BY DAVE FOUNTAIN
I would like to dispel a couple of myths that have been present in the real estate industry since the beginning of the real estate franchise.
Myth #1: You must have a store-front office location to operate a real estate office.
Myth #2: You must belong to a franchise to be successful in real estate.
I have approximately 20 years experience in real estate. I obtained my license in 1980 and worked four years for an office, which became part of a small local franchise (Hometown Realty), co-ordinated by a number of geographically local offices. I don't believe it made a significant difference to sales at the time, but it was done in response to the perceived attack of the franchises and with the possible intent of creating another large‑scale franchise.
By the end of my second year as a real estate salesman (which is the minimum experience prior to agent licensing), I obtained my
In 1994 I was approached by a local entrepreneur, who requested I work for him as an agent for a real estate office that was failing miserably. I left at the end of a seven‑year stint, realizing that no matter what type of progressive commission split I put in place, there were still salespeople who thought the office took too large a slice of the pie.
At the time of my departure, I changed the office to a Re/Max franchise, which resulted in each salesperson paying a relatively healthy franchise fee, their desk fee and all of their phone and advertising costs, but keeping 100 per cent of the commissions. The end result was salespeople that did not necessarily “net” any more money at the end of the year, but they had the opportunity to see the actual costs of doing business. Some post conversations indicated the bottom line would have been better the way it was prior to the change.
I encouraged all salespeople who worked for me to obtain their agents license, to ensure the doors of opportunity were open to them. After a number of years working in appraisals only, I decided to get back into sales as well.
I changed my one‑man home office from Fountain Appraisals to Fountain Realty and Appraisals in the middle of 1999, and just wound up the year 2000, achieving significant success in a very depressed real estate market. In only a year and a half, without a franchise and without a storefront office, I am the only salesperson within our area that has achieved a sales award for the year 2000. I work out of my home and my vehicle, and use a cell phone, laptop computer, home based computer, digital camera and a website that I learned to create myself (a very frustrating learning experience but necessary step). Although it still needs refinement, please feel free to browse my site at www.yorland.com. There are many fantastic bargains on the site, and I will fully co-operate with any licensed salespeople and pay significant referral fees to any salesperson directing a purchaser to me.
In conclusion, I believe the old saying that 80 per cent of the Realtors make 20 per cent of the money and 20 per cent of the Realtors make 80 per cent of the money is absolutely true.
The key is ability and effort, not as previously believed franchise and location. I spend a huge amount of money on advertising (which was diverted from what would otherwise be franchise fees and rent), this has resulted in a much better bottom line for me and my one man, home office. My advice to all who read this note is to obtain your independence from the huge franchises and become independent, successful Realtors, putting your money where it is best spent “advertising your listings/marketing your product”.
I wish everyone all the best for the year 2001 and if you are aware of anyone moving to the central interior of
Dave Fountain is founder of Fountain Realty & Appraisals.