As owner and broker of small boutique brokerage firm, I am constantly asked if smaller is better. I am obviously biased on this answer, but thought I’d share some thoughts on the subject anyway.
I read this morning that GMAC real estate may be sold. Before I started Maxsell Real Estate, I worked for GMAC. The firm was Better Homes and Gardens before it became GMAC and it was just Metro Brokers before BH&G bought them. I spent my first eight years with Metro Brokers/BH&G/GMAC. That’s 3 brands in 8 years.
It’s also true that Better Homes and Gardens is coming back into the real estate market. Rumor has it they may even buy back the GMAC franchises it sold off years ago. Sellouts!
As an agent, I was tired of corporate turnover, rebranding, and migration to quantity over quality. I wanted to work where I was part of a consistent brand without corporate policies and a place where community and morale mattered more than numbers. Maxsell Real Estate was born out of the idea that real estate is local and consumers really don’t care what national brand you’re with (they change so often now anyways).
Some agents and consumers ask if the brand recognition makes a difference. My answer has always been yes, to some, and no, to others. Everyone assumes that a big corporate brand makes a difference to the public. I agree that many people may look favorably on a corporate brand which helps with first impressions, but there are more and more who look negatively on corporate brands.
So many people are jaded by corporate America, tired of mass advertising, disgusted by corporate politics and Enron scandals. I contend today more than ever before, large brands are in trouble. Then they go and buy each other out and make it even more difficult for the public to trust one brand over another.
So far Maxsell Real Estate has lost only one listing that I can verify, in three years, to a larger corporate brand. Today’s real estate client wants superior service, not a brand name. I’ll take my chances staying small and enjoy the side show of sellouts, brokerage buyouts, and rebranding.