It’s never been a more interesting or exacting time to be an indie broker. In November, Inman celebrates the indie by narrowing in on what growth tactics are working best and what tech is emerging that offers the best competitive advantage.
Peter Lorimer, the self-proclaimed “pirate of real estate,” has spent the past years being fiercely indie and allergic to corporate culture. Wednesday, he announced that his 200-agent brokerage, PLG Estates, will be joining Corcoran Global Living, the massive West Coast-based Corcoran franchise.
It’s a move he likened to changing his pirate ship to a battleship, but he’s still the captain as an equal owner.
“Over the years, we have been courted by everyone and their mother to absorb, assimilate, buyout, buy the agents, whatever, a million things, and I have never ever been interested,” Lorimer told Inman.
“When [Corcoran Global Living CEO] Michael Mahon came along, I was skeptical at first,” Lorimer added. “I was like, here comes another one.”
But when the two actually met, Lorimer realized that the reason Mahon wanted PLG Estates to join Corcoran was because of what he had done with the indie brand.
Lorimer recalled Mahon telling him, “We don’t want to change your indie brand of PLG. We want to partner with you. We can bring the big guns.”
“I can keep doing what I want in the merry old way I’ve been doing it, the social media, the flavor,” Lorimer said. “Naturally, we’re going to, and proud to, adopt a new banner because it’s a banner that I believe in and if I didn’t believe in it I wouldn’t be doing it.”
The move comes at a time of consolidation in the real estate market, with major indies joining larger brands. But Lorimer was clear that “fear of a corporate takeover” was not an impetus for the move, rather he just simply wanted to do what was best for his agents.
Since launching PLG Estates in 2010, the Northstar that guides all of Lorimer’s decisions has been, “will this benefit my agents.” Lorimer has put together the company’s support staff and tech with that mantra in mind, but felt now was a good time to get his agents even more help.
“I put together, through various vendors, awesome tech and awesome support, I have great people that have worked with me for years, but I could feel that I was getting to maximum capacity,” Lorimer added. “And so, do I expand on my own or do I align with someone whose brand I really like?”
Lorimer said the final nail for joining Corcoran was the company’s branding, which he called “beautiful,” and said he believes it’s the best out there, “by a mile.”
The move gives Corcoran Global Living a presence in the Los Angeles market, after initially launching in San Francisco with the mass affiliation of Zephyr Real Estate and in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area with Oliver Luxury Real Estate. Lorimer believes the combined forces of Corcoran Global Living and PLG Estates gives the market something it’s missing in a competitive market.
“I think there’s a gaping hole in the Los Angeles market,” Lorimer said. “I think there are a lot of companies out there, there are lots of options, but there is a very distinct flavor that we will be bringing to the table that is very L.A. and will be extremely attractive.”
With the addition of PLG Estates and its 200 agents, Corcoran Global Living now boasts an agent base of more than 1,000 agents at 34 offices in California and Nevada, with a combined annual sales volume north of $5 billion. The company only launched in January and was the first Corcoran franchise.
“This is a milestone we are incredibly excited to reach, and we’re very proud to finally establish ourselves in the dynamic L.A. region,” Mahon said in a statement. “We’ve accomplished truly significant expansion in this first year as Corcoran Global Living, particularly in California, and I can’t wait to see how our newest associates work with our wider network to deliver the best possible client service.”