- Getting together with another top producer can work if you have complementary markets and expertise.
- Luxury millennial buyers want all the facts and figures on their properties and appreciate honesty.
- Millennial luxury buyers are concerned about the land value of their property.
What do you do when you are competing with another top producer in the office, taking it in turns to win the No. 1 sales spot?
In the case of Dallas-based Christy Berry and Jonathan Rosen, both executive vice presidents at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, they decided to pool their resources and start their own team, The Rosen Berry Real Estate Group, at the company.
Sometimes these high-level partnerships can be doomed if the personalities don’t gel — but Berry and Rosen are different enough that they are making it work.
Rosen, 36, does a lot on the new development side in Dallas, while Berry, 59, with a PhD in Family Studies, has a steady flow of business from buyers and sellers thanks to her connections with local families.
The decision to team up in January came from a desire to keep growing and offer the service required. With another agent, they have a seven-strong team, including a market brand specialist — Berry’s daughter, Ali.
“The business is going more this way. You just can’t do it by yourself any more if you want to do the volumes. And you can’t deliver the level of service,” said Berry.
Briggs Freeman, which claims to be the oldest privately held real estate boutique in Dallas, with more than 250 associates in six offices, has been supportive.
“They want us to do well,” said Rosen.
Winning more business together than apart
The two top agents are finding that they are winning more business together than they would have individually, and their sales figures are reflecting this already.
Each with around 10 years in the business, Rosen and Berry did a combined total of $130 million in sales last year. So far this year, they’ve done $70 million, more than half of their last year’s total in just five months, a total of 55 transactions.
“We are definitely doing more volume. We have had a couple of developments come to fruition that we had been working on for a while and that’s created some opportunities for clients,” said Rosen.
They have 35 to 40 listings at the moment in their busiest markets of Preston Hollow, Devonshire, University Park, Highland Park and Bluffview.
“That’s a lot more than usual. We can handle more because of the team,” said Rosen.
“Together, we have not lost any opportunities. We are pretty much getting everything that we have gone for,” he added.
Carving out a niche for luxury millennial buyers
Meanwhile, with their combined knowledge and client base, Rosen Berry are carving out a niche catering to the younger and more affluent buyer in their markets.
For Berry, many of her luxury millennial clients are the children of her established clients or referrals from them.
“I like the generational thing. It’s really fun and interesting to help the parents and the children,” she said.
Many of these upwardly mobile young couples have made their money by starting their own companies, inheriting, or they work in hedge funds or in the oil and gas industry.
“A lot of them have been away and are coming back home,” added Rosen.
What luxury millennial buyers want
These affluent millennial buyers are an interesting group — sometimes misunderstood, said Berry.
“There’s a bit of a stigma around the idea that they think they know everything, but once you engage with them, you find that they’re much less emotional than they let on,” said Berry.
“They’ve done the math, the research, the works, and they come to you asking if it’s going to be a good investment. We love being able to help this generation of buyers and offer a different perspective that comes with our experience in the business.”
One of the key concerns of her millennial clients is that the property has enough land — because that is where they see the value. They are tech-savvy and like to use spreadsheets when considering if a home ticks all the boxes. Price per square foot is a key figure they like to measure.
“They are so value-driven,” said Berry.
“One client said she chose me because I was the only one who had been honest enough to say the market was having a dip,” said Berry.
Many of her millennial clients are either pregnant or planning families, she said. However, they tend to want a home smaller than their parents had.
“The norm is they are having two or three children,” said Rosen.
Offering a variety of solutions to millennial clients
Rosen’s millennial buyers like the open plan concept and minimalist feel of the contemporary homes he is marketing through his developer clients. They like the pool tiles and man-made countertops often seen in new homes.
If looking at apartments, they like rooftop decks.
Berry finds some of her millennial buyers still like more traditional, character homes, however.
“They don’t mind an older house because they can fix it up and make some money on it,” she said.
Rosen, with his background in development, can help these clients with renovation ideas.
“Jonathan is good at that. He will try and help them make decisions about the smartest places to make changes, where they can get the highest return on their investment,” said Berry.
This is how they want to work, sharing information and clients.
“This business can be so competitive, but when we became Rosen Berry, we became a whole team – one that shares clientele and deeply values collaboration,” said Berry.
“Our differences are what originally what brought us together, so we consider them to be strengths. It’s learning how to best cultivate and nurture those differences that allow us to stay ahead of the curve.”
The secret to combining two real estate businesses
Merging their businesses has not been the headache they were anticipating.
“To me, it’s been easier than I thought it would be. We were used to doing our own thing, but it’s just been so easy,” said Berry.
“It’s been much more seamless than I was expecting. Having a sounding board is something we all benefit from, no matter the industry, but in this business — it’s a beautiful thing,” added Rosen.
Communication is vital.
“We would talk five or six times a day — we meet every weekend in the office, the two of us, and then we meet with the team once a week. We are always talking so we are on the same page,” added Berry.
At their weekend meetings, they go over everything that they are trying to accomplish and discuss deals they are working on.
“While we appear to different markets because of age and specific strengths, putting deals together in-house is something that’s top priority. A lot of our headspace is spent thinking abstractly about how to best use our networks to better serve our clients and their families,” said Berry.
An example of this abstract thinking is Rosen, for instance, helping empty-nester clients buy land so they can build their own high-quality smaller homes because they are not finding what they want in the existing market.
Doing land deals in upmarket areas of Dallas is not insubstantial. In suburbs like Highland Park, a piece of land typically ranges from $1 million to $5 million.