Talent wars: @properties, BHHS, Compass trade off in latest agent moves

Jumps come after @properties added a 1% fee to broker commissions earlier this year

A photo illustration of @properties' Crystal Tran (middle) and her team of ten agents (Getty, @properties)
A photo illustration of @properties' Crystal Tran (middle) and her team of ten agents (Getty, @properties)

UPDATED, July 14, 2023 11:25 a.m.:

In another round of musical chairs among Chicago residential agents, @properties Christie’s International Real Estate is gaining 11 agents from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices while losing three of its agents to Compass, the companies announced this week.

Crystal Tran and her team of 10 agents is moving to @properties after being with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago since 2017. The team works in Chicago’s Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, South Loop, Lakeview, Bucktown and West Loop neighborhoods and closed nearly $50 million in sales in 2022, according to @properties.

Meanwhile, Compass is gaining three agents from @properties. Alicia Blumer, Jon Fox and Bryce Hoffman have joined the brokerage, with Blumer and Fox set to form a new group at Compass that will operate out of the company’s Bucktown office. In 2022, the two had a combined $30 million in annual sales.

Compass is also adding Hoffman, who specializes in downtown Chicago real estate. His group with @properties completed over $45 million in sales over his eight years in real estate, and he will work out of Compass’ Lincoln Park office.

The moves come during a pivotal year for both Compass and Chicago-based @properties, the city’s largest brokerage, as more brokerages adjust to wartime mode to overcome market slowdowns amid jumps in interest rates.

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In March, @properties co-CEOs Thad Wong and Mike Golden tacked on an agent services fee of 1 percent of gross commission income. The move applies to all transactions closed on or after April 1.

“Brokerage revenues are down, and expenses are way up,” Golden and Wong said in the company-wide email announcing the new fee. “Inflation has hit everyone including @properties, and today it costs significantly more to run a large brokerage firm than it did just a couple of years ago.”

For New York-based Compass, it’s a make-or-break year. The company initiated a series of aggressive cost-cutting measures at the start of last year, after proclaiming it would be cash-flow positive in 2023. The firm laid off 800 tech employees across two rounds of layoffs, followed by another round of layoffs in January 2023.

Correction: A previous version of this story mistook Bryce Hoffman’s sales volume over his entire real estate career as his volume in 2022 alone.

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