Here are 5 takeaways from TRD’s deep dive into Eklund-Gomes’ national expansion

The star Douglas Elliman team’s plan to build an empire across the US but doesn’t plan to split with the company.

Sep.September 04, 2019 05:30 PM
Fredrik Eklund (left), Julia Spillman and John Gomes (Photo by Guerin Blask)

Fredrik Eklund (left), Julia Spillman and John Gomes (Photo by Guerin Blask)

It’s been more than a decade since Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes first crossed paths.

In the years since, the Douglas Elliman star agents have been among the top producers in New York, where they have built a following and fan base through appearances on “Million Dollar Listing.”

Last year, their team closed more than $720 million in sell-side deals across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, making them tops in The Real Deal’s annual ranking of broker teams. Nationwide, they claim to have closed about $1.5 billion in sales nationwide. Over the past 24 months, the Eklund-Gomes team has been in expansion mode, adding four new offices in three U.S. cities and grew its team from nine agents to more than 64.

With Eklund’s recent relocation to Los Angeles, and an expansion into L.A. and Miami, the dream team is placing some big bets on their future. Read on for the top 5 takeaways from The Real Deal’s September issue cover story.

1. Eklund has a very Hollywood side gig. Sigge Eklund, Fredrik’s brother, is a best-selling author in Sweden who has also recently relocated to Beverly Hills. The brothers Eklund are apparently writing screenplays together — and while Fredrik declined to comment on the plot, he confirmed that a major studio is reviewing the script.

2. The go-forward strategy of divide and conquer. Following Eklund’s July announcement via Instagram that he would be relocating his family from Tribeca to Los Angeles, Gomes is now taking the lead in New York. “It’s my base to cover,” Gomes said. “His base is Los Angeles.” Julia Spillman, the Eklund-Gomes team CEO and the “mastermind” behind the expansion, will run daily operations including hiring and budget decisions. At the same time, the team will continue to grow nationally: It’s expected to reach 70 agents by early September, with another 30 more in the months to come.

3. How they’ll tackle Los Angeles. In the past year, L.A. County saw $6.8 billion in condo sales, compared to $20 billion in Manhattan co-ops and condos alone during the same time period. “Vertical living is finally happening here,” Eklund said in his Instagram post about moving to L.A. He also he planned to go after luxury home listings. The team also said it had closed 40 deals since launching there last fall. But Gomes and Eklund have scrambled to learn the market over the past year, saying they’ve spent “hundreds of thousands on flights” going back and forth between coasts.

4. Co-listing and referral fees factor into Miami and L.A. growth. Eklund and Gomes deny being fed business from Douglas Elliman or Howard Lorber. ”More than 90 percent of our new development business comes from our own clients,” Gomes said. They will now be working with partners to find a foothold, and are offering to take over listings for Elliman and non-Elliman agents in exchange for 25 to 30 percent referral fees. According to Pietro Belmonte, who runs the teams seven-agent Miami office, they’ll be going in 50-50 on co-listings as well.

5. This is not the beginning of a breakup. Both brokers said the expansion or changes do not reflect an intention to part ways with Elliman. The pair added they have been offered — and declined — “millions” to move their team to another firm. Gomes said that he has been approached by executives, from Corcoran Group CEO Pam Liebman to Ori Allon at Compass. Eklund, better known for his star power, says he has not fielded comparable offers.

Bottom line: “We do not have any interest whatsoever in starting our own real estate firm,” Gomes said. “We have the support of Douglas Elliman, they figure out all the infrastructure, [and] we follow them. I can tell you, we’re retiring at this firm.”

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