I recently sat down and interviewed Michael Wilson, the first agent we hired at findwell, to get his impressions after his first year with us. Michael has been a rock star agent for us, negotiating great deals for his clients and going the extra mile to make sure that his clients are 100% satisfied with their home buying or selling experience. He came to us from RE/MAX, a traditional real estate brokerage, so there have been some big changes for him.
Kevin: What is the biggest change about being a findwell agent?
Michael: The hardest part about being a traditional agent was worrying about where my next client was going to come from. I was 100% responsible for my own marketing and prospects, and quite honestly it was the part of the business that I couldn’t stand. I’d much rather spend my time helping people to buy and sell homes, but found myself usually spending 50%, sometimes up to 75%, of my time looking for the next customer. I think that is a pretty common experience for many real estate agents. findwell’s model has been a great change. They take care of all marketing and lead generation for their agents, freeing me up to spend close to 100% of my time on the best part of the business, which is helping people to buy and sell their homes. It’s been great having new customers just fall in my lap.
Kevin: Would you say that you are doing more business now than when you were with RE/MAX?
Michael: It has been a huge difference. Not only do I have more time to work with clients, but I’m working with 3x more clients at any given time. I love being this busy and ultimately I’m a better agent because I’m able to do more transactions. Real estate is a business that you learn by doing. Each transaction presents unique challenges and scenarios, and I find myself learning more about real estate with every deal that I do. With my higher transaction volume, I’m positive that I’ve learned more in a year than I did in all my years at RE/MAX.
Kevin: How is the atmosphere different working at findwell?
Michael: When you work for a traditional real estate company, you are an independent contractor, not an employee. At findwell, the agents are full-time employees, with a requirement to be in the office during business hours. I was initially hesitant to give up my independence, but the atmosphere is way better as an employee. findwell agents don’t compete with one another and are encouraged to work as a team. I found teamwork at a traditional brokerage to be non-existent. It is a cutthroat, fend-for-yourself environment where agents won’t help each other and often will compete directly with you to take business away.
Kevin: Is it more fun working at findwell?
Michael: Real estate has always been fun for me, but I definitely love being part of a team with bigger goals. I can see the contributions I make not only growing my own career, but also contributing to help grow the company. findwell also makes sure that we both work hard and play hard. Whether it is an outing on a sailboat, the company holiday party, or simply an extra day off when we’ve been super busy, I like that they are looking out for our work/life balance, which is always hard as a real estate agent.
Kevin: You’re paid a salary. Every agent will ask if you could make more if you were paid strictly on commissions. Now that you’ve been at this year, what do you think?
Michael: The salary versus commission debate certainly was part of my decision making process when I joined findwell. My take home pay last year was very comparable to previous years at RE/MAX, and now I don’t have to worry about the huge peaks and valleys in my income as I wait for the next commission check to come in. I also don’t have to worry about covering the huge number of expenses of being an agent. findwell also has a bonus structure in place to help agents share in the profits when business is booming. I’m confident that once we see the real estate market pick up again, I’ll have a great opportunity to participate in the profits I’m helping to bring in.
Kevin: How do you compare the resources available to you previously at RE/MAX and now at findwell?
Michael: My broker at RE/MAX was very helpful on a variety of legal and real estate matters and certainly helped point me in the right direction. However, I can’t help but feel that most traditional brokers are all about attracting agents to their brokerage, not attracting customers to help their agents succeed. findwell has been much different. They are relentless about marketing by making sure to measure the ROI of every campaign they do. There isn’t a day that goes by when the company leadership isn’t trying to attract more customers for the team. They are also on the cutting edge technology-wise, actively engaging our clients on social media like our blog, Facebook or Twitter. I can’t help but think that this sort of marketing is the future for real estate agencies.