Can someone say super-sized?

Broker teams are getting bigger — some say it’s the wave of the future, others that it’s a step back

Sep.September 01, 2019 01:00 PM

Welcome to the new frontier of brokerages — megateams.

And the soon-to-be-70-agent team headed up by Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes at Douglas Elliman is not the only one out there.

Ryan Serhant’s team at Nest Seekers International is now clocking in at 62 agents, largely in New York, but with several in L.A.

Also in L.A., Compass’ Aaron Kirman and Sally Forster Jones have teams with 50-plus and 25 agents, respectively. And national brokerages like Keller Williams and virtual firm eXp Realty have also been rolling out so-called expansion teams.

Read the full story: The Eklund and Gomes roadshow

Those who forge megateams often get the same critiques lodged against them (largely that the team leader reels in the business but doesn’t handle deals).

But these teams are pumping out a lot of business. Serhant, for example, is a cash cow for Nest Seekers, closing $480.5 million in sell-side deals across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens in 2018, landing the No. 2 spot on The Real Deal’s latest ranking of top agents.

But Compass’ Leonard Steinberg said the rise of the superteam blurs the lines between firms and agents in a way that could be “very, very confusing to the consumer” if the model proliferates.

And some states have already stepped in. Last year, the Florida Real Estate Commission — which regulates real estate licenses — began requiring agents to feature the name or logo of their brokerage in all advertising and to make it larger than the team’s name and logo.

Despite concerns, most agents say they expect more superteams going forward.

David Kramer of brokerage Hilton & Hyland in L.A. attributes it to competition within the industry. “The only way to compete is to pool your resources,” he said.

That said, many agents who have teams say they plan on keeping them small.

Adam Modlin — whose eponymous firm has six agents — applauded Eklund and Gomes’ expansion and said, “everyone needs help.”

But he doesn’t view the duo as a competitor.        

“The differentiator is they’re reaching out to mass audiences and our clientele is a more bespoke, curated, hand-picked — the 1 percent of the 1 percent,” he said.

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