Indie Brokers:Greatest Strengths

Hey there. How are you guys doing, Mike Acquisto and Shana Acquisto, real estate brokers and co-owners with a Aquisto Real Estate. And today we’re going to be speaking about indie brokerage, indie brokerages and their greatest strengths. What is an indie brokerage? Hey, that’s a good question. So the first thing we need to do is identify it. Right. And talk about what we are speaking about.

So, Shana, your definition of an indie broker is an independent broker at our association, Collen County Association of Realtors. An independent broker is a brokerage that has 20 or less agents that they sponsor 20 or less.

And this definition is accepted within your within our association.

I think so. Very just a little bit. Some are 50, maybe up to a hundred, but I haven’t heard anything over 100.

And your experiences, you have got to serve within that capacity. So tell us about that.

I was the chair of our independent broker network at Collin County. And, you know, it was amazing because we brought you what we would do is have monthly meetings and all the independent brokers would come and we would have lunch with a speaker. And so we would have different speakers come in and teach us things. Sometimes they’re from the bigger brokerages.

Sometimes their attorneys just, you know, speakers to speak on relevant fact, relevant topics for, you know, OK and stay background size.

Collin County Association. We’re in the northern area of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex right now. Kind of like the northern suburb. Yeah. Quickly growing area and about how many members are part of this as we have about nine thousand realtors, realtors.  

We also our membership is also made up of affiliates which are, you know, title companies, lenders, different  vendors that we use. But actual realtors, it’s about nine thousand.  
And you just recently elected, right. You’re kind of like a big deal there. You served on the board of directors for a while. I’m super proud of her right leg. It’s kind of a big deal. And you’re elected the secretary, which becomes the treasurer and secretary treasurer, which then becomes president elect and goes on to become president of the association.

So you’re going to be president. Does that make me first, man, is that a weird I don’t know how anyone.

All right, so let’s get on some socks. Yeah, put that put that on socks and where you might need to refer to a previous episode to be able to get that reference. But so it is. All right. And as we talk through this, the topic we’re talking about. So now we know who we are and what we’re kind of what our qualifications are. We’ve been real estate brokers now and independent brokers for 20 years. And we started knowing absolutely nothing like literally nothing. Literally nothing. Yes, like nothing. And we went through all these different evolutions. Right. So a little bit of the back story is like when we first started, we knew nothing and I happened to be the broker and I like zero experience. And then I hired Shawna as the first agent. And then I went on. I was like, oh, I should run a mortgage company, too, at the same time. So I had no oversight, had no training, had no nothing. And it was really scary. And we looking back now, it’s very scary. No, it was totally scary. And it was like before the Internet, it was like Ask Jeeves time.

I mean, it was like a long time ago. So we didn’t have, like, all the resources. So it was more difficult. And I think one of the strengths now that we have is the ability to learn if we want to. The Internet’s changed so many things. So if we look at it from the time when we started till the time now, knowledge and sharing is really kind of a big deal.

And we have access to so much more and we can pick any one of the different things that we have access to learn from, whether it’s like YouTube, whether it’s from other people, whether it’s from any type of like online sharing things. There’s a bunch of people that share really, really well. The Loken Group I get a bunch of items from and they do a great job of sharing down in Houston and they kind of have this Loken shares thing and there are Kellar brokerage, but they share like all these different things that have worked successfully for them. And they were kind of one of our inspirations for us to start sharing a lot more. Yeah. And giving back and doing all those things and kind of inspiration for a little bit of how we went to external and how we share our TNT session. So thank you to the Lincoln Group and chat. And now if there’s any other one else that shares really well on a different perspective that other people should know about, and I think that’s one of the keys to success, is not keeping everything bottled up inside to share.

You know, don’t you shouldn’t ever worry about the competition. The competition should make you better and you should want to be better because of it. Right. And you should you should want to share and collaborate with it with everyone in, soak in as much as you can from all these top brokerages.

You know, and some of the greatest strengths are also going to be your greatest weaknesses, which is really, really weird as you kind of talk about that. So maybe you’re smaller, but that means maybe you’re a little bit more nimble and can react, maybe some of our biggest things over time. If I really looked at one super nimble, one of the things that we’ve done really well is keeping our expense structure different.

And so we home office and that would be extremely difficult to do if we were like pick another brand. Right. On a national level, if they’re like, hey, so like we don’t have an office, which is like Home Office, how you like that? And I think when you put your own name on it and it shows you that you care and you have like this pride and ownership and all those things. Right. Like so our family names on there, we’re really proud of the brokerage and but we can home office and we can share a piece of us. And I think that a lot of the time, whenever we’re meeting with somebody, we talk about things like. Let me not tell you what you should do, but rather let me share a piece of us and we’ll tell you what we did in that same situation and why. Mm hmm. Right. And so that’s kind of what we’re we’re talking about there, is that we get to share a piece of us because we truly care. And when we do that, we help them make an informed decision based on what we’ve done in the past. And that’s kind of like our our mentality. But it’s a strength because they get to know us.

We can share a piece of us, and that’s how I looked and asked for more of it on a personal level instead of, you know, it’s like you work for a big corporation, right? And you go in. Rarely do you ever meet the boss or the owners of the corporation.

But, you know, for us, we really love to engage in in the process and in the transaction and meet the people. And we’re very appreciative for each and every client that we have. And we love to do that.

You know, and also our agents, you know, I think the cost structure of not having a physical office totally helped us during the pandemic. Oh, for sure. Yes, it allowed us through 08. And it’s helped us now.
So for sure, I’m not actually sure that we would have survived those times if we had this office structure.

Having that  expense, it’s a huge expense, you know, and I think it’s passed on to I mean, they have to pay for it somehow. So it’s passed on that expense to their agents. And we’ve just we’ve just never done that. And sometimes people have you know, I’ve been approached by a couple of big brokers even recently. And they they’re always like, Shana, you need an office, you need to come to our office. You know, this is how we’ll do it.

And we’re just you’re like, actually, we kind of don’t need that to go around, do some laundry, you know, but we’re way more personable when you can bring a person in and say, here’s what we do and why.

And, you know, we’ve always done that. We brought everybody here.

And, you know, that can be a little scary or, you know, we just show that we trust you. And, you know, we’ve never had an issue with that.

Yeah. And so we’ll knock on wood now and then. Let’s not hope for one now, but it allows us to, like, share and open up and do all those things and then cost structure. I do believe that that would probably go to point number two of one of our greatest strengths is I believe that because of that we have a different profit model which allows for the agent that works with us to have a better commission split. I think that that we take that number and we do invest a portion. We invest heavily back into the business, like probably way too heavily at times. And my wife reminds me of that and. Right. I mean, there’s just like sometimes they give way to passion, like if we do this ultimately be great for everybody.

But it’s got us again. Yeah, it’s got us to where we are. If we didn’t do all of these things and be on top of technology, it’s going to be one of your other Yeah. Points, but yeah.

Yeah. So chat in. Now, if you’re super happy that you have a premium commission split with the Acquisto Real Estate because we don’t have an office. And you get to keep more of that in your pocket. So that’s kind of a key thing there.

You want to make technology. So I think that’s really the difference maker between an indie brokerage and a big, you know, big name brokerage is they have, you know, investors and people that will invest in their in their technology.

And we’ve never had this, fortunately for us.

We have one of the Texas people that I think I would put them up against any any tech person any day, but he you brought us to this point over the years.

And now when we’re in a world of everything is technology. I mean, it’s almost like our business is a technology business. We have to market. We have to do all these different things where real estate becomes this, much of it, you know, and it’s it’s really, really difficult.

So fortunately for us, I would say that we have some pretty amazing and innovative technology that even some of the bigger brokerages don’t have or offer.

So I would say I am I’m good with technology from a real estate perspective. I’m not, like, actually coating it, but I think we do a reasonably good job on our part. You understand technology? Yes, totally.

No. And maybe you don’t code. And I don’t brand myself, but you know enough of how everything operates and works to be able to to know how to advance us.

Yeah, no, I can tech, I can real estate, tech talk and translate from a real estate perspective to the tech guys that are working with us to be able to do it. But actually doing the physical know the I just I stopped there and that’s not maybe it’s not the best use of my time. Maybe I don’t know. We’ve been fortunate with so many. I guess we made enough wrong choices that eventually got to the point stuff.

So that could be another strength of an independent broker is the availability to make a mistake and still stick around.

So, like, if you’re normally if you’re like a CEO of a company, you make a bad decision and it hurts profitability like your canned in your out of there. And they’re on it like the next person. And the vision would change with a new person that comes in. It’s weird, the overreactions. You see it a lot in sports that all of a sudden team will go from a manager or a coach that does it one way. And all of a sudden that’s not working in like the defense isn’t good. So then they hire like a defensive minded person and the offense suffers and they’re like ping ponging back and forth on leadership and vision. And we’re afforded the opportunity to screw up all the time. And we like each other and they’re each other. Right. You know what I mean? So you’re afforded the opportunity to move around. Yeah. Hey, you as well. But it’s just one of those things, right? So you can make a mistake and then you can learn from it. But now we have years, decades, like decades of cataloged high points and low points and different things. So we have that reservoir of knowledge. Right. And that’s probably a big deal to say you don’t actually get fired and you get to stay around and can you to build it up. And the continuity of management is probably a big deal. But the technology, yes, anyone wants to talk with me about technology. I’m super happy to be my biggest real estate dotcom chat in. Now, if you love talking tech with like if you think words like like I could even talk about marketing.

Oh, Shana is chanting in no. So, you know, we also kind of have invested in marketing. We’ve seen things that would be difficult for us and we’ve started additional businesses that add on to kind of what we’re doing. And so we have added some additional things with with investments. And so we have the first go three delistings, which is going to be a company that that well, what it is, is it’s a company that assist our agents and our our company in general with truly marketing the property in the best possible way when we have a listing. So it does a bunch of different things there. But I think we excel because we invest in in the the cameras themselves with the operators, with and it allows us to streamline the process to get the best quality from start to finish at the most reasonable cost. And that’s investments that we’ve made that really help out. And then with diLusso marketing as well for so that we can be able to market all of our listings and to be able to bring in new business. And the whole marketing company really does something else for us in that regard. Yeah, it was crazy along those lines. I was speaking with somebody about it and they said, you know, it’s really, really weird. Is that talented marketing people or designers or coders or pick pick the things that would work for an online for a digital marketing firm.

And they want to work for a marketing company, not a real estate company.

So when they’re hired by, like, dilutional marketing, they feel like they’re working for a marketing company, which they are. And the client, the biggest client that diLusso currently has is Acquisto Real Estate. So they’re doing the work for Acquisto Real Estate. Getting paid by diLusso and it’s this mindshift that the talented, creative person wants to work for a marketing firm, they grew up always wanting to do that, to work at a marketing company, and they didn’t grow up and be like, oh, yeah, I want to be I want to work for a real estate firm. They want to have my arm.

When you say you’re in one industry or another, it’s just kind of writing.

So that was a strength that we were able to kind of go around that and find the best path to get to the most talented people so that we could do that for our whole firm.

Ok, I think there’s one more that’s really, you know, it seems like. Oh yeah. Well everyone does this, but we truly care about our agents, our business, our clients. And sometimes, like you said earlier, we kind of get the short end of the stick because of it. And it’s OK because, you know, it goes to show and it reminds us that we we really do truly care and everyone cares. But sometimes you have your own personal agenda first or you’re having to run a business and operate a business because you have a big office, so forth. And, you know, we truly care. We really do. We listen to all of our agents. We’re able to make change if we need to. You know, if we hear a good idea or something from one of our agents, we send it to you and, you know, you explore it. And and if it’s something worth, you know, that we feel it’s it’s worth, you know, proceeding with and you do it and we’re able to make changes a little faster than if you were a bigger company. You have more rules and regulations that you have to follow.

So, no, I would agree with that. So the inspiration for this topic kind of came from inmind. So maybe we’ll take a moment and we’ll show Jim’s article real quick and give him some some credit here. So Jim published his article on November 9th, and he can talk about the biggest strengths of smaller independent brokerages. And we’ll chat in the link to that and give a link directly to Jim and give him a thank you for the inspiration. And in seeing this article, it allowed us to kind of just think and reflect and be like, hey, we should share some of the things that we think as well. So we’re kind of commenting on something that you did, Jim, so big. Thank you to Inman for for giving such a great writer and to Jim for for bringing up that topic that we could love. It could give kind of our take on.

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