The nation’s no. 1 real estate team by sales volume has entered a new league as a full-fledged brokerage.

Having earned the top slot on the 2010, 2011 and 2017 Real Trends’ rankings, the Baltimore area’s successful Creig Northrop Team needed more room to grow and had reached the five-office ceiling for teams at its brokerage, Long & Foster Real Estate. Northrop and his team, which he started in 2000, will continue to operate as part of Long & Foster, a large mid-Atlantic player that was acquired by HomeServices of America in September but still operates under its own name.

Last year, the Northrop team, which serves Maryland and Washington, D.C., booked $800 million in sales volume and 1,772 transactions with 100 agents, and when Northrop wanted to give his agents more opportunities to grow out of state, he approached the leadership team and Jeffrey Detwiler, CEO and president of the Long & Foster Companies, parent company of Long & Foster Real Estate.

“We had to sit down and talk about finding a way to keep growing,” Northrop told Inman.

He could have opted to branch out on his own, but the team leader, who appreciates the strength of a good brand, wanted to keep his association with the well known Long & Foster name and with its international affiliate, Christie’s International Real Estate. The brokerage will be known as Northrop Realty, a Long & Foster company.

“Helping our agents build their real estate businesses is at the center of our culture at Long & Foster,” said Detwiler in a press statement. “Our agent-first approach enabled Creig to not only to build his successful team, but also to now establish a full-service brokerage as a member of the Long & Foster companies.”

As broker-owner, Northrop will lead the business of 100 agents and 40 staff with his wife Carla. With five offices in cities including Annapolis and Clarksville, the business owner plans to open additional offices next in Washington, D.C.; Delaware; Virginia and Pennsylvania.

“Our goal is to create the next no. 1 team in the nation,” said Northrop, who is also launching NorthropU, a formal and complementary training program for Northrop Realty agents to bring them sales tools, culture and coaching opportunities. Also, in partnership with the Frederick Academy of Real Estate, an accredited leader in pre-licensing and continuing education,  Northrop Realty will host continuing education and pre-licensing classes to help “shape the next generation of real estate.” The idea is that by equipping his agents with all they need — relocation sources, technology, photography, social media tools, their own CRM and complementary staging — his associates will be able to focus on selling.

Northrop will take an incentivized approach to the commission splits he offers. “People should be rewarded by the volume you do,” said the broker, who was the youngest to receive the Billionaire’s Club Award in 2014 at the age of 47, an honor given to agents who sell $1 billion of real estate in their career.

Northrop will continue to sell real estate himself because, as he puts it: “I can’t teach what I don’t do, that’s why I call it ‘player’s coach.’ I help them achieve, it’s time to give back,” he said. “I can criticize agents because I am one.”

“There’s not a lot of lead by example, but there is a lot of leading by words,” he added.

Email Gill South.

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