A Season of Thanksgiving for Independence
By Datta Khalsa, Broker
Our little independent real estate office was recently approached by a $2.6 Billion market cap “white label” firm that is quietly buying up many of the top independent brokerages across the nation and rolling them into a group of elite agencies that bear no visible connection to each other, but together comprise a network of agencies which, while operating under different names, under their skin are all running under the white label firm’s license.
Their proposal started with gift baskets, and appeals to ego based on the fact that we were being approached for membership in their organization because we had reached a level of production in residential sales that put us in the elite ranks of the industry. It’s an ingenious business model that cherry picks the top producing agents in any market and then turns around and touts itself as having the highest producing agents in every marketplace they participate in, but when you stop and think about it, they’re really taking credit for what was already there.
They also informed us that since our residential sales are only a portion of our practice, the commercial and multi-residential sales and leasing operations, along with our property management and business opportunity divisions—none of which are a part of their business model—could remain under my license, with only our residential sales going under their managing broker’s license.
As part of the transition, they offered to help us overhaul our branding and logo to help differentiate our various areas of specialization, but this ran into issues when their compliance team determined that we couldn’t keep the Main Street name for our Commercial, Business and Property Management divisions, for legal reasons.
It was at about this point where it started to sink in that this makeover, which seems more geared towards an individual high-producing agent or team, really wasn’t an ideal fit for a brokerage of our size and diverse range of specialization.
In fact, the more I considered the prospect of handing over the name and control of Main Street Realtors to a third-party residential managing broker, the clearer it became that the very soul of our brokerage is the versatility of services that our name has come to represent. At its essence, the version of Main Street Realtors they were proposing to split off from the rest of our company would have been of a lesser stature compared to the diverse skillsets our company is recognized as possessing based on over 18 years of service to our clients.
In the end, after months of meetings and attempts to find a way to make it fit, we decided to keep our brokerage the way it is—truly independent and uniquely diverse—and in the time since, we have doubled down on our technology and our identity within the community. And we have become that much more grateful for the unique range of ways we are able to participate in the lives of our clients and in the local real estate marketplace.