The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday signals the time of year when real estate agents contemplate whether to renew their membership for the coming year, consider a change of brokers or possibly seek alternative sources of income.
The total number of agents practicing in Incline Village and Crystal Bay has risen dramatically in the post-recession era. There are now approximately 330 agents competing for business in a community that will see approximately 400 transactions in 2016. This makes our real estate market one of the most competitive anywhere in the United States.
During the past year the number and size of Incline Village real estate brokerage firms remained relatively static. RE/MAX North Lake tripled its office space and its agent count. But none of the big real estate firms expanded to new or larger offices, although some of them did take on a few more agents in their existing quarters.
With so much business being conducted on the Internet and agents able to work efficiently from a home office it’s no longer critical for the largest offices to keep expanding their square footage unless absolutely necessary.
At RE/MAX North Lake we leased additional space in order to provide a dedicated conference room along with office space to accommodate more agents as we continue to expand the business. The new quarters were extensively remodeled and provide a superb environment for agents, staff and clients.
Berkshire Hathaway opened a very nice office earlier in the year with Bill Hane at the helm as managing broker. Bill is one of the most well respected and experienced brokers in our community.
There are rumors that a couple of well-established real estate brokerages in the San Francisco Bay area are contemplating expanding their operations into the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe. Whether they actually open up new offices or just have a couple of their agents acquire Nevada real estate licenses is yet to be determined.
The existing real estate pie is already divided into a number of pieces. So, any new players should be trying to increase the size of the pie instead of just taking a sliver and not providing any additional value to our local marketplace.
It is much easier for an agent in our market to switch brokerage firms between November and April than during the busy summer season. Due to the slower pace of activity, you can change brokers and rebrand yourself during the off-season with fewer disruptions to the flow of business.
Whether changing firms is beneficial depends on a number of factors and the goals of each agent. But every year several agents will change offices or on occasion even get a broker’s license and open their own office in the hopes of achieving better performance.
Agents who have enjoyed a stellar year will use the off season to contemplate the current commission arrangement they have with their broker and sometimes try to renegotiate more favorable terms.
It’s always a little bit of a cross between a tug ‘o war and a balancing act whenever agents and brokers sit down to discuss compensation packages. And since each broker is free to utilize whatever compensation structure they deem appropriate, it can often be a case of comparing apples and oranges when agents try to analyze offers from different firms and decide what course of action to take.
The property management and vacation rental firms in town have generally remained fairly stable in the past year with staff turnover holding at fairly normal levels. While market share ebbs and flows, no new major players have entered the game and all of the longtime firms are still standing.
This industry has undergone a revolution during the past decade with the advent of online booking and the proliferation of websites such as AirBnB and VRBO.com. The rental agencies that are still thriving are the ones who managed their businesses well after coming out of the recession and continue to work hard as they adapt to a changing industry.
Don Kanare and Sabrina Belleci are the owners of RE/MAX North Lake. Read their blog and find weekly stats on their website at http://www.InsideIncline.com.