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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Jeff Hyland on why his firm refused to report figures for REAL Trends agent ranking

Co-founder referenced what he considered 'blatant discrepancies' in data

July 07, 2016 04:07PM
By Katherine Clarke

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Jeff Hyland and the Real Trends rankings

Jeff Hyland and the REAL Trends rankings

Eagle eyed L.A. industry insiders scouring this week’s hotly anticipated broker ranking by data firm REAL Trends, published in the Wall Street Journal, may have noticed a couple of notable omissions. Two of Los Angeles’ most active luxury brokerages, Hilton & Hyland and Westside Estate Agency, were not represented on the list and none of their brokers made the ranking.

The omission of the two firms is particularly notable since both Hilton & Hyland and Westside brokered some of the biggest deals of 2015. Stephen Resnick of Hilton & Hyland represented the buyer of the Singleton House, set on seven acres in the Holmby Hills area, for nearly $60 million dollars — the second largest deal recorded last year. And Mia Trudeau, also of Hilton & Hyland, sold the Liongate estate in Bel-Air for $46.25 million, for instance.

REAL Trends, an independent firm, ranks the most productive agents in the country by state and metropolitan area based on closed transaction sides and closed volume. Mauricio Umansky of The Agency ranked number one in L.A. this year based on total sales volume, followed by Chris Cortazzo of Coldwell Banker.

Hilton & Hyland co-founder Jeff Hyland told The Real Deal that his company had purposefully opted out of participating in this year’s ranking, following inconsistencies it perceived in last year’s report.

“First and foremost, let me establish that Hilton & Hyland had a banner year in 2015, with a sales volume of nearly $3 billion,”Hyland told TRD. “Had our agents’ sales numbers been submitted, we would have had a commanding presence on the list.”

Hyland referenced what he considered “blatant discrepancies” in REAL Trends’ largely self-reported data as his reason for withdrawing from the competition.

“We have detailed and intimate knowledge of our marketplace and the sales that happen within it, and simply put, many of the agents’ sales numbers do not calculate accordingly,” he said.

A spokesperson for REAL Trends said in a statement: “Hilton & Hyland chose not to submit to this year’s survey. That is of course their choice. They don’t like it when other professionals in the market outperform them. But virtually every major national, regional and local firm in the nation trusts our rankings. ”

The firm outlined its concerns about the ranking to the head of REAL Trends in a March email. In the note, Charles Black, the company’s executive vice president of marketing, complained that in the most recent iteration of the survey, an agent in Addison, Texas was listed as having sold the most homes in the year.

“According to the survey, this agent sold 2,383 homes. In the year 2014, there was a total of 249 days in which a house sale could close. Applying simple math, this would dictate that the top agent sold an average of over 9 ½ homes a day, a feat that is simply not possible,” Black said in the email.

“Brokers appear to be unjustly ‘stacking’ sales from within the office, forging a super-agent that will rank high on the list, thus creating publicity for the brokerage,” Black told TRD.

The company isn’t the first to complain about the rankings. Westside also refused to report its figures last year, though a spokesperson for the company was not immediately available for comment.

In a response to Hilton & Hyland, REAL Trends President Steve Murray conceded that the methodology for the ranking was flawed.

“While we have in many cases required top-ranked teams and agents to supply such verification as Federal Tax returns and lists of actual properties sold, we know that there may be cases where somehow incorrect volumes or transaction counts are filed,” he wrote.

  • From The President of REAL Trends:

    Hilton and Hyland chose not to submit to this year’s survey. That is of course their choice. They don’t like it when other professionals in the market outperform them. But virtually every major national, regional and local firm in the nation trusts our rankings. Hilton forgot that and that we block many whose numbers don’t add up.

    Another point is that the # 1 by sides has been 100% verified for at least the last three years.

  • From The President of REAL Trends:

    Hilton and Hyland chose not to submit to this year’s survey. That is of course their choice. They don’t like it when other professionals in the market outperform them. But virtually every major national, regional and local firm in the nation trusts our rankings. Hilton forgot that and that we block many whose numbers don’t add up.

    Another point is that the # 1 by sides has been 100% verified for at least the last three years.

  • From The President of REAL Trends:

    Hilton and Hyland chose not to submit to this year’s survey. That is of course their choice. They don’t like it when other professionals in the market outperform them. But virtually every major national, regional and local firm in the nation trusts our rankings. Hilton forgot that and that we block many whose numbers don’t add up.

    Another point is that the # 1 by sides has been 100% verified for at least the last three years.

  • REAL Deal did try to reach one of our employees via email yesterday about their story. We stand corrected on this issue of being contacted and apologize to the writers at the REAL Deal for stating otherwise.

  • REAL Deal did try to reach one of our employees via email yesterday about their story. We stand corrected on this issue of being contacted and apologize to the writers at the REAL Deal for stating otherwise.

  • REAL Deal did try to reach one of our employees via email yesterday about their story. We stand corrected on this issue of being contacted and apologize to the writers at the REAL Deal for stating otherwise.

  • I see Hilton’s point. Ben Caballero of HomesUSA.com is a CEO and his company is appears to be more like a new construction marketing firm, not a solo agent. He really should be in the firm or team category. It’s telling that the 2nd person on the list only sold 463. I would ask REAL Trends what they mean by “100% verified.” Just because he is listed in the MLS as the listing agent, doesn’t mean he’s a solo agent. Would the owner of a flat-fee listing company also be eligible for #1 agent by transaction sides?

    I think REAL Trends needs to consider clarifying their criteria.

  • I see Hilton’s point. Ben Caballero of HomesUSA.com is a CEO and his company is appears to be more like a new construction marketing firm, not a solo agent. He really should be in the firm or team category. It’s telling that the 2nd person on the list only sold 463. I would ask REAL Trends what they mean by “100% verified.” Just because he is listed in the MLS as the listing agent, doesn’t mean he’s a solo agent. Would the owner of a flat-fee listing company also be eligible for #1 agent by transaction sides?

    I think REAL Trends needs to consider clarifying their criteria.

  • I see Hilton’s point. Ben Caballero of HomesUSA.com is a CEO and his company is appears to be more like a new construction marketing firm, not a solo agent. He really should be in the firm or team category. It’s telling that the 2nd person on the list only sold 463. I would ask REAL Trends what they mean by “100% verified.” Just because he is listed in the MLS as the listing agent, doesn’t mean he’s a solo agent. Would the owner of a flat-fee listing company also be eligible for #1 agent by transaction sides?

    I think REAL Trends needs to consider clarifying their criteria.

  • Groverton Holmby

    Finally someone says what everyone is thinking. This list lost all credibility when I saw some of the top names and their sales volume. Many of the agents on the Individual Sales Volume List are obviously teams — just visit their websites! Some of which have several agents working under them! One has 16 agents in their group! Did Real Trends visit their sites as part of their research?

  • Groverton Holmby

    Finally someone says what everyone is thinking. This list lost all credibility when I saw some of the top names and their sales volume. Many of the agents on the Individual Sales Volume List are obviously teams — just visit their websites! Some of which have several agents working under them! One has 16 agents in their group! Did Real Trends visit their sites as part of their research?

  • Groverton Holmby

    Finally someone says what everyone is thinking. This list lost all credibility when I saw some of the top names and their sales volume. Many of the agents on the Individual Sales Volume List are obviously teams — just visit their websites! Some of which have several agents working under them! One has 16 agents in their group! Did Real Trends visit their sites as part of their research?

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