NEW YORK — Inman’s independent broker survey revealed that a big factor behind the current boom in unaffiliated firms is the freedom broker-owners have to pursue their business and adapt to changing conditions as they see fit.

An open office floor plan is one way that freedom and entrepreneurial spirit shines through at three firms representing independent brokerages at Real Estate Connect.

Raj Qsar, owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group, a 35-agent firm based in Southern California, doesn’t have his own office. He said the brokerage’s open floor plan cultivates a vibe of collaboration and increases transparency with agents, clients and vendors.

Raj Qsar.

Raj Qsar

The result is a family feel that helps the firm attract the right agents and fosters loyalty, Qsar said.

Los Angeles-based Partners Trust, which has 175 agents in eight offices, has a similar office philosophy, the firm’s co-founder, F. Ron Smith, shared. One of the firm’s core office tenets is “no locked doors,” he said.

That openness allows Partners Trust to instill its culture into its agents, increase peer-to-peer learning and foster a cooperative feel that bleeds into agents’ interactions with their clients, he added.

Ron Smith.

F. Ron Smith

“Clients want the human touch,” Smith said. “So do agents.”

Susana Murphy, founder and CEO of 10-agent, Plymouth, Massachusetts-based Alante Real Estate, also doesn’t have her own office.

Not only does the open floor plan facilitate greater communication between colleagues, it showcases to clients and prospective clients the team behind the agent, the indie broker leaders said.

As Inman’s special report showed, independent brokers tend to have a lower agent-to-staff ratio than their franchised counterparts — something an open floor plan allows them to show off.

Susanna Murphy

Susana Murphy

When visitors and clients first visit her firm’s office, Murphy said she gives them a tour and introduces them to her four-person support staff.

Showing the strength of her team helps Murphy drive home the point to potential clients that the “power of the team always outdoes the individual.”

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