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In the following interview, Dave Corey, broker/co-owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Perrie Mundy Realty Group and California Realty in Redlands, Calif., discusses the local market, his network, and how the brokerages compete with other players.

Region Served: Inland Empire, Calif.
Years in Real Estate: 10
Number of Offices: 6
Number of Agents: 320

Please describe some of the current trends you’re seeing in your market. Commission checks are being squeezed by technology, but for agents willing to do the work, this can mean new opportunities and referral sources. Since just about anybody can capture a lead online these days, real estate professionals need to decide if they’ll do online lead gen themselves, or receive leads and pay a referral fee to someone who provides that service. My agents are being coached to pick a path and avoid being paralyzed by the rapid change around them.

I also see some of the brokerage models in my market struggling to remain profitable and retain agents. I feel that the lines between a full-service brokerage and a 100-percent commission shop are becoming less blurry now, and agents are returning to brokerages like mine if they feel they can leverage the support we offer.

What do you like most about the region in which you work?
We have something for everyone with our incredibly diverse housing stock. In Redlands and Riverside, buyers can find everything from Victorian and Craftsman-style homes to Italian palazzos, and you can still find homes on acreage if you know where to look. Buyers near our Beaumont office can still purchase new construction starting in the low $300,000s. It’s a beautiful area with great diversity and a dynamic economy.

What makes the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network the best fit for you?
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has exceeded our expectations. Many agents seek us out in order to join a real estate franchise network owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. And the support from corporate has been incredible. The customer success team (hotline) supports our agents with all of our tech tools, and franchise membership provides experienced Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices staff members who consistently provide learning opportunities for our managers.

We also have a dedicated business consultant who provides strategic insights and a biz-dev guy who has helped us identify and complete acquisitions.

Finally, I’ve never met a more generous group of successful people. The people running the most successful brokerages inside of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network are always willing to take the time to help me. That’s not only special, but leveraging their experience can be a huge strategic advantage for us.

How do you stay flexible and relevant in today’s real estate landscape?
Our flexibility comes from staying lean and focusing on only two or three primary initiatives at a time, while our relevance comes from keeping our focus on our agents and having an atmosphere that encourages them to tell us how we’re doing. Their progress and success are the key metrics for what we may need to adjust in the business.

The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand serves us well in terms of relevance, too. Chris Stuart, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CEO, who has a unique combination of technology and real estate background, is working fast to equip our company with even better best-in-class technology tools that they’ll actually use. We’re also investing in our offices. Our agents really do want to continue to come into the office to work, despite the predictions in recent years of the demise of the office. We continue to improve the creature comforts of our offices, along with adding new technology including media rooms. We’re currently building out a new 6,000-square-foot office in Redlands, which will serve as our new flagship office and accommodate up to 200 agents.

How are you attracting and retaining top agents in your market?
Agents are being barraged by new technology tools. We believe it’s our job to help our agents find balance between old-school real estate practices and the shiny objects that continue to come out of the proptech universe. We’ve built a brokerage where training is going on every day. For example, we’ll train our agents on how to promote and conduct a successful open house, and we’ll also train them on the best new tech tools to help them convert their open house visitors into actual clients. This culture of learning, and the balance we strike in our curriculum, seems to be a primary reason why agents come and stay.

What sets Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Perrie Mundy Realty Group and California Realty apart from other brokerages?
Our people and our culture. We understand that we can’t build something lasting and great without the right people. I’ve tried hard to build a leadership bench that shares our values around service for our agents. As a team, we aim to help agents in all stages of their career have greater success with us than they would in our absence. We understand that we feed families, change retirement options and send kids to college by helping our agents succeed. We’re committed to having the most impact we can measured exclusively by the success of our agents.

Final Questions…

What is your key to staying profitable?
Focus on recruiting and retention.

What is the most effective way to motivate agents?
Leverage their why.

What is your favorite relationship-building strategy?
Coffee meetings.

For more information, please visit www.berkshirehathawayhs.com.

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

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