A pair of real estate leaders debated new brokerage models Tuesday during Connect Now and concluded that top-producers may need something unconventional.

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In an era of disruption, the real estate world is increasingly being sorted into two camps.

“You’re either discount cheap,” Guy Gal, founder and CEO of  San Francisco brokerage Side, recently said. “You either charge nothing and you provide nothing. Or you’re super premium, and you actually create a great deal of value for the people you’re working with.”

Gal made the comments during a Tuesday session of Inman Connect Now dubbed “New and Exciting Alternatives for Growing your Business.” During the session, Gal explained that his company acts as the broker of record for agents across the country. However, unlike a conventional brokerage, those agents own their own businesses and brands, while Side merely takes care of the back office and helps them grow.

Guy Gal at Tuesday’s Inman Connect Now. Credit: Inman

Side recently raised $150 million and achieved a billion-dollar valuation, despite only being four years old and only operating in three states. Gal said during Connect Now that he plans to expand into New York by next year, and that his company is signing contracts with 30 to 40 agents each month.

In any case, though, he also argued that whatever model agents choose to work with, “we’re now at a point in the world where theres no more room for mediocre.” And he suggested top producing agents will always be in demand.

“The tech companies need top-performing agents more than top-performing agents need the tech companies,” Gal said.

Michelle Kim, owner of Mosaik Real Estate in San Francisco, also appeared during the session. Mosaik is one of the companies that Side powers, and Kim praised Gal’s startup as something that allowed her to significantly increase her business and its reach. This year, in fact, Mosaik has already done $116 million in transaction volume — a company best.

Michelle Kim at Tuesday’s Inman Connect Now. Credit: Inman

Kim ultimately said that for newer agents, going with a traditional brokerage can be a useful first move.

“It makes sense to go to a larger brokerage because they have the new agent training,” she explained.

For agents that become top-producers, however, needs change and going with an unconventional option such as Side can mean more and better customized support. And in her case opting for Side means she gets to operate her own business while still having all the help she needs.

“I own Mosaik,” she concluded. “That is the number one differentiator. But they’re constantly checking in on us. They want to make sure we’re on the trajectory to attain our goals.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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