Staff Reports

After 20 years serving the North Texas real estate community, multiple sources have confirmed that Virginia Cook Realtors will close for business on April 15. The brokerage, which has five offices throughout the region, is helmed by its eponymous founder and executive officer Sheila Rice. David Griffin & Company Realtors, formerly a brand of Virginia Cook, separated more than a week ago. 

According to one source, the brokerage has just 67 homes on market priced between $3 million to $7 million, with only one sold since the beginning of 2019. We have reached out to multiple representatives with Virginia Cook for an official statement and have not received a call back. There’s no word on where exiting agents with the brokerage will land.

(more…)

Is this a move to make their website friendlier to other agents working under other brokers, or a first get tough Compass swipe at Zillow?

Inman reports that last week, without fanfare, Compass made “a big change to the way it displays listings on its consumer-facing website. Every non-Compass listing now shows the listing agent and contact information for the listing agent, making Compass’ site aesthetically more similar to Zillow or realtor.com than a brokerage website.” (See example from a McKinney listing above.)

And how generous is this: Compass has even included a form for agents to fill out to contact the listing agent through MLS. To be clear, it’s the agent from a rival brokerage. And to be fair, Ebby Halliday  has always listed the competing agent and broker on the company’s most popular site, though not as boldly.

“We are now showing the true listing agent on every listing on our website, even when they are not Compass agents, ” Compass CEO Robert Reffkin said, in a statement. “We hope other brokerages will appreciate the transparency and trust of always showing their listing agents.”

If a buyer is already working with a Compass agent, and the Compass agent sends the buyer a listing within the Compass system, the listing agent’s contact info will not be provided, since it won’t be needed.

“We are going to provide transparency to the consumer,” says Erik T. Bahr, General Manager, Dallas & Fort Worth Real Estate, Compass. “The aggregators get MLS content very quickly, and they do a good job of getting it to the consumer. The challenge is there is often consumer confusion as to who to contact about the listing.”

This process has put agents in a tough spot: Realtors procure a listing, prepare the home with the seller, take photos, then all their work is displayed on the popular website, but the listing agent doesn’t necessarily get credit for it. Rather, it is often an agent who has paid the most for an advertisement.

(more…)

It’s that time of the year, when brokerages are toasting, and praising, those hard-working top producers who killed it in 2018, selling millions of dollars of dirt during a year that, while not one of the toughest on record, saw a significant market contraction and rising interest rates.

Celebratory events have been happening across town, at every major brokerage.

At Compass Dallas, a different kind of celebration has been going on: the company’s one-year anniversary in Dallas.

On January 19, 2019, the 24,000 square foot, shiny new Preston Center office was loaded with food, drink, cake, chair massages and more. Last year, on January 19, 2018, Compass launched its 11th brokerage in the U.S. in Dallas, disrupting nearly every established broker in North Texas. Compass came in as a tech company, its internally-designed platform front and center for agents to make their lives easier, their sales bigger, their futures more secure. The firm’s CEO aims to have 20 percent market share in the top 20 U.S. real estate markets by 2020.

Within weeks of opening the office, while “camping” at the Collective, top producing agents switched to Compass so quickly we could not keep up with the migrations, frankly. Some we had to post in our sleep. What was it about the Compass culture that intrigued, and won over, these agents so quickly? What is it about Compass that keeps them coming? And coming…

(more…)

If Ebby could have flown down and hand-picked a charming, intelligent, engaging millennial to lead her company into the 22nd century, or what Thomas Friedman calls the “Age of Acceleration,” I have no doubt she would have picked Chris Kelly.

I had a chance to sit down and grill Chris last week, and even with my horse bucking-sore behind, I was glued to my seat listening, learning his background, vast experience, and take on the reality of selling real estate in a highly competitive, digital world where the full value real estate model is being chipped away by so many different entities. Who are they? Entities that sure did not exist when Ebby started the firm: the i-buyers, the 100 percent real estate commission crowd, and the disruptors who want to pack the entire real estate transaction into one easy online click. 

Click this: don’t forget that when Ebby Halliday started selling real estate, those cinder block homes in northwest Dallas, she was a disruptor herself!

But Ebby Halliday, now folded into the core of Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America, is the largest real estate company in Texas by sales volume, the twelfth largest in the country, and controls a huge chunk of the local real estate market with Ebby Halliday, Dave Perry-Miller, and Williams Trew in Fort Worth. The company sold more than $8 billion in real estate last year. Ebby left the company she created to her closest friends and family to nurture, so it had to be a very special person stepping into the president’s office at the company’s Sigma Road headquarters in North Dallas.

 

Even more telling: Chris Kelly is not settling into anyone’s old office. He is moving into the space just behind the reception desk at corporate. He doesn’t plan to be sitting in his office all day: Chris is mobile, spends a great deal of time outside of his office zipping between Ebby’s branch offices.

Three take-away zingers told me that Chris, the first attorney and first outsider to lead this company, is not just the right man for the job, he is the perfect man

“I serve the agents, so the agents can serve their clients,” said Chris, ” that’s my most important role.”

And, 

“Competition? It’s good for you — competition gives you the chance to sharpen your own tools…”

And,

“We have to understand that in Real Estate, there is now no Sears or J.C. Penney’s anymore, no middle of the road. There is either discount service or Neiman Marcus, and the Ebby Halliday Companies are the Neiman Marcus of Real Estate in North Texas. Especially now that the company has the power of HomeServices of America backing it with the vast, cumulative experience of so many similar brands. We no longer have to re-invent the wheel.” Jump for the video…

(more…)

 

Coldwell Banker opened its newest regional business center in Southlake. The facility consolidates operations in Colleyville, Southlake, and Keller. Company officials say that the unification of three smaller offices offers better access to marketing and support personnel. The 8,800-square-foot facility includes a large training space and will support 200 affiliated sales agents

“To have synergy and collaboration you really like to bring folks together,” Coldwell Banker Dallas/Fort Worth president Frank Obringer said. “What we’ve recognized is that if you are gong to support teams, you really do need to have some brick and mortar for those support people to come to.”

This is the fourth North Texas regional center Coldwell Banker has opened in the past 12 months. The other facilities include a new Arlington office, the Global Luxury office on Sherry Lane in Dallas, and a new facility near The Star in Frisco. Plans are also in the works to open a fifth regional center in the near future.

(more…)

Is there anyone more encouraging and passionate about the North Texas Real Estate community than Linda Argo? Member of the MetroTex Association of Realtors Leadership Academy class of 2013, Argo is a seasoned networker and expert recruiter sure to be an integral part of the team at Clay Stapp + Co. Argo just accepted the mantle of Director of Operations for the Greenville Ave. brokerage.

(more…)

marketing

This seems like a picture of the view from a cute little lake house, but a Jurassic marketing plan sold it in five days, with 45 showings.

Realtor Casey Lewis with Cearnal Realtors has been waiting for a good while to deploy his dinomite marketing strategy — and he finally did in Granbury last week.

In fact, when he saur this two-bedroom, one-bath lake house, he also knew that the owners wouldn’t think it was a pterrible idea.

Yes, you can see where we’re going with this, probably.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get raptored up in this mammoth marketing story of a ploy that, despite some super short arms, had tremendously long reach. (more…)

Vivo Realty Group just launched a new membership-based business model that provides the infrastructure that agents need at an affordable, tiered pricing scheme. The brokerage has three locations in North Texas: Plano, Uptown Dallas, and North Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District. (Courtesy Photo)

As members of our editorial team cover the annual National Association of Real Estate Editors conference, a recurring theme is the transformation of the traditional real estate brokerage. The existing model, industry disruptors say, no longer serves the individual agent. 

Locally, more and more brokerages are touting their digital assets, using social media and mobile apps to make real estate transactions easier for buyers and sellers. But what about infrastructure?

“The real estate industry is not just changing, it’s changed,” says David Maez Jr., co-founder and broker at Vivo Realty Group, which launched their new subscription-based brokerage model. “We had to think, ‘What’s wrong with the way we have been doing things for over 150-plus years?’ The brokerage model has failed to innovate and deliver what agents need: Flexible pay structures, places to meet clients and work from that are easily assessable, contract, and marketing support.”

So Vivo, with three offices in hot North Texas neighborhoods — Plano, Uptown Dallas, and North Oak Cliff — made a new model that fills the gaps of independent agents without sacrifices.

(more…)