Albuquerque Business First
By Mike English / Assistant Editor
Friday, January 29, 2016 at 4:00am
Mike Taylor and his wife Jessica own and operate Realty One, one of Albuquerque’s fastest-growing real estate brokerages. Realty One operates under a broker-friendly business model, with a capped fee for each transaction and none of the assorted monthly broker fees that have long been standard in the industry. What’s more, Realty One serves as an umbrella operation, allowing smaller brokerages like Remington Properties, for example, to continue operating as their own firm while Realty One handles payroll, taxes and other elements of operations. It’s a model that seems to be working, too — Realty One has evolved from a handful of brokers to 230 in the past three years. Mike Taylor spoke with Business First about why he thinks the Realty One concept has found a receptive market in Albuquerque.
How did you get started in real estate? Early in my career I worked in the golf industry. After my dad had a stroke in 1993, my mom worked full time in real estate. I got into the business in 1997 when we both went to work at Parnegg.
How did Realty One come about? By 2006 my mom was ready to retire. I’d seen her struggle to keep things afloat in her real estate career and I had been thinking to myself there had to be a better way to do this. My parents helped me get started that year with Realty One. I built it to about 20 brokers, and then the crash happened. We hunkered down to just three of us and kept the business going under the radar.
It’s not under the radar now. What has happened? My wife Jessica and I have six kids. She was working at Pima as a teacher in 2012 and her hours were crazy. We had a newborn. I thought, hey, I still have the dream of making Realty One into something, I think we can make a go of this. So Jessica quit her job and came to work for us. She called brokers and explained what we wanted to do. In some of those early days it was just us looking at each other in our little office on Wyoming, but then it started to take off. We added 50 brokers by 2014, and in 2015 we added 150. We’re at 230 now, and they keep coming.
Why have you been growing so rapidly? The foundation is the compensation plan. We knew we could cut the fat out, so we charge $500 a deal, capped. We don’t get paid unless they get paid. Some of the bigger boxes want to put you into their system. And those systems can be very good. But the industry has really changed with Zillow and those kind of companies. That’s where people get their information about listings now, so if you’re an associate broker, why pay high monthly fees to a brokerage? You need to have your copiers and your printers and your brick and mortar, and we cover that for people. Our concept is that we work for the brokers, they don’t work for us. It puts associate brokers in a better position to succeed.
You also have unique partnerships with some of the smaller brokerages in town, is that right? Yes. Our qualifying brokers — we have 25 now — are essentially able to keep growing their own brokerage under the Realty One umbrella. The buck stops with them when it comes to the associate brokers who work under them, and that takes a lot off our plate, which allows us to provide the foundational and operational things their business needs: payroll, taxes, office space, office administrators, things like that, things that help facilitate their transactions. And it gives those smaller teams the opportunity to network with a large brokerage and leverage the brand of a large brokerage, which is us.
Are there any other factors for why Realty One is taking off? We’re not corporate. The money stays here. It doesn’t go to Dallas or New York. And with more of the money staying with local brokers, they have more in their pocket for marketing listings and doing the things needed to be successful. That has really resonated with people.
Did you expect this kind of response? Not at all, to be honest. And we’re proud that we haven’t had anyone leave since joining us. It’s been very organic. We keep growing, and we expect after we open our larger office on the Eastside [at Wyoming and Alameda] that will spur the kind of growth we’ve seen on the Westside.