Joe Kehrig, the leader of a $100 million sales team in Northern California, is taking his six-person team to Coldwell Banker after more than a year at Compass. Kehrig and his team members were among the more than 1,000 agents that joined Compass when it acquired Pacific Union International Realty in 2018.
After bouncing around a bit in the early parts of his career, Kehrig eventually founded his own brokerage, which he sold to a local Prudential franchisee in 1999. That franchisee eventually become a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate franchisee, where Kehrig hung his license for a while, before jumping to Pacific Union, a brokerage at which he had hoped to finish out the remainder of his career.
“Of course I was approached by Compass, as a lot of agents were, but I felt my loyalties were to Pacific Union,” Kehrig told Inman. “Then, of course, a year ago, Compass bought Pacific Union and unlike a lot of agents that just jumped ship right away, I sat there and said, ‘Hey, you know what, let’s give it a go. Let’s give it a try and see if our values and our vision kind of align.'”
Kehrig admitted the acquisition was one that caught him by surprise, but he sat down with Compass CEO Robert Reffkin. At that time, Kehrig decided to go to Compass, but kept his options open and began looking at other brokerages.
The idea of missing out on a big signing bonus wasn’t the impetus behind his decision to leave, as it had been for many other frustrated agents. However, it caused some frustration because, after Compass bought the company and its agents, it was still recruiting agents from other brokerages.
“I could have walked across the street to Keller Williams and had them buy me back,” Kehrig said.
“[Compass] tried to make it right for us and definitely there are incentives for the top agents and stuff like that,” he added.
After slightly more than a year with Compass, Kehrig decided to make the switch to Coldwell Banker, a brokerage that hadn’t even been on his radar.
“Once I started checking into it, I was really surprised,” Kehrig said. “What Coldwell Banker used to be is not what it is today.”
Coldwell Banker didn’t have a huge footprint in Danville, California, a suburb about 25 miles east of San Francisco. And Kehrig said he was blown away when he started investigating the brokerage.
Specifically, Kehrg said he liked how agent-centric the company was. When he joined Pacific Union, his team was just he and his three sons, but at Pacific Union, the marketing materials were more about the brokerage. Kehrig said it was the same way at Compass.
“This business has gone from broker-centric to agent-centric, to consumer-centric and Coldwell Banker understood that it’s about the agent, it’s not about the brokerage, so they allow the agents to start building their own image,” Kehrig said. “We’re all excited just being able to put a color — besides grey and black — on our business cards and signs.”
Kehrig believes Coldwell Banker’s evolution is the result of the influence of Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider and Coldwell Banker CEO Ryan Gorman.
Compass declined to comment on Kehrig’s departure, but a source at the company pointed to the company’s Bay Area recruiting numbers for the month of January, citing the addition of 23 teams and 49 agents, including six new agents in San Francisco.