Atlanta's Independent Broker Review

Sep, 01 2020

Atlanta's Independent Broker Review

It’s very revealing that Wynd Realty is the only company with a single compensation plan. That’s because at no point did we ever think our services were worthy of a percentage in an agent’s income. We’re a service provider, not a partner. Today, everyone offers some sort of flat-fee program similar to ours. Difference being, everybody else kept a foot firmly rooted in the past by offering a variety of split plans. The problem is, when you actually compare split-plan options, the value of the Broker becomes kind of sketchy.

Compare the Palmer House $12.95 and $24.95 plans. For $12 a month, or $144 a year, an Agent willingly gives up 15% of their income? Why would anyone do that? And, if the Broker is providing the same services to flat fee agents as they do those they take 25% from, how do Brokers justify that? Compare the “no fee” programs of Virtual Properties, Trend Atlanta and First United. Two take 10% while one grabs 20%?

Fans of math all agree, these programs are NOT in the best interest of the agent. Consider the average home sale price of $285K, yielding an average 3% commission of $8,550. A 10% split means the agent is out $855. So an agent selling one home a year, trades $855 in commission to have no monthly fee. In context, the $855 the agent gave away is equal to paying $70 a month in fees. The more homes an agent sells under these types of plans only makes the math worse. Don’t fall for it.

Pricing aside, there are many features common to all brokerages. These are the basics. Every company on our list has over 200 agents. To get to that level, you can assume all of our Brokerages nail the basics. Simply put, it’s impossible to maintain large agent rosters without strict adherence and discipline to the basics.

Another oddity when trying to compare one Brokerage over another, are the number of old and dated features. For example, brokerages still promote their Broker branded email addresses. Those fell from fashion over 10 years ago. Broker provided Agent Webpages? In today’s world, nothing says, “I am not even trying”, more than a Broker supplied Agent page. In our new era, Agents shouldn’t settle for whatever the Broker is offering. Old brands are just that; old. One Brokerage on our list still promotes “fax cover sheets and color printers”. (Name withheld to protect from embarrassment)

Of course, no discussion of old and dated is complete without mentioning E&O. This is scam real estate product within a “sell-the-fear”, BS industry. Agents throw away 10’s of millions of dollars every year because they have been so ingrained with fear. For a, “tell us what you really think” screed on E&O, see: https://www.wyndrealty.com/blo...

Quick Review

Palmer House Properties—This is a great company. (https://palmerhouseproperties.com/) They are large, multi-state with tons of agent features. In many ways, a very traditional franchise, but still allowing for flat fee transactions and DBA branding. We have worked with them a lot over the years and have always enjoyed their professionalism.

First United Realty—When Wynd Realty began in 2008, First United and Wynd were both doing Craig’s List recruiting. Turns out not to have been a very good idea. Funny thing is; First United is still using the same website they had in 2008. (Don’t believe me; (http://www.firstunitedrealty.net/) Since then, Wynd has had 4 different websites costing tens of thousands of dollars in software development. Now who looks foolish?

Solid Source—As their name implies, a solid performer in Atlanta for years. (https://www.solidsource.com/) We contacted Solid Source to ask them a couple of questions. They refused to answer in writing preferring ONLY phone calls. Be very aware of anything that is NOT electronically transparent. If they can’t put anything in writing upfront, enter at your own risk. And remember, don’t put too much stock in Glassdoor reviews.

Virtual Properties Realty—A very sales oriented Brokerage. They have an “Amazing Ambassador Plan” you can read about here, (https://vprsuccess.com/extraincome/) but won’t understand. In theory, it’s a passive residual income pyramid scheme. But other than yelling SYNERGY, it’s not really explained. VPR is a mother and son team that began in the 1999.

Trend Atlanta—Another homage to the retro web look, now with sound. (https://www.trendatlanta.com/0/Home) Hits all the right tones, covers all the right ground and has the lowest transaction fee in all of Atlanta. On dollars, they are the winners in the race to the bottom.

Chapman Hall—The granddaddy of the little r’s. The first Brokerage I knew that openly promoted no Board dues. They are a flat fee Brokerage, but don’t publish any other compensation information. Their website claims over 500 agents. GREC has them much less than half that. Long time radical in Atlanta real estate.

If you have read this far, you are probably wondering, why go out of our way to say nice things about competitors. Well, they are all great companies for one. But more importantly, as the traditional franchise herds continue to thin, there is more than enough business to go around. As a matter of fact, new Brokerages are appearing daily. Next year, we could easily see a doubling in the number of Brokerages on this list.

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