”
In this interview, we find out more about this unique alliance, and how it’s already leading to exponential growth.
Maria Patterson: Let’s begin by finding out a bit more about your firms’ respective histories.
Chuck Scoble: Better Homes Realty was founded in 1964 and was based primarily in Northern California. La Rosa Realty was founded in 2004 as a traditional real estate company, primarily serving the Central Florida market.
Joe La Rosa: In 2011, La Rosa Realty shifted from a broker-centric model to an agent-centric model of real estate, offering more tools and value to the agents while offering a 100-percent commission split. La Rosa Realty has grown quickly since 2011 and has been named one of the Top 75 Residential Real Estate Firms by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) for the past three years. In 2019, we began franchising and converted several of our largest offices in Florida to franchises. Since that time, we have opened, or are about to launch (at press time), 21 other franchise locations.
MP: So how did your two companies cross paths, being on opposite ends of the country?
CS: I had been watching La Rosa’s growth and reached out to Joe. We touched base and hit it off. One thing led to another. La Rosa has an up-and-coming model and team, which has been put together very methodically.
JL: I’ve been predominantly out on the East Coast and had known about Better Homes Realty for a while. Chuck and I had a mutual friend in the business who thought we both handled our businesses in similar ways and had similar core values. He recommended that we speak, and we really enjoyed getting to know each other and sharing war stories. That eventually transitioned into, “Hey, what can we do together?”
MP: So with the strategic alliance, how many offices and agents/employees does the firm currently have?
CS: Between the two brands, there are approximately 50 offices and close to 3,000 agents located in Florida, California, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, South Carolina and Mexico. New offices are scheduled to open in Panama, Peru, Columbia, Puerto Rico and Turkey starting as early as this month (at press time).
MP: What is the goal of your strategic alliance, and what are your plans in terms of expansion?
CS: The strategic alliance between Better Homes Realty and La Rosa is very unique.
La Rosa Realty and Better Homes Realty are not merging together, but joining forces to create a strategic alliance to be better prepared and positioned as our industry and way of doing business changes. Our goal by joining forces is to create a stronger alliance and foundation and to provide the tools, tech and training that our owners and agents need to thrive in the changing landscape.
JL: Our goal is to become the brands of choice for real estate agents and to be the leaders in the agent-centric, consumer-first era of real estate. We are committed to empowering our agents through our technology and training platforms to deliver an unparalleled customer experience. We will continue to build off of the momentum that both brands have created and continue to expand within the United States, as well as throughout the world.
MP: How will the strategic alliance be different than a merger?
JL: By joining forces and creating an alliance, we’ll be able to position ourselves in the right place as the industry shifts. We’re always focused on creating opportunities for agents.
CS: It’s more about tapping into the resources and systems that Joe has put together in order to benefit Better Homes Realty agents. We’ll be able to take advantage of better technology and training and systems, and that’s a huge benefit. It’s about sharing the platform that Joe has built.
MP: Please tell us more about how you developed the global arm of the business. Why is this an important part of your future?
JL: Over the years within La Rosa Realty, the majority of our growth has been organic—even now, we’re converting offices into franchises without having done a major national marketing campaign. We weren’t going to attack our international plan until mid-2020, but the moment I announced earlier this year at the Florida convention that we would become a franchise, folks within our own company immediately wanted to know how they could take advantage. Several key folks in our company wanted to know how they could bring the brand to other countries, such as Panama, Peru, Columbia and Turkey. I’m excited to understand how real estate is done in other countries. Can we come into those marketplaces with our agent-centric model and be a disruptor?
MP: How is your agent-centric model different than others?
JL: Everybody is following the headlines over the last few years and shifting from a broker-centric to agent-centric model, offering 100-percent commission. But you have to break it down. Are there hidden fees and costs? There are multiple reasons why agents will hang a license with a broker: technology, education, culture and also value. We give agents the most value by offering a true business in a box. A complete package with a full menu of items so that agents can choose what makes sense for them—technology, marketing, social media, etc. They can pick and choose with no hidden fees.
MP: Do you feel this sets your firm apart from the competition?
CS: Yes, because we are not just using the term “agent-centric,” we are redefining it. Our two iconic brands have vast offerings and business solutions for agents and owners. We make it incredibly simple and affordable to own and grow a business and provide state-of-the-art, revolutionary technology solutions and training for agents and owners.
MP: How would you describe the current state of your real estate markets?
CS: Most markets are at some stage of shifting from a seller’s market to that of a more stable and normalized market. Low interest rates and continued demand are still offering plenty of opportunities for agents to thrive and grow their businesses.
MP: How is your value proposition meeting the needs of today’s real estate consumer?
CS: We are both longtime brokers who embrace the continuing challenges facing salespeople, as well as those facing broker/owners trying to stay relevant in a very fast-changing environment. For both salespeople and franchisees, it’s a challenging market to make a profit.
JL: That’s why we’re empowering our agents to become leaders in this next generation of real estate by focusing first on being a true agent-centric office and brand that equips them with every possible tool, from technology to training and coaching, that then translates into the creation of endless opportunities to provide the consumer with the ultimate customer experience. With technology leading to customers wanting everything virtually on-demand, we want to be able to appeal to that through the platforms we put together.
MP: Can you elaborate on the types of training and technology you’re offering for agents?
JL: We feel that we have it covered from every angle. We provide information on-demand for agents to market themselves in countless different ways. We provide websites and CRMs that allow us to push along data to consumers so that they can tap into the information they need. We’re also helping agents understand that social media is playing a larger role every day, so we have it set up for them on an autopilot system so they can work smarter, not harder. We also have a back-end so they can work more efficiently and send files and execute documents from their car. The company intranet allows communication to take place and creates synergy to blossom.
MP: Please describe your firm’s culture and leadership philosophy.
JL: La Rosa Realty’s culture has always been defined by three words: family, passion and growth. We understand that for many, family can be one of the most important things in the world. The bond that links La Rosa REALTORS® is not that of blood, but one of respect and loyalty. Collectively, we share each other’s goals and values. Together, we are much stronger than we are alone.
With passion, we put our hearts, minds and souls into helping our agents achieve their dreams and aspirations. Through education, training, coaching, technology and support, our agents are positioned to become more productive, as well as provide a better quality of life for their families. Last, but definitely not least, with growth, we understand that in life and in your career, if you are not growing, you are dying. Our purpose is to assist and identify each agent’s unique talent and potential in order to help them obtain their goals.
MP: What are some of your most innovative marketing strategies? How are they helping you connect with consumers?
JL: Our platform and the opportunity we offer as a franchise is flexible, one that can be delivered to consumers through a 300-agent, semi-virtual office or a 10-agent office on Main Street. Recruiting productive salespeople and enhancing lead generation opportunities for our agents is our focus. We understand that the days of the agents being in the forefront with technology as a resource has changed to where technology is now in the forefront, relying on agents to utilize it to their advantage. Both brands have now taken the proper steps to ensure that we are both aligned with the right technology that allows us to deliver the ultimate customer experience.
MP: When it comes to lead gen, what are you doing to help agents convert and close leads?
JL: Through our coaching program, we monitor closely agents’ ability to convert leads into appointments and then into closings. Coaching is not only to hold them accountable, but to examine where their strengths and weaknesses are. Chuck and I are both big football fans, and the first thing a football coach does after a game is go back and review the film to see where players excelled and where they had challenges. We do the same thing. We want to dig deeper to help them develop a plan to improve.
MP: How do you stay ahead of the curve on technology, online marketing and social media?
CS: Our combined leadership team, franchisees and progressive associates are always on top of what is coming down the path, giving us insight as to the value and opportunity of new solutions or tools. Our focus is always on being able to improve our technology platform so that it remains ahead of the curve and is always the leading and most cutting-edge technology available to both agents and consumers. Technology is constantly evolving, and so are we.
MP: Finally, gentlemen, what’s on deck for the future of the firm?
JL: We’re looking at global expansion to include 100-plus offices and 5,000-plus associates within 24 months. I’m excited to work alongside Chuck. We share the same vision and goals, and we look forward to much success.
CS: Yes—it’s the USA version of East meets West! My offices will really benefit from the new network.
Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.