Real, a virtual brokerage, is drawing agents by offering app, high commission splits and radical independence

Real offers favorable commission splits and radical independence to agents, but no offices
  • Real has grown quickly by offering favorable commission splits, radical independence and a powerful app to its agents -- office not included.
  • The brokerage's app offers a CRM, MLS search, accounting and CMA tools and community chat rooms for agents to get help from colleagues, among other things.
  • Real thinks it's the answer to the purportedly diminishing appeal of traditional brokerages to agents, but it remains to be seen whether the firm will have widespread appeal to agents.

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Jon Hom, a Houston-based real estate agent, does a lot of business in Starbucks. That's because his brokerage doesn't have an office. Which partly explains why he hasn't met his broker in person. "It's like an episode of Cheers," he said, referring to the American sitcom that was set in a Boston bar where locals gathered to socialize. When he's camped out in the coffee shop, he fills out paperwork, consults with clients and explains his business to people who ask. Jon Hom When choosing which brokerage firm to join, Hom decided to become an agent at Real. Having raised $7.2 million in funding, the New York City-based brokerage is betting that offering agents favorable commission splits, a powerful mobile app and radical independence will more than make up for not providing workspace. Operating in 12 states under licenses held by two brokers, Real has hoovered up more than 350 agents since launching about a year ago and expects to claim a force of 1,000 ...