Above: Rick Haase, Bonnie Mays and Lisa Peel
In the following interview with RISMedia for Real Estate magazine, United Real Estate Broker/Owners Bonnie Mays and Lisa Peel share what attracted them to the company’s brokerage offerings.
Broker/Owner, United | Louisville
Principal Broker/Co-Owner, United | Lexington KY
Managing Broker/Co-Owner, United | Lexington KY
Broker/Owner, United | Solutions (Knoxville)
Broker/Owner, United |Experts (Chattanooga)
Region served: Kentucky and Tennessee
Years in real estate: Bonnie: 32; Lisa: 32
Number of offices: 4, with a 5th opening soon
Number of agents: Bonnie: 447; Lisa: 397
What attracted you to United Real Estate’s brokerage offerings?
Bonnie Mays: Technology is the key to the future for agents, and when I heard about United, I loved the fact that their CEO had a background in technology. Not only is their mindset innovative, but they also understand what agents need while recognizing the importance of being on the cutting edge and being able to change and adapt very quickly and efficiently.
Lisa Peel: I was attracted to United for many reasons, two of which were the alignment of company values to my own and the company’s agent-centric focus evidenced by their offerings of cutting-edge technology, relevant training and industry-leading 100% transaction fee model.
You two are powerhouses in the industry, running busy and successful brokerages. How do you use your synergies to drive growth?
BM: We both have different strengths, which allows us to work in a way where we’re each responsible for different aspects of the business. Lisa is the operations person, so she runs the business day to day, while I’m more focused on the big picture of compliance, education and agent development.
LP: We always strive to provide the best environment, tools and support for our agents. Not only do we share ideas among ourselves, but we mastermind with brokers in the United system across the entire country to constantly improve our systems and the agent experience.
Lisa, you’re opening a third office soon. Tell us about your success in Knoxville and Chattanooga.
LP: Being the first company in Knoxville and Chattanooga to introduce the 100% transaction fee model was both exciting and challenging, but our explosive growth has proven that the East Tennessee community has fully embraced our concept. Agents have discovered that they can get the best of both worlds—more money in their pockets as well as a full-service brokerage with leading tech, training and full broker support.
Bonnie, growing your Louisville office to over 250 agents is an amazing feat, especially considering that you didn’t know anyone in the city when you opened. How did you accomplish this?
BM: It took market research and 100% faith in the model. Louisville is a very traditional market, and the agents were skeptical. Winning them over involved making lots of phone calls, going to many networking events and offering strong agent services when they joined.
What is attracting agents to United Real Estate?
LP: Our agents are our greatest testimony. We have the most professional agents in East Tennessee, and they impact other agents through cross-sales and word of mouth to want to affiliate with United. We have developed a community of agents that is truly like a family, and they can feel the love when they walk in our door.
BM: It’s all about the value. Cost is one thing, but if the agent can’t reconcile the value, then it doesn’t mean anything. Any company can match our compensation, but when you add value for the agents, they’re more likely to think twice before they leave.
Lisa, what have been the keys to your success in retention?
LP: Let’s be honest; Everyone wants to have a fun work environment, and we deliver that on a large scale. Our brokers Kenya Worley and Amy Mullins are masters at providing professional and fun in one package, and agents love it. Our agents mastermind, collaborate, work and play together, and in the process, the community of agents has developed into a very tight-knit group of like-minded professionals.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
BM: I want to have 10% of the 12,000 REALTORS® in Kentucky. That means we have to grow 300% in the next five years.
LP: Our No. 1 focus is the success of our agents. We would like to continue to create opportunities for more agents through expansion and continued growth in our current offices. Our ultimate goal is to be the market share leader in each of our geographical markets, and we believe that we will accomplish this in the next five years.
For more information, visit https://www.unitedrealestate.com/.
Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to email@example.com.