In the past few years, the team has expanded its business deeper into the Miami market and continues to expand across the U.S. to protect itself against market downturns.

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As well-established industry vets, it’s hard to imagine Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes of the Eklund | Gomes Team at Douglas Elliman having much to learn still in their careers.

But, as the last two topsy-turvy years of the market shook up the industry, Eklund and Gomes found themselves learning a valuable lesson: You can’t put all your eggs in one basket.


“There were opportunities that presented themselves across the country that, if we stayed in New York, where we began our business, we would not have been able take advantage of,” Gomes told moderator Lockhart Steele during an Inman Connect Miami panel on Tuesday. “Look at what happened in Texas, and look at what is still happening here in the state of Florida. Had we not gone out and expanded our business, what would our business be, I wonder?”

Eklund moved from LA to Miami with his family last summer to expand the team’s business.

“So I think the brokers really need to look beyond and really consider more of a national market so that you can protect yourself against any downturns,” Gomes concluded.

The Eklund | Gomes Team has about 100 agents across five states and 13 offices, the team’s CEO Julia Spillman clarified.

Over the last four years, the team has averaged roughly $4 billion in transactions per year and is aiming to break through to $5 billion this year. Part of that goal, Eklund said, is to get every agent on the team to the point where they’re closing at least $1 million per year.

“I think the beauty of what we’ve done, which I think is a little anti-team where there’s one team lead and there’s everyone else, our philosophy is, we are a constellation and the brighter the constellation gets the brighter each individual star gets, and I think it’s something we’re incredibly proud of, and I think it’s a model that’s been incredibly successful for us,” Spillman said.

Eklund and Gomes met two decades ago as young agents when Gomes sold two apartments to a client in the first new development building that Eklund was representing while an agent at Core Real Estate. After a lunch with Core’s founder Shaun Osher, Gomes ended up joining the firm as well. After being given a seat in the office near Eklund and seeing first-hand how overwhelmed he was with work, Gomes realized they could make a great team.

“At that time we formed a partnership; we worked together,” Gomes said. “I can help you, I can grow this, not knowing, honestly, that it would turn into this.”

The pair then recalled how Julia came into the picture later, as what Eklund called, “the line between the E and the G.”

“It’s like winning the lottery,” Eklund said. “To find business partners where 1 + 1 is 10, in our case. It’s not without friction, and there was a lot of fighting in the beginning, but then we became friends.”

“The friendship and the business, it’s not the same thing, but they go side by side,” Eklund continued. “And I don’t know if the friendship would be the same without the business and vice versa. I know for sure the business wouldn’t be there without the friendship.”

Reflecting on how much time Eklund spends with Gomes and Spillman versus his own family, he marveled at the uneven balance, but also was aware of how much it contributed to the business and their friendship.

“When you run a business, it’s like you dedicate your soul and you give up so much in life but you also get so much. So who you chose as your husband, wife, business partner, it’s very, very important and it’s not easy to find.”

Before Julia came on to get the pair organized, Eklund and Gomes were still performing at the top of their market, but it was “chaos,” Eklund noted. That was eight years ago now.

Steele noted that in 2022, when Eklund and Gomes decided to renew their contract with Douglas Elliman, it came as a bit of a surprise in the industry as other big names started to break out on their own, including Ryan Serhant.

“I think it’s a big decision to leave whatever environment you’re in and start your own company,” Eklund said. “For us, it was very natural. We couldn’t do what we do without Douglas Elliman because we latch onto their infrastructure and legal aspect of it. In new development, we have a pipeline; at any time nationwide we probably have around 15-17 projects on the market.”

He added that with the boom in new development in both New York and Miami right now, it would be impossible for them to handle the business themselves without Douglas Elliman’s support. He added that the best thing for the client is having the enormous support and manpower of the firm behind them.

“We really love what we do and we really love the people that we do it with,” Spillman said. “And I think [being our own firm] would change that a lot. And then, at that point, what are we really doing it for?”

Gomes added that the power of co-branding with the Douglas Elliman brand, which has been around since the early 1900s, also gives the team a huge boost of credibility.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Eklund added, when it comes to the value of aligning oneself with a reputable brand versus striking out to form a new brokerage.

Get Inman’s Luxury Lens Newsletter delivered right to your inbox. A weekly deep dive into the biggest news in the world of high-end real estate delivered every Friday. Click here to subscribe.

Email Lillian Dickerson

Douglas Elliman
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