Compass opens first SoFla office on Lincoln Road

Robert Reffkin, CEO of Compass
Robert Reffkin, CEO of Compass

Compass, the New York-based brokerage house, has launched its first office in South Florida, aiming to capitalize off referrals from its home turf, The Real Deal has learned.

The office, on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, will concentrate on “middle and high-end products,” from Coral Gables to Fort Lauderdale, with a focus on Miami Beach, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin told TRD.

“Miami is one of the most important real estate markets in the world,” Reffkin said. “We are referring more of our clients there than to any other region, so we want to refer them to our own agents, not just to any agents.”

The South Florida office, which has been several months in the making, will be led by former ONE Sotheby’s executive Beth Butler, who will be president. The firm has also hired a marketing director, and will start with about five agents, with a goal to increase to 100 eventually, Reffkin said. He declined to provide the exact address on Lincoln Road, but said it is not a street-level retail space.

Compass also plans to set up a separate development marketing division. “We have a separate division for new developments in New York, and we are building one in Miami, as well,” he said.

This week, the firm began recruiting agents who are experienced in the South Florida market.

“There are a lot of people interested, and some top-producing agents will be joining our team in the next couple of months,” Reffkin said. “We’re looking for quality agents that understand our vision for real estate, and people that can benefit from the marketing support and technology tools we have created.”

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Compass prides itself on its marketing and tech tools, which he said help its agents and their listings get maximum exposure.

“In terms of marketing, we have more designers and more PR professionals for agents than any other firm, hands down,” Reffkin said, citing such marketing tools as in-house-made videos for listings and custom mailers. “We have ways of targeting the right sellers and buyers for mailers.”

The technology-driven company has also created a proprietary app for agents and consumers, and said its mobile app is the No. 1 downloaded and top rated real estate app in New York.

Compass currently has a total of 300 agents. The firm was sued in March by the Corcoran Group, which had been hemorrhaging agents to Compass, for allegedly “brazenly and intentionally” raiding key Corcoran offices. In April, Compass accused Corcoran, in counterclaims filed in New York Supreme Court, of launching a smear campaign against its former agents, and in doing so, hurting their business and delivering a “thinly veiled threat” to others considering a move to Compass.

Formerly called Urban Compass, the real estate brokerage dropped the “Urban” earlier this year, after launching in 2013 and raising more than $70 million in funding.

Its first foray outside of New York City came in November, when it opened its office in Washington, D.C. after acquiring Lindsay Reishman Real Estate, the sixth largest brokerage in the city at the time. Since then, the Washington, D.C. operation has grown by 275 percent to more than 80 agents.

In all, the firm said it currently holds $1 billion in exclusive listings, $2.5 billion in its new development pipeline and has more than 15,000 sales and rental listings displayed on the site.