Realty Austin, the largest independent brokerage in its namesake city, announced Wednesday that it has acquired a smaller also-independent competitor, creating a massive agency with many hundreds of agents in the Texas capital.
In a statement, Realty Austin said its acquisition of Reilly Realtors should give it 10 percent of the market in Austin. Realty Austin currently has about 450 agents, while Reilly Realtors — described in the statement as the third largest independent brokerage in the city — employs about 150. The newly joined brokerages will operate under the Realty Austin brand.
Michael Reilly, owner of Reilly Realtors, told Inman in a phone conversation that he and Realty Austin co-owner Jonathan Boatwright have known each other for more than a decade and decided to merge their companies after recently discussing “ways we could work together, because we were both facing the same challenges.”
“What they offer agents in terms of an end-to-end sales and marketing platform, I don’t see it out there,” he continued. “Realty Austin was the only place in town where I could say to my agents, ‘We’re upgrading.'”
Boatwright told Inman that his company and Reilly Realtors share a number of similarities when it comes to culture and business practices. Both focus on experienced full-time agents, for example, and both have invested heavily in their own technology. He also touted the brokerages’ independence, saying it allows them to be more innovative and create a stronger local brand than they could as franchises.
“We’re happy really focusing our expansion on the Austin market where we have a strong brand already,” Boatwright added.
Boatwright, a former IT professional, founded Realty Austin with his wife Yvette Boatwright in 2004. Today, the brokerage claims $2.85 billion in annual sales. A statement from the company explains that it was the “first brokerage in Austin to harness the power of the internet to grow their agent’s business, and in 2006 was one of the first brokerages in the U.S. to leverage Salesforce CRM to make their agents more productive.”
Realty Austin now operates out of six offices and Boatwright said the brokerage has the “most productive agents per unit” in Austin.
Reilly Realtors was also founded by a husband-wife duo; Michael and Shae Reilly formed the brokerage in 2006. According to a company statement, Reilly Realtors now has “over $500 million in annual sales.”
Both Jonathan Boatwright and Michael Reilly acknowledged that the real estate industry is undergoing rapid changes, particularly related to technology. However, they also said that their brokerages have a track record of innovation that will allow them to succeed, with Reilly adding of the merger that “we decided we were better together.”
“Our pitch,” he added, “is that we believe there’s a role for a super agent. Someone who is backed by powerful technology.”