United Real Estate Houston
Co-Founder and Recruiter
Texas United Realty
Region served: Greater Houston
Years in real estate: Carol: 22; Rick: 17
Number of combined offices: 3
Number of combined agents: 1,150
United Real Estate Houston and Texas United Realty officially announced their merger this past January. In what ways will combining the strengths of your organizations benefit your agents?
Carol Drake: Having joined United Real Estate three years ago, and witnessing the growth of Texas United Realty, it became clear that our companies were on the same growth path. The differentiator for us as a transaction-based company has long been our technology, marketing and education services. Putting those benefits to work for Texas United allows us to build on what Rick Rogers and his mom Jeannie have created. We have found that this created synergy and accelerated our growth while benefiting our agents. Our agents have a very high level of commitment to their work, and making sure they get these services has been a big part of their success since the merger. Together, we’re committed to bringing our cloud-based technology to the forefront and providing our agents a very strong workflow and the business development platform they need to compete and succeed.
How are the combined operations of United Real Estate Houston and Texas United Realty a competitive advantage? What will be the impact on your recruiting and retention efforts?
CD: In Houston, there are over 35,000 agents and 5,124 registered brokerages. When agents consider which brokerage to join, they’re interested in the company’s training and overall production. Our combined offices are ranked within the top 15 in a variety of categories. This size and scope have brought us to a new level of competitiveness and awareness in our market. As more of our signs are placed in yards, it continues to raise awareness of who we are and is bringing us more listings, more sales and more agents. This addition has really helped with our ability to attract great agents, and that always helps build momentum for growth. However large we get, we’ll never lose that small-office culture or highly personalized service and excellence to our agents and clients.
Rick, what were the most important considerations for merging with United Real Estate?
Rick Rogers: Having spent over a decade building the company, mom and I began considering what new tools agents want and need. While we had a great compensation plan, we felt like we were lacking in the technology department, so we made it our goal to have better technology than our competitors. It was at this time that we met Dan Duffy and Rick Haase and were introduced to United Real Estate’s Bullseye™ platform, and we took a very hard look at what United was offering. It didn’t take long to determine they were an excellent fit. Not only were they going to give agents the tech services they needed to excel and grow, but they were also a transaction fee-based company like us, with an affordable fee structure that allowed agents to take advantage of those tools.
Rick, you and your mother built Texas United to become one of the leading brokerages in Houston. How did you accomplish this?
RR: It wasn’t a fast process, but when we realized that we needed to double down on growing the company, we decided that if we wanted to reach our goals, we needed to focus on recruiting. With so much competition in the market, we knew we had to get our name out there, and we decided to do that by advertising and creating a mentorship program. We didn’t want to bring agents into the company and see them leave within the first few years, so we focused on creating a program to guide agents through the early part of their careers. This set the stage for those who were interested in pursuing a real estate career to do the things necessary to be successful. Choosing to put a mentorship program into place was one of the best choices we made, as it allows new agents to have direct access to a mentor.
How does the mentorship program help you recruit, develop and retain agents? And how do mentors and agents benefit?
RR: The mentorship program is only as good as the mentors. They’re the magic piece of the puzzle, so finding the right mentors is very important. While our mentors benefit by being paid extremely well, money isn’t the only factor. They need to have the right character, personality and desire to help newer agents. Mentors make themselves available to their mentees anytime they are needed, including evenings and weekends. This gives new agents the confidence to go out and start talking to potential clients with the assurance that their mentor will help them from start to finish with their transactions. It also allows us to spend more time on the strategic needs of the company, and that helps us attract more agents along the way, too.
Carol, you have an extensive background in the business. What has it been like to be part of United Real Estate’s senior management team?
CD: Becoming part of the leadership team and having the responsibility and autonomy to operate in the Greater Houston market provided the opportunity to understand more deeply what was driving the company. I was also able to see the home office team’s passion and vision for where the company was headed. Coming into this organization has been a privilege, and I’m blessed that I have been able to affiliate with this group. Continuing to build the company through mergers and other key partnerships shows the attractiveness of United Real Estate as a whole.
For more information, visit http://www.growwithunited.com/.