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Broker Spotlight: Ryan Carter, 8z Real Estate

Title: President 

Location: Denver, Colorado 

Brokerage: 8z Real Estate

Team size: 170 Agents 

Transaction sides: 3,004 in 2021 

Sales volume: $1.8 billion in 2021

Awards: Managing Broker of The Year by Denver Metro Association of Realtors 2020

Why Ryan Carter is in the spotlight

Colorado brokerage 8z Real Estate made a first-of-its-kind pivot in 2019 when it created a partner program for top producers to become full-time W2 employees who earn a small salary, have healthcare benefits, a 401K with company match, profit-sharing and an ownership stake in the brokerage.

Ryan Carter is the president of 8z, the only employee-owned residential real estate brokerage. We reached out to learn a little more about Carter. Here’s what he had to say. 

What are 5 things readers should know?

  1. 8z is different. We are not following any traditional brokerage playbook. 
  2. 8z is an ESOP organization that has a Partner Program, which brings agents into ownership of the organization. 
  3. We believe that homeownership is the strongest upward social mobility engine there is today, and we are committed to increasing homeownership and positively impacting more communities. 
  4. At 8z, we commit to partnering with agents to support them to not only achieve excellence in their career, but we are also committed to partnering with them to enhance their life holistically as a person.
  5. Lastly, I am completely obsessed and in love with the organization I lead, the people I get to work with, and every agent that I can impact at 8z. 

How did you get your start in real estate?

I originally obtained my license in 2005 to sell a personal fix-and-flip property, then quickly realized I had a passion for real estate.

At the time, I was just out of graduate school and working as a small business development consultant in a corporate environment. That “job” and the corporate vibes felt very disconnected to who I was as a person.

Specifically, I felt my work and my personal life had to be very compartmentalized. A stark contrast to that was the feeling that I could more authentically blend myself, my personal life and my work as a real estate agent.

So, I jumped off the corporate paycheck cliff and began to build a full-time business in real estate. I first built a successful personal business, then built a high-performing team within 8z Real Estate, finally becoming the president in 2019 and working to drive the growth of the organization. 

Tell us about a high point in your brokerage career. How did you get there?

There are two high points in my brokerage career that I would like to share. First, becoming president of 8z in 2019 was an incredible high point. It was a defining moment for me, knowing that I could continue to grow as a leader and had the opportunity to impact something much larger than me.

Plus, I got there pretty organically. I was leading a smaller team at the time and had achieved success with them. I then naturally began to gravitate toward a broader leadership path in the organization, and it was clear that I could make a difference at a larger scale. 

A second incredible high point in my brokerage career was being named the 2020 Managing Broker of the Year by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. This was a big one for me. I was nominated by the agents on my original team, which meant so much to me.

Leading that team really made me who I am in my career. It allowed me to build something beyond my personal business and impact others. Being a part of their great success, and being recognized as such by them, was pretty special. 

What makes a good leader?

A good leader is this perfect intersection of being very self-confident, whilst being selfless at the same time. Strong leadership requires the confidence to make good and sometimes difficult decisions. The confidence to have a vision that you drive to achieve.

However, the real magic; (at least for me) is doing it all for people beyond yourself. I do not think I would be as good of a leader if I did not have the broader mission of impacting the clients we serve by increasing homeownership, the growth of our agents, the communities we serve, and the organization as a whole.

A last key ingredient in good leadership is empathy and a strong emotional IQ. Leadership is about people, the ability to connect with, empathize with and understand people is critical to being a good leader. 

What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?

Real Estate is not a side hustle or something that should be done part-time, or half-assed. Real estate has a real impact on people’s lives, and thus requires true industry experts. If you are not committed to excellence, putting your clients first, and being good at what you do — don’t do it. 

Know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Broker Spotlight? Nominations, please, to

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