Connect Realty, a full-service brokerage headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, has grown to about 1,200 agents since its first transaction in January 2008. That bucks an industry-downsizing trend: The National Association of Realtors has reported that its membership has fallen about 16.5 percent from January 2008 to April 2010, which represents a loss of about 212,900 members. The brokerage operates on a combination of mostly virtual offices, high commission splits to agents, a low-cost technology package, and a revenue-sharing program that encourages agents to recruit their peers without regard to geographic location. The brokerage currently has operations in 14 states, though its agents are mostly concentrated in half of them: California, Washington, Texas, Florida, Arizona and the Carolinas. Late last month, the mostly virtually based brokerage announced plans to enhance its presence in several more markets in those states this year, starting with Southe...
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