Differentiation Through Technology & Innovation
Innovation is coming fast and furious to the real estate industry and many brokers are focused on adding value for the customer and differentiating their brokerage from the pack. VIVO Realty, with two storefront offices in Dallas and one storefront office in Plano, Texas, decided the way to offer that value was through a subscription-based brokerage model.
“We’re a family business, and since 2011, we’ve operated mainly on a traditional split model,” says VIVO Realty Co-founder and Broker David Maez Jr. But, he says, “we’ve seen the real estate industry change and agents are looking for easier, more flexible ways to run their businesses.”
So, the company launched its real estate brokerage coworking membership model. The program will be piloted in three of VIVO’s Texas locations with more locations planned for 2019. The goal: provide a business structure that aligns better with real estate professionals’ changing ways of doing business.
“Everyone is investing in technology—CRMs, marketing tools and more. But, agent adoption continues to be a challenge,” says Maez Jr. “Brokerages wanted to control the technology tools used by the agents, but many top-producing agents were using other CRMs and tools of their own. We decided to offer the basics, such as a core website and other basic tools all agents need to run their businesses and let the agents use whatever other products they wanted,” he says.
To further simplify the membership model, every agent is plugged into a mobile intranet with access to On-Demand training, marketing, tech and more.
“The real estate industry has evolved and the timing is right for a model like ours,” said co-founder, Broker Manager Bernice Maez.
Four Membership Plans
Members can pick from four different monthly membership plans that best fit their real estate business—Lite, Select, Pro, and Team. Agents pay a monthly membership fee and annual dues based on their plan selection in place of a traditional commission split. Each plan is tailored to agents at different levels in their business. For example, an experienced agent may pay their membership fees for the year (at a discount), whereas a new agent may pay them monthly.
What do they get for this fee? Members get 24/7 access to three storefront offices in DFW locations. Being a part of the local community is important to VIVO, and having a storefront is critically important to that mission. The offices also function as event spaces for agents. “Of course,” says Maez Jr., “we couldn’t make this change overnight. We allowed our current agents to be grandfathered in and choose the traditional split or the new plan. Right now, we have about 80 percent of our agents on the new plan. They love it, because they can put more money into their marketing.” And, it’s not just new or younger agents who are embracing the concept. “I was surprised, but we have a lot of experienced agents reaching out to us.”
If this all sounds like the 100% commission business model, it’s because it’s very similar. “The difference is agents aren’t paying this fee out of their commissions. We’re not charging a desk fee or monthly office fee. And, they can cancel the membership at any time and stay with the brokerage,” he says.
VIVO Realty is Focused On Relationship Building
“This business is all about relationships. With all the changes, we wanted to be more flexible with splits, but we weren’t willing to give away the farm. The membership model seemed right based on where the industry is heading,” says Maez Jr.
VIVO Realty is a family-owned, residential real estate brokerage founded in 2011 with three locations in Dallas, Bishop Arts and Plano. VIVO executives have a combined 30-plus years of real estate experience coupled with a unique background that includes tech and digital marketing.