ZipRealty to shutter offices in 11 markets

Company will emphasize agent expertise over discounts

ZipRealty Inc. is closing company owned and operated brokerages in almost a dozen markets, and will begin emphasizing personalized service and the experience of its agents over the commission rebates and discounted listing fees the company was founded on.

The restructuring and organizational changes announced Monday — which also include a local referral agreement in the Atlanta market, a first for the company — are aimed at helping the brokerage "achieve positive cash flow" in 2011, the company said.

"It’s a tough decision to pull out of any markets," said Charles "Lanny" Baker, who took over as ZipRealty’s CEO and president, on Oct. 2. "We loved working with the agents in those markets, but our assumptions for growth in those markets had not been met."

The company says it will close offices in 11 markets that accounted for about 13 percent of the company’s revenue in 2010, and which were a collective drag on the company’s bottom line.