Haley Freeman 2013-09-19 00:39:33
Taking the Gamble Out of Realty The real estate industry has long been a staple in Arizona. With an urban sprawl that has multiplied in the last few decades, it is no wonder that it has been a thriving marketplace. The real estate crash a few years ago, hit Phoenix hard. Now as we are recovering, homes are being built and bidding wars leave homes on the market for only a few days. This uptake in the market has the real estate industry on the rise. Larry Goldstein became a Realtor soon aft er getting married to Sue Person. Between his wife and himself, they have over 40 years of real estate experience. Goldstein’s role has changed slightly, though. He is now the designated broker for Clients First Realty Referral Company. This is an innovative branch of the parent company, which recruits and develops referring agents. Goldstein is excited about this new opportunity in his career. “I’m inventing an industry. This is really something I’m creating from scratch, and it’s nothing but positive,” he said. Referring agents are licensed real estate professionals who refer clients to an active agent and earn a percentage of the agent’s commission. Becoming a referring agent requires that an individual pass an Arizona-approved real estate course, complete the licensing examination conducted by the Arizona Department of Real Estate, and pass a background check. Referring agents are not authorized to conduct business directly, to list or sell real estate, or to draft contracts. Referring agents are not members of the National Association of Realtors, the state or local Realtors association, or the local multiple listing services. In this way, they also avoid many of the fees associated with being a real estate professional. “Since they only refer deals and are not active in the transaction, the referring agent receives his compensation as a business arrangement between two cooperating brokers,” Goldstein explained. Clients First Realty and Goldstein undertook this project because they understand that agents have different strengths. Some agents are able to effectively market themselves to new clients. Others are less capable at gaining new business and better able to complete transactions. By developing referring agents, Goldstein is able to help real estate agents gain new business. Like attorneys, Realtors gain a lot of their business from referrals. The rest of their business is gained through marketing efforts. They have to learn to get their name out in the community. According to Goldstein, “Realtors typically spend about 30-40 percent of their revenue finding clients.” Therefore the opportunity to create a partnership with a referral agent is certainly a positive in their eyes. This opportunity allows “Realtors to remain focused on the transaction instead of worrying about finding the next listing,” Goldstein said. In most cases, Realtors are more than willing to share their commission with referral agents. As Goldstein works to build up his team of referring agents, he looks to legal and financial professions. Professionals in financial and legal fields are oft en involved in facilitating real estate transactions, but are not being compensated for it. According to Goldstein, many professionals are unaware of the additional income they could be earning by becoming referring agents. In fact, they may find that the income they earn as a referring agent rivals or exceeds what they earn in their core profession. In his many years as a real estate professional, Goldstein has worked with a number of referring attorneys. “A bankruptcy attorney has people who must sell their property. A financial planning attorney speaks to people about real estate investing all the time. An estate planning attorney takes care of their clients’ property that is bought and sold. A divorce attorney may have a client who sells one house and buys two others after the divorce. … Attorneys are the creators of this business, and they deserve to be compensated,” Goldstein said. One problem that Goldstein prophesied when work began on this project was the relationship between the referring agent and the real estate agent. “There needs to be a level of trust,” said Goldstein. In an effort to ensure that his referring agents have access to the top real estate agents, he goes beyond the “solid team of devoted professionals” found at Client First Realty. According to Goldstein, “Our Realtors average around 12 years in the business. Our business philosophy is right in our name, Clients First. We do it the old fashioned way. We communicate, we have experienced Realtors and if we can’t do it ourselves, we will find the right referral.” If Client First Realty doesn’t have the right fit for a client, then they will identify a qualified agent through the certified real estate specialist system, a national network of real estate professionals. Goldstein understands that for legal and financial professionals, they want to know that they are referring their clients to a solid agent, who will prove successful. It is more than just the client’s interest on the line; it is the professional’s relationship with his or her client. Outside of the office, Goldstein enjoys spending time with his lovely wife and real estate partner. You can oft en find him out playing golf or traveling. He has also been a member of the North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce since February. “I couldn’t recommend any group more than the North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. I’ve never known a better group of people.” Goldstein knows that the toughest part of any professional career is marketing. Experienced Realtors spend most of their time searching for the next qualified buyer or seller. He also understands that clients are challenged to find the best Realtor for their situation. Because of these challenges, Goldstein and Client First Realty Referral Company took away the risk.
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