NEW YORK — When Vanessa Bergmark, along with a partner, bought independent Oakland, Calif.-based brokerage Red Oak Realty in 2009, she worried that the changes she planned would turn off the firm’s 69 agents, some of whom had been with the brokerage since its inception 35 years ago.

But the firm took the plunge and got rid of desks, desk phones, desktops and paper, making everyone use DocuSign and SureClose to manage their deals. Instead of desks, the firm’s agents work at a 14-foot-long redwood table designed for collaboration.

Before making the change, she monitored her agents for six months and discovered they really did not use their desks as much as they thought. So, lo and behold, when the desks went, the agents did not revolt.

“They realized that that’s what they wanted as well, and it was a better space,” Bergmark told Inman News.

Her advice to other brokers considering upgrading their office space? “Pull the Band-Aid off. If you know your agents and you’re taking good care of them, they’re going to know that, and it’s worth taking the risk.”

Red Oak is planning a similar upgrade to its second office in Berkeley soon.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription