Compass announced on Tuesday plans to take over Pacific Northwest real estate brokerage Avenue Properties. With the move, Compass drastically expands its agent count in the market up to 225.
“Avenue is well-known across Seattle for their client service, luxury offering and expert marketing, making them an ideal partner for Compass,” said Robert Reffkin, founder, and CEO of Compass in a statement. “Their local roots, paired with our technology gives us a strong platform to deepen our presence in Seattle and beyond.”
Avenue Properties reported 815 transactions in 2017, according to the brokerage’s website.
While not technically an “acquisition” — Compass said that Avenue Properties is “joining” Compass — the move will bring all of Avenue Properties’ 200-plus agents and staff under Compass’ fold, and gives Compass control of Avenue Properties’ four offices in the greater Seattle area. The offices will be rebranded as Compass in the coming weeks, all staffers will remain, according to Compass.
Avenue Properties two offices in Oregon are not part of the deal and will remain as Avenue Properties, according to a spokesperson for Compass.
The deal is expected to close at the end of the month, but both parties declined to discuss financials. At the Inman Connect San Francisco real estate conference in July, Reffkin said Compass pays the broker-owners of the brokerages it acquires between four to six times its yearly earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), depending on the size of the acquisition.
Avenue Properties was founded in 2016 by Bob Bennion, Bob Deville, Tere Foster, Moya Skillman, Mary P. Snyder and Evan Wyman, all six of who were previously with their now-rival, the luxury giant Windermere Real Estate.
“Our partnership team sees this as an incredible opportunity for all parties,” Deville told Inman, by email. “Our broad footprint of high-producing agents and strategically located offices gives Compass an unmatched platform to continue to grow in the robust Seattle market.”
Bennion, in a statement, added that Compass’ focus on arming its agents with world-class technology, marketing and support echoes the service Avenue Properties has strived to provide its own agents since founding the company.
“Joining Compass’ impressive Seattle area team and national network of luxury brokers give our agents a once in a lifetime chance to drive the future of our industry here in Seattle, and nationwide,” added Bennion.
Bennion and Deville are also the team behind Bennion Deville Homes in the California desert. The duo sued Windermere Real Estate over lack of support and allegations the company tried to ruin them financially as they tried to expand Windermere into the desert, but ultimately a judge ruled in favor of Windermere, who counter-sued, according to The Seattle Times.
Since breaking off from Windermere in Southern California, Bennion Deville Homes has grown to over 1,000 real estate professionals and more than $6.6 billion in sales. It’s not part of the Compass merger and will continue to operate independently in the Coachella Valley.
Windermere Real Estate is the second largest regional franchise in the United States, according to the Real Trends 500 ranking and Windermere and Compass have already publicly traded jabs over marketshare claims, so the two will be in stiff competition for listings.
The area is also home to a number of other big time brokerages and franchisors, like John L. Scott, which closed more than 16,000 transactions in 2017 according to Real Trends; Redfin, which closed 37,500 according to the Swanepoel 1000 and eXp Realty, whose agents closed 24,655 transaction in 2017, according to Real Trends. Compass first arrived in Seattle and Bellevue in Spring 2018.
To assist with the company’s Pacific Northwest growth and the move, Compass has announced the hiring of Todd Edebohls as General Manager of Greater Seattle. Prior to joining Compass, Edebohls served as chief customer officer and senior vice president of corporate development of CLEAR, ran Business Development at ZocDoc and worked at Amazon for nearly 10 years, leading business development.
Compass has expanded rapidly in 2018, reaching new markets and gobbling up indie brokerages in its quest for 20 percent of market share in the top 20 markets, per its stated goal in late 2017. The company says it wants to be in every major U.S. city and aims to open 70 new offices this year, fueled by over half a billion in venture capital funding on a multibillion dollar valuation.
To that end, the tech-focused brokerage, founded in 2012 in New York City by Reffkin and Ori Allon, has opened offices in a number of new markets, in addition to Seattle, this year, including: Philadelphia, Naples, San Diego, Tahoe, Dallas. Compass has further acquired Conlon Real Estate and The Hudson Company, both in Chicago; P.S. Platinum in San Diego, Paragon Real Estate Group in San Francisco; and ICS Realty in Aventura, Florida.
On its website, Compass also lists Atlanta as a market. Jere Metcalf, is the only listed broker for the Atlanta market. She has several luxury listings in the Atlanta area near or above $1 million.
At Inman Connect San Francisco, Compass also unveiled a new high-tech, solar powered, circular real estate sign that pushes notifications to smartphones, and a plan to license its tech to other indie brokerages, though the first such licensing deal promptly fell apart, reportedly due to resistance from Compass agents.
Update: The original version of the story also said that Compass would be taking over Avenue Properties’ two Oregon offices. That information provided by a spokesperson for Avenue Properties was incorrect.