Vitals: Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty
Years in Business: 13
Size: 17 offices, 300 agents
Regions Served: Eastern Massachusetts
2018 Sales Volume: $2.4 billion
2018 Transactions: 2,350
Larry Rideout—chairman and founder of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty—has been in the real estate game since 1984. Starting out as an agent, Rideout went on to become the SVP of Business Growth for Realogy before owning one of the top real estate companies in Massachusetts, serving the Eastern part of the state. Since acquiring a 45-year-old company in the South End of Boston in December 2016 with three offices, 55 associates and $250 million in sales volume, he has transformed the business into a 17-office firm with 300 associates and $2.4 billion in sales volume.
How would you characterize your market through the first half of 2019?
Larry Rideout: Massachusetts is still a strong market, though not at all like our previous two years. I like to think of it as a normalizing market. The competition in the marketplace is allowing us to be more desirable in the eyes of the consumer. There seems to be a race to the bottom, and we stand apart from that.
Do you have plans to grow your firm in the upcoming months?
LR: We started expanding our company in the fourth quarter of 2018 and will continue to grow strategically as needed. We’re always looking for experienced luxury associates in all of our markets.
What most sets your firm apart in the marketplace?
LR: I think the Sotheby’s brand raises the threshold for us and we strive every day to meet our clients’ and customers’ expectations of the service behind that brand. Our luxury brand isn’t about price points, but more about service.
How are you attracting agents to your firm and retaining top producers?
LR: Our philosophy from the beginning was to provide enough support for our associates that their main job was to do what they do best: list and sell. We also provide a culture of collaboration throughout our company. This culture and support are critical when it comes to retaining our existing associates and attracting experienced associates.
What do you look for in someone new coming into the company?
LR: They first need to fit our company culture. Then they need to be experienced and able to represent our luxury brand in the manner of our existing associates. When we’re comfortable with that, they meet at least two members of our leadership team, and after a discussion, we will offer them a position—or not.
How do your agents handle the new millennial buyer?
LR: We’re aware of the changing demographics and offer courses to all our agents to keep them abreast of those changes. We also hire from the demographics we serve, giving us an advantage.
What are the biggest challenges you’re currently facing?
LR: Every real estate market over the years has brought its own set of challenges and competitors. Each challenge and competitor must be acknowledged, but we should never stray from what has made us so strong.
Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.