The First Authentic Agent-Centric Brokerage

The THRIVE Organization consists of THRIVE California Realty, California Estates Realty and a real estate personal brand building program that we call Powered by THRIVE.

THRIVE is the nation’s first authentic agent-centric residential real estate brokerage company.

This post attempts to draw a distinction between broker-centric companies (the vast majority of brokerages in the United States including virtually all national brands), companies that claim to be agent-centric but by our definition are not, and what we define as authentic agent-centric.

To be successful, a real estate agent needs to be client-centric. We train agents to understand the difference between a transactional mindset and a relationship mindset. We view the role of the brokerage firm to be a multi-faceted support system that should empower the client-centric agent.

Innovation has opened up the possibility of a transformation in the relationship between brokerage firms and their real estate agents. The vast majority of national brokerage firms wish this were not the case. Innovation has occurred on two fronts, one is technology of course, and the other is office space.

At the core of the comparison between broker-centric and authentic agent-centric companies is branding and economics. As I discussed in the whitepaper The Big Lie,, data proves that the personal brand of the agent is paramount to success, not the brokerage brand. Therefore the cost of affiliation by the agent with a broker-centric company becomes unjustified. This is the case even if the brokerage firm caps the broker splits only to be reset the next year.

As a professional sales person you know that you can’t just pitch features and expect to get new business. You also have to express the benefits of your features and tie them down. Brokerage firms are revolving doors because the benefits they pitch are largely based upon myth.

The claim that The THRIVE Organization is the nation’s first authentic agent-centric residential real estate brokerage company is a big assertion no doubt. More specifically, our company and its three brand names, THRIVE California Realty, California Estate Realty and Powered by Thrive, comprise one entity that is the first of its kind. There have been other companies claiming to be agent-centric. Their stake to that claim is not new but further examination is needed.

What is an agent-centric brokerage exactly? Definitions used in the past by brokerage firms will state something like we are intrinsically agent-centric because all the attention is put on the associates. One national company making this claim goes on to justify its claim on their corporate website because their “agents give back to their communities”, they offer a “health coverage plan for all of its associates” but the associates have to pay for it and they have a “leadership council”. These are nice things but I don’t quite connect those dots to a claim of agent-centric.

I will tell you how I define an authentic agent-centric brokerage firm by starting with what it is not.

The Standard Brokerage
This is the industry standard model, the old school model; the way the business has always worked for decades and for the most part the way it still works today. The standard bearers for this model are the household names: RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Berkshire (formerly Prudential), ERA, Sotheby’s and others. There are many lesser known companies of course, regional and local. They are everywhere in every city. These are broker-centric models. Because the broker is the brand that matters, at least in their view, the broker gets to keep a lot of the commission. Agents are kind of like employees, in their view, but not really.

RE/MAX did shake up this model many years ago however by disguising broker splits with high desk fees, administrative fees, transaction fees and a multitude of other costs. Somebody has to pay for the expense offices and the international kickbacks and it is not going to be the company or the franchisees. Call it what you will but it is still a broker-centric model.

Another problem with the standard model is the cats. Yes the cats. See if you work for IBM, or Lockheed Martin or some other fortune 500 company you are an employee and are treated as such. If you work for Coldwell Banker you are not an employee, you are, as you know, an independent contractor. You do not get a salary or a pension. You are on your own to generate your income. Tough sledding sometimes.

But these standard model brokers act a lot like employers but as you know, to affiliate with them, you have to pay them. In many cases they are also your landlords expecting you to pay high rent and be glad you did. But you are not a salaried employee, you are a cat. Running a standard brokerage model, particularly in the age of disruption, is like herding cats. I was with RE/MAX. Nice company. Nice people.

The Disruptor
So it was bound to happen. Disruption. Broker fee capping. Finally an “agent-centric brokerage firm” that caps the broker splits. Grew like wild fire. Way better than the old standard model which refuses to die. For many years the claim to being agent-centric was pretty valid. But no more.

Everything is wonderful until those broker caps reset in January and you have to shell out another $25-$50,000 to the market center. Who do you think is paying for the great office that you may not even use every day? Hmm. Mumbling started to be heard. If this place is so agent-centric, then why over a 20 year real estate career is it costing you millions potentially when you consider compound investing alternatives? After RE/MAX I moved to Keller Williams. Nice company. Nice people. More meowing however. Some cats just have a mind of their own.

Time for More Disruption
Time for new thinking, at least I thought. So starting from scratch, well not really from scratch after a 30 years real estate career as a developer, investor, and broker inside two major firms, I worked on the blueprint for an authentic agent-centric design. I know it is not anything described above. While there are some components in existing companies that are agent-centric there are others that are broker-centric.

The Qualifications
THRIVE is the first Authentic Agent-Centric Brokerage and here is why:
1. 100% Commission Plan: To be really agent-centric brokerage firms have to allow agents to keep most of their commission. We charge low transaction fees for closings. Any standard model brokerage firm fails this first test because of the reasons stated above. Keller Williams fails this first test also. Look behind the hype and calculate the costs of the affiliation both annually and over a prolonged real estate career. The numbers prove that these affiliations can cost the agent what could be a retirement plan in an industry where there is none.

2. Agent Brand Building Program: Your brand matters, not the brokerage. Research of buyers and sellers prove that they select an agent without concern of which brokerage firm they happen to be with at the time. Does your current brokerage firm really support agent brand building to the maximum extent allowed by the Bureau of Real Estate? A trade name that we allow you to place on your signs, business cards and sales materials is “Powered by THRIVE”. This speaks directly to this issue. What does your current broker do to empower your personal brand?

3. Low Costs: THRIVE only charges $49.95 per month to be an agent with our firm. We do not nickel and dime our agents. Brokerage firms that charge high administrative, desk or other fees are broker-centric, not agent-centric.

4. Luxury Listing Agent Training: An agent-centric brokerage needs to train agents to succeed in the luxury home end of the market. THRIVE University is a 12 week online luxury listing agent training available for no out-of-pocket cost to our agents. You even get a large PowerPoint luxury home listing presentation during the training. You can learn more by watching this video: Thrive.US/612 Does your current brokerage qualify?

5. Luxury Branding: For those agents that want to pursue luxury listings, you can affiliate with our luxury brand, California Estates Realty. This is a great name internationally as well. Does your current brokerage qualify?

6. Mentorship: Many agents need to shadow a successful agent or desire assistance with their marketing and deal-making strategies. Many agents need someone they can call on the weekends when an escrow goes sideways. I act as your personal coach and mentor. You can review my bio here: Thrive.US/scott.pdf. Does your current brokerage qualify?

7. Leads: Select agents may receive an invitation to be on our upcoming listing lead team. Buyer leads are available everywhere and are very taxing to work. Seller leads can lead to new listings and listings are where the money is. Does your current brokerage qualify?

8. Digital: We handle all your transaction management work for you digitally so you can generate new business. Does your current brokerage qualify?

9. Very Cool Places to Work: You may think that THRIVE is a virtual brokerage. We are not. We have energetic, beautifully decorated work spaces for you in Calabasas, Westlake Village, Northridge, expanding to other locations in SoCal soon. See work spaces at The days of having to work out of an overpriced boring real estate office are over. Have fun, network with new people and do deals at our work spaces. Does your current brokerage qualify?

So those are the 9 qualifications that we see to be an authentic agent-centric brokerage. Learn more at Join.Thrive.US. Thanks for reading and all the best with your career.

Scott Farrell
Founder of The THRIVE Organization

scott farrell

scott farrell

Scott Farrell has had experience as a commercial real estate developer and as a broker has had tenures with RE/MAX and Keller Williams prior to founding Thrive Homes and Estates, a luxury residential brokerage boutique in Southern California. Thrive has recently launched its own listings search application for consumers.
scott farrell

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