Independent contractors can be brand-loyal, as long as you provide them the tools they want. Just look at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, where three top producers left eight months ago to join Compass — but have now returned to their real estate roots.

  • Vera Nelson, Peggy Bray and Nicole Bray of the Bray Real Estate Team are back at Coldwell Banker after just eight months at Compass.
  • Compass recently launched in San Francisco with elite agents from other national real estate brands and has built a reputation for aggressive recruiting efforts.

Despite arguments to the contrary, an announcement today proves that independent contractors can be brand-loyal.

Three top producers — Vera Nelson, Peggy Bray and Nicole Bray of the Bray Real Estate Team — have just returned to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Pasadena office after leaving eight months ago to join Compass in Los Angeles.

Coldwell Banker

Nicole Bray / Coldwell Banker

Coldwell Banker

Peggy Bray / Coldwell Banker

Coldwell Banker

Vera Nelson / Coldwell Banker

Peggy Bray falls in the top 6 percent of sales associates at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, while Vera Nelson ranks in the top 12 percent.

The three agents said in statements that they consider the Coldwell Banker team close to their hearts, mentioning company-wide initiatives, commitment and influence as opportunities to thrive in the business.

“I want the best for my clients and myself, and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, with its legacy of more than 100 years, integrity, history, innovation and stability, is the answer,” Peggy Bray said in a statement. “They are my second family.”

“Vera, Peggy, and Nicole were presented an opportunity that they could not refuse,” said Compass in a statement.

“At Compass, we remain focused on providing the best support, marketing and collaborative culture for our agents, and are fortunate to maintain a 99 percent agent retention rate.”

Coldwell Banker welcomes agents back with open arms

Coldwell Banker operates more than 87 offices with 5,548 independent sales associates throughout Southern California and nearby Arizona. Given the company size and structure, there are no apparent hard feelings between management and the three returning associates.

Joe Mamone, regional vice president of the inland region in Greater Los Angeles, says the homecoming represents Coldwell Banker’s ability to nurture and cultivate agent aspirations.

“They specifically pointed to our powerful state-of-the-art tools, marketing, programs and products that enable affiliated associates to deliver exceptional results for clients, and our top-notch support staff, which are key to elevate their success,” he stated in a release.

Compass recruiting

Recently announcing a a $1 billion-plus valuation, Compass is known for aggressive recruiting tactics to expand its presence in new markets, which were evident when it opened a new San Francisco office with several top-producing agents aboard from Coldwell Banker and Sotheby’s International Realty. The office has added at least 18 new real estate agents from other firms since opening last week.

Why are the agents leaving? Compass believes its brand and technology are key reasons, but others point to incentives such as high commissions up-front and big signing bonuses. Brian Boero, partner at real estate marketing firm 1000watt, questioned the sustainability of Compass’ recruiting tactics:

“I live in the Bay Area, and my wife is an agent here, so I’m hearing all the rumors and buzz:

$500,000 signing bonuses for a couple of agent whales.

A cool million for a mega-team. 

Stock options galore.

Promises of support and coddling that would make a pop diva blush.

A dazzling spectacle. On the flip side, I hear that the tech looks great but is hardly revolutionary. I know an agent who signed with Compass in L.A. only because she was planning to retire in a year and wanted to stack as much paper as she could on her way out,” he wrote.

However, Compass CEO Robert Refkin says it’s the company vibe that attracts new employees, previously stating that its “strategic advantage when expanding into new markets by focusing on culture and selectively choosing some of the most talented and collaborative agents in the market.”

Launched in New York City in 2013, Compass claims over 900 agents and has expanded in the last 18 months to Washington D.C., Miami, Boston, the Hamptons, Cambridge, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Pasadena, Santa Barbara San Francisco and Aspen.

Email Jennifer Riner

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