More than 80 percent of real estate agents work for small brokerages with fewer than 25 agents, and the average is seven, Brad Inman writes. But their might was on full display in 2023.
When I bought my first home in Oakland, California, in 1982, the ordeal filled me with fear. The price appeared exorbitant, the process felt intimidating, and I found it challenging to understand all the intricate details.
My agent, Mac McCullouch, was young, charismatic and earnest. But it was the broker-owner, whom I had only met twice, who gave me the confidence to move forward. Nameless today, I remember him as a soft-spoken, poised and reassuring man, making me feel that I was in good hands.
The small broker-owner is the unsung hero of real estate whom we are honoring this year as the 2023 Inman Person of the Year.
To this day, they account for the vast majority of home sales in the United States.
Eighty-two percent of real estate agents work for small brokerages with fewer than 25 agents, according to NAR. The average is seven.
The job of a good, small broker-owner is to listen, cajole and mentor their public-facing agents. They sit at the center of every real estate transaction, ensuring that the paperwork, the legal contingencies and contracts are handled properly.
But there is more to their role. They support floats in community parades, volunteer their time to local causes, sponsor the soccer team, participate in bake sales and testify at local public hearings.
The small broker-owner is as local as you can get, as close to the customer as is possible, and as connected as one can be.
They aren’t on celebrity television shows, they’re not high-profile CEOs of publicly-traded companies, and they’re not tech giants promising to change the world.
Small brokers are often second- or third-generation business owners who live and breathe real estate. They know every house in their community and know who bought and sold them.
They run small businesses, so they support a payroll, pay rent to a local landlord and fork over hordes of taxes and fees.
Like a locally-owned diner, a bakery or a shop owner, the small real estate broker-owner harkens back to an era before big-box franchises, 1-800 phone numbers, online leads and AI.
The locals know who they are, where they live and work, and how they do business. She is the real estate woman around the block.
As trusted members of the community, broker-owners help local residents with the daunting task of becoming homeowners.
Meet a few here
Our hat is off to these special people for the work they do.
Broker-owner Mike Gandolfo, RE Solutions, Louisville, Kentucky
Broker-owner Amber Montanio, Black Label Real Estate Advisors, New Braunfel, Texas
Broker-owners Natalie Clayton, Jess Martin and Chanda Johnson, Maywright Property Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Father and son broker-owners Gary and Mike Parsons, Parsons Real Estate Group, Worthington, Ohio
Co-broker-owner Joy Bray, Gateway Real Estate, Nixa, Missouri
Broker-owner Sheila Fleming, Carolina Sky Real Estate, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Broker-owner Stefanie Mars, SMRG Real Estate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Broker-owner Rick Stroud, Great Homes of South Carolina, Greer, South Carolina
Broker-owner Tony Anderson, NextHome Gulf Coast Realty, Tampa Bay, Florida
Broker-owner Lindsay Dreyer, City Chic Real Estate, Washington D.C.
Broker-owner Heidi Rose, Rose Team Homes, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Broker-owner Nicole Reed, Nicole Reed Real Estate, Chester, Virginia