Chris and Valerie Scherrer
United Real Estate Indianapolis
Region served: Central Indiana
Years in real estate: Chris: 26; Valerie: 12
Number of offices: 1
Number of agents: 140
What attracted you to United Real Estate’s franchise offerings?
Chris Scherrer: We had been operating as one of the largest offices in our region, but our agents were beginning to expect more in the way of technology and tech support. The writing was on the wall, and we knew that it was time to get out of our comfort zone and expand. Having been approached by all the big brands over the years, none of whom checked off all the boxes for us, we finally decided to reach out to United. The more we talked to them, the more blown away we were by all the tech they offered. Not only were they everything we were looking for, but the way they were operating was very similar to how we’d been operating as an independent—from their fee structure all the way to the value they bring to their agents and brokers. They’re much more agent-focused than other models, which allows our agents and brokers to be the true hero of the story, rather than the brand.
How has United Real Estate’s business model helped you maintain balance and momentum?
Valerie Scherrer: United fosters an environment where everyone is working together, which is key to maintaining balance and momentum. This can be seen during our monthly broker calls that center around sharing best practices and providing one another support in order to ensure the office is running smoothly. As our President Rick Haase likes to say, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” This is an integral point of view, as it’s all about keeping the balance and keeping everything in perspective while thinking positively.
As a husband-and-wife team, how do you balance your roles as the “head” and “heart” of the company?
CS: I’ve been brokering for a long time, and I knew that Valerie was loaded with talent, but there was a lot of uncertainty in terms of how we were going to bring her into the fold successfully. I always knew she would be an asset to the company, and over the years, our strengths in different areas have led to our continued success. Where Valerie is positive and energetic, I’m more of the steady problem solver, yet we both work together when it comes to the trajectory of the company. As the head and heart of the company, we take pride in being accessible to our agents. Unlike most brokers who bury their office at the back of the building, our offices are situated directly by the front door. And our doors are always open.
VS: Our agents are an extension of our family. In fact, we like to think of them as our second family. We’re here to serve our agents, and it wasn’t by accident that the space was designed with our offices located at the front of the building. While Chris and I interact with our agents differently due to our roles within the company, they are our sole purpose for being here. To that end, we make time for them day in and day out, greeting them at the front door as soon as they arrive. COVID-19 has accelerated the virtual work we accomplish daily. We regularly touch base with our agents and recruits via video and phone calls.
Talk about the value that United Real Estate’s full-service, 100% commission, transaction-fee model brings to both the company and its agents.
CS: I always knew what the 100% commission model was, but prior to joining United, I believed that the full-service aspect was too good to be true. But it is true. United Real Estate offers a great fee structure for brokers that is then passed along to the agents. Because United was started from scratch, they’re not competing to evolve at a pace that’s not fast enough to keep up with the changing real estate landscape—we/they are already there. United flipped everything upside down and placed the agent at the center of it all rather than focusing on lining the pockets of only the broker or franchisor. It’s refreshing to find a brokerage model that has taken one of the biggest obstacles and turned it on its head, creating a winning combination in the process.
In what ways do you use United Real Estate’s technology, training and agent services to create solutions for your agents?
CS: When it comes to technology, we want our agents to feel as though they are the CEO of their own small company. And as CEO, they should be the ones to determine its direction—which tech tools and services to deploy, and thanks to United’s technology-based productivity platform, Bullseye, agents can choose how they want to use it, where they want to use it, and how much time or money they want to invest. When it comes to training, United offers a lot of training on a national level—and it’s all high quality. We also do our own local office training in the form of agent roundtables. I choose a topic, date and time, then it’s up to the agents to collaborate and keep things moving by sharing ideas.
What role does United Real Estate play in your mission to change the financial trajectory of your agents’ careers and sometimes even their lives?
VS: Because of the commission structure to agents and small fee structure to brokers, United enables agents to structure their business however they wish. They decide what commission to charge and how they’re going to market and brand themselves. United’s “Find Your Freedom” tagline is more than just a tagline. In fact, it is living and breathing in the way our agents do their business. That being said, we want our agents to find their freedom so that they can run their business the way it needs to be run in order to reach both their financial and personal goals. Two of our agents, Barb and Derrick, set goals to become debt-free when they joined the company—and they’ve both experienced the freedom that comes with carrying no debt.
How has United Real Estate’s model changed your personal financial trajectory?
Barb Bade: I joined the company on the last day of February 2020 with 15 years of experience in the real estate industry under my belt. At the time, my husband and I had no debt—except for our house. We owed $70,000 and were able to pay it off fully in October, which never would have happened with any other company. Being with United has given me the freedom to travel more with my husband, and now that we’re debt-free, I plan to save for retirement.
Derrick Bailey: I’m going to echo everyone else, beginning with the fact that Valerie and Chris are always right there front and center, which was a new experience for me. Joining United gave me the opportunity to make $12 – $15,000 more than I would have at any other brokerage—and a lot sooner. I used the extra cash to eliminate my car debt and pay off other purchases, saving me a lot in interest.
Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.