Joshua Harley is the founder, chairman and CEO of Fathom Holdings, where he led the company’s growth into top-25 real estate brokerages on RISMedia’s 2021 Power Broker Report, ranking the Top 1,000 Power Brokers by 2020 sales volume.
Here, Harley breaks down what it means to be an RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker and provides updates on Fathom and strategies for embracing tech to stay competitive in the industry.
What does it mean to be named a 2021 Newsmaker in the Achiever category?
Joshua Harley: Being named as an Achiever and Newsmaker is a huge honor for me. I work hard to place others first and allow them to take the credit wherever and whenever possible. As much as I want to see others receive these awards, it feels amazing to be recognized, and I am truly grateful.
Fathom has been busy since going public in 2020. What were some of the biggest wins you’ve tallied over the past year?
JH: Taking Fathom public was a whirlwind. It was two years of incredibly hard work and millions of dollars spent to go public the right way. Since our IPO, we’ve consistently grown our agent base by around 40% and our revenue by around 70% each quarter.
On top of growing our core business, we managed to acquire a title company, a mortgage company, an insurance company, two additional real estate brokerages and two technology companies. We recently launched a new Hispanic division in Fathom to better service this underserved community through education, resources, dedicated personnel, and technology and monetary investments. We have also issued millions of dollars in stock to our Fathom agents.
Needless to say, we have been burning the candle at both ends, but I would not change it for the world.
How has the company stayed ahead of the game as tech continues to be widely embraced in the industry?
JH: Instead of fighting big tech, we chose to embrace it. Since the beginning, I felt it was essential to build and own our technology rather than license it. We now control the full technology lifecycle of the agent and the client experience with no need to go outside of our ecosystem.
How can traditional brokerages maintain their competitive edge among the growing footprint of iBuyers and other Venture Capital-backed tech companies?
JH: The value, or lack thereof, that agents bring to their clients will make or break the industry as we know it.
Value has trumped cheap time and time again. To that end, brokerages need to focus agents on providing even greater value while helping them master their craft. When agents become lazy and no longer provide excellent service or value, the consumer will finally seek cheaper alternatives, which is when big tech wins.
What are some tech trends that agents and brokers can’t afford to ignore if they hope to remain competitive in the industry?
JH: Trends come and go, but one area that I see a greater emphasis and long-term value in is through content creation from two fronts: listings and websites.
For listings, video tours and higher-end virtual tours combined with floor plans make it easier for a buyer to make better decisions quickly that they won’t regret later on.
Home search enabled websites are worthless without traffic coming to that site. You can pay for that traffic through paid campaigns, or you can generate free traffic over time by creating unique content that focuses on your niche or your area of expertise. Become the master of your domain. You do not need to generate millions of page hits to win.
After all, you’re only trying to generate leads for yourself or your team. Compete by playing a different game.
Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.