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Cynthia Benchick
Vice President/Principal Broker
Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Region served: Fort Lauderdale and South Florida
Years in real estate: 23
Number of offices: 1
Number of agents: 1,010

Jameson Doris: You merged your brokerage with United Real Estate in October 2019. What ultimately brought you to this decision?

Cynthia Benchick: I knew a day would arrive when I would need to look outside of my firm for the tools and resources to keep my agents and brokerage competitive. And after meeting United Real Estate’s CEO Dan Duffy and President Rick Haase, everything I had heard and read about them was true. Not only are they down to earth, unpretentious and focused, but they also deliver the best tools and support. They love what they do and have fun in the process.

JD: What was the most important consideration for selecting United Real Estate?

CB: Reputation is the No. 1 priority. With United Real Estate’s outstanding reputation rooted in its 95-year-old history and its transaction fee-based agent compensation model, I felt assured and comfortable that my agents would be able to continue to grow their real estate skills while expanding their businesses.

JD: What has your experience been like since joining United Real Estate? 

CB: Many mergers can stumble badly through the process of change of ownership and control. From day one, “business as usual” was the mantra from both Dan and Rick. We successfully launched United’s tools and services without a hitch, despite the pandemic. In addition, having open, direct access to Rick and his team has been invaluable, especially as a recently onboarded broker. Everything has been ideal and exceeded our expectations.

JD: You have grown your office to over 1,000 agents. What is your personal philosophy for what makes a brokerage succeed? 

CB: Making sure our agents have the knowledge to navigate the buying and selling process, and making sure they have strong ancillary partners, is key. I have a true open-door policy at our office so that agents can access both myself and the staff. We’ve also introduced an online back-office to provide our agents a quick access point to all of the needed state and transaction-related information. Additionally, I produce a weekly video for my agents that has become a winner for the brokerage. It provides helpful, valuable information and puts a smile on their faces. Kindness and thoughtfulness are so simple, yet so impactful.

JD: You refer to Charles Rutenberg Realty as “The Smart Brokers.” What makes your brokerage smarter? 

CB: As brokers, we’re smart enough to place the money where it belongs, which is in the bank accounts of our agents. The transaction-based model has been functioning now for nearly 15 years; why would an agent not take advantage of that? Why would they support the lifestyle of a broker, when instead, they could dramatically increase their income and be free to make their own decisions about how and where to reinvest in their business?

JD: Tell us about the role your staff plays in the growth and success of your office. 

CB: My staff members are my universe. People are shocked when they realize that three out of the four of us who are running this massive operation are brokers. Our wonderful staff is every bit as agent support-centric as our agents are client-centric. Their mission is to run an effective and efficient office and support our agents at all times.

JD: How does United Real Estate support your brokerage in your daily operations? 

United Real Estate came with a completely new mindset and strategy. When we merged with United, it opened the door to endless possibilities. We now have access to a home office filled with experienced team members in technology, accounting, marketing, communications and training—and they are all broker support experts. At the time we merged, agent tools were greatly needed for us to remain competitive, and United has over-delivered.

Also, the United family provides a business fellowship with other brokers and owners from around the nation, which has been a great benefit to me. We share ideas and have a loving, competitive relationship.

JD: What has been most helpful to you? 

CB: Not only have we been able to sign on 250-plus agents since our merger with United Real Estate, but we’ve also successfully delivered the agent productivity and support systems that are in place. Their marketing, advertising, social media, agent tools and administrative support are what I could only have dreamed of. And the camaraderie with everyone at United Real Estate has been great.

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Jameson Doris is RISMedia’s social media/blog editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to