President/Broker of Record
HomeSmart First Advantage Realty
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
HomeSmart Momentum Real Estate
Bloomfield, New Jersey
Region served: Northern, Southern and Central New Jersey
Years in real estate: Hakan: 26; Bill: 20
Number of offices: 8
Number of agents: 285
Can you talk a little bit about HomeSmart as a brand and how it has helped add to your success?
Hakan Karahan: Prior to affiliating with HomeSmart, I had been working in a smaller firm. When I first purchased the franchise, I knew that I was bringing a new concept to the area, and while it was tough at the beginning, our growth soon took on a life of its own. Everyone in the area is familiar with the HomeSmart brand and what it’s all about, and for me, the brand provided a turnkey operation that had everything I needed to succeed. There was no need to reinvent the wheel, as the technology, support and everything else they offered was perfect for any new real estate company.
Bill Halick: HomeSmart is an outstanding company, with a top-notch culture and impressive executive team. I truly believe that what they are doing has allowed our success to flourish because they are providing all the tools an agent needs to be successful in today’s environment. When I first heard about HomeSmart, I thought it was too good to be true, but the culture, training and technology they bring to the table is truly amazing. If you’re an agent who wants to help people buy and sell homes, there’s no better place to do it.
How do you stay ahead of the competition?
HK: Staying ahead of the competition is all about continuing to do what we normally do. Agents in our market are constantly hearing about HomeSmart, which has made it easier for us to recruit. From there, it’s all about training them and keeping them happy in order to keep our referral pipeline full.
BH: By having our finger on the pulse of what is going on across all industries. Things are constantly changing to the point that what worked yesterday won’t work tomorrow, so we’re always looking at how we can improve our best practices to ensure that we’re employing the latest strategies in regard to what’s working in the market today.
What’s your No. 1 strategy for staying in touch with agents?
HK: Social media has proven to be one of the most valuable ways to stay in touch with our agents. We try to do as many meetings as possible, and while COVID has limited the amount of in-house programs we’re currently offering, we enjoy connecting with our agents to provide training, updates to rules and regulations and current market conditions.
BH: We use a combination of SMS text messages, emails and private Facebook groups to stay in touch. By hyping up Zoom meetings through these channels, agent participation has increased, which has been instrumental as we deal with the effects of the pandemic. COVID helped accelerate a majority of trends that were already taking place, forcing everyone to step on the gas a bit quicker than we might have anticipated. While I’m looking forward to getting back to face-to-face interaction, there’s something to be said about connecting via Zoom.
What is your best piece of advice for finding success in real estate?
HK: Be friendly to everyone, including your competition. We’re all in the same industry, so it’s important to work together rather than against one another.
BH: Never stop learning. It’s also important to identify a strategy and work it consistently. If you want to be successful in real estate, you have to be able to create your own plan and build your own structure. No matter what facet of the business you’re working in, you will be successful if you get up and put in the hours every single day in a structured routine.
As we head toward the future, where do you see your business?
HK: My goal is to have a minimum of 2,000 agents by the end of 2023.
BH: I see us being the go-to agency for real estate professionals who know what they’re doing—and those who want to be more successful going forward.
For more information, please visit www.homesmart.com.