In 2008 — on very the day the banks went down — real estate broker Orhan Tolu bought out his partners and began to build something extraordinary. At the time, he had 12 affiliated agents and was facing the potential collapse of the industry. Today, his CENTURY 21 Real Estate Alliance Group has almost 2000 full and part-time affiliated agents and continues to expand.
Talk about defying mediocrity.
So how did he do it? Obviously, through mergers and acquisitions, but how!? Throughout his climb, Orhan stayed true to three fundamental principles:
- Seize opportunities, especially in a downturn.
- Culture is critical.
- Have a powerful ally like the CENTURY 21® brand by your side.
1. Seize opportunities
When the bubble burst in 2008, Orhan knew other brokerages would be struggling and looking to merge or sell. And he knew the prices would be right. He seized the opportunity and added four offices and twenty agents. Between 2010-2016, he added 14 more offices. Over the years, he worked closely with the CENTURY 21 brand to continue looking for opportunities — and with the reputation he built, opportunities started looking for him. CENTURY 21 Hometown Realty in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara Counties. CENTURY 21 Peak in Los Angeles County. CENTURY 21 Everest in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The list of mergers and acquisitions continues to grow today.
2. Focus on culture
Every community has a culture, and so does every office. Orhan instinctively understands the importance of both. The Bay area is one of the most culturally diverse markets, so it made sense to recruit agents who were a cultural fit with their community. By 2010, Orhan’s affiliated agents could support clients in 20 different languages. Today, that number is over 40.
Orhan also understands the importance of office culture and goes to great lengths to make sure each new addition is a good fit. Before he makes an offer, he always goes for a visit. Has lunch with the owner. Gets a feel for the place. And if it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t happen.
Of course, once the deal is done, the real work begins. Orhan’s team has mastered the art of culture blending — bringing in the resources and providing learning opportunities their new agents need, helping them reach their potential and even blossom into stars.
3. Work with a powerful brand
Orhan is proud to be a part of “the most recognized and most respected brand in the real estate industry•,” and would be the first to tell you that none of this would have been possible without the enormous resources and support of the CENTURY 21® brand. The brand’s Franchise Sales team help identify potential partners. They help analyze each deal. They help with the process on almost every deal. They help with the transitions and guide through the onboarding process. Perhaps most importantly, they provide the experience and expertise to help Orhan, and others like him, achieve their dreams.
“At the CENTURY 21 brand, we understand the unique opportunity for growth available to brokers through Mergers & Acquisitions — especially during a challenging market,” says Greg Sexton, Chief Operating Officer, Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “But we also recognize that the process can be fraught with unique challenges and obstacles. Our team is focused on providing the resources, support and guidance to help CENTURY 21 affiliated brokers identify the right opportunities for their particular situation and make the journey to growth one that is seamless and delivers on their goals.”
When Orhan took over his office in 2008, they were the smallest CENTURY 21 franchised office in the Bay area. In one year, they were the largest in Northern California. This year, they should become the biggest in the entire state. And once they do, Orhan has his eyes on the whole country. We won’t be surprised when it happens.
Study Source: 2022 Ad Tracking Study. Particulars available on request.