Skin in the game: Real residential brokerage will offer agents equity pay bonuses

The pay model could help the tech-focused platform stay competitive with rivals

Mar.March 28, 2018 05:00 PM
Tamir Poleg, CEO of Real (Credit: IRA and Real)

Real, a tech-focused residential sales brokerage, plans to launch an equity-based bonus pay package for its agents later this year, The Real Deal has learned.

Agents at the online platform will receive a small slice of ownership every three months, and will receive the same for closing deals. They will get smaller compensation awards for referring clients, and mentoring agents and writing posts on Real’s online platform, CEO Tamir Poleg said.

The equity model could help Real stay competitive with rivals like Redfin, TripleMint, Compass and other larger brokerages that offer agents a similar package of tools.

“Naturally, if we do it right, it would attract more agents and help retain them,” Poleg said, “as they will be working for a company they own and enjoy the success of others in that community.”

Real hasn’t decided in what form the equity will be awarded.

The firm had considered utilizing a blockchain and using tokens akin to digital currencies like Bitcoin for the bonuses. But it had concerns about the volatility of potential Security Exchange Commission regulations. It will probably go a more traditional route, Poleg said.

The company eventually wants its agents to own 40 percent of the company, he added. Real, which has 900 agents, is registered in 25 states, including California, Florida  Illinois and New York. Poleg said its stable of brokers has grown at about a 10 percent clip over the last few months, and the firm has raised $9 million from investors.

Giving equity to agents isn’t necessarily new, but neither has it been adopted on a large scale. In 2015, TripleMint started awarding equity to brokers who stick around for more than a year.

Poleg and his co-founders started Real in 2014. It’s mostly an agent-focused platform meant to appeal to brokers who want to work independently but have access to the tools a brokerage provides. Real charges agents 15 percent on commissions under the first $75,000 for access to a suite of tools through Real’s mobile app. Those include a listings portal, a customizable in-app website creation tool, and data to create comparative market analysis. Brokers pay Multiple Listings Service fees and local real estate board fees.

It will likely be rolled out in the fall.

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