The biggest residential real estate brokerages in northern Nevada continue to recruit new agents aggressively despite a cool market.
In fact, experienced agents with good track records are likely to find a warm reception at big real estate firms that look to build their share of the market.
The recruitment of sales agents runs counter to a trend in which other professionals in the residential sales industry such as mortgage brokers face an uncertain future as the business stays well below its peak of three years ago.
“We think this is the time to step up our recruiting,” says Nancy Fennell, president of Dickson Realty. Her company, the largest in the region with about 375 agents, has added about 20 agents to its offices in Reno and Sparks in recent months.
Amy Lessinger, broker and owner of the RE/MAX Realty Affiliates office in Reno, says her 50-agent office particularly targets experienced agents who can bring a book of business with them.
“More agents who are productive mean more to the broker’s bottom line,” Lessinger says.
And she says a growing force of sales agents means more signs in yards and more traffic to the company’s Web site, helping to establish the company’s name in the minds of consumers.
In exchange, brokers at large firms say they can provide training and support that’s particularly valuable to agents who face a dramatic shift in the marketplace.
“There is a large pool of agents who never have seen this kind of market,” says Lessinger. “They are exercising a muscle they haven’t exercised in quite a while.”
As she recruits agents these days, Lessinger says they’re particularly interested in the national advertising programs and the strong leadership provided by RE/MAX support that may not be available in smaller realty offices.
Rick Lund, broker and co-owner of Reno-based Ferrari-Lund Real Estate, says the marketing support of large brokerages is particularly attractive to agents who are looking to move from smaller companies.
Fennell, meanwhile, says her firm emphasizes its experience in up and down markets since it was launched in 1973 as it talks with agents, and it emphasizes the training opportunities provided by its seven-year-old “Dickson University.”
While much of Dickson’s recruiting targets experienced agents, Fennell says the company also brings on some new agents partly to make sure that the company has a solid sales force as agents from the Baby Boom generation get ready to retire.
“We hire slow,” she says. “It’s always about having the right people people who believe in what we believe in.”
Other big residential brokerages are adding agents in large bunches through acquisitions.
Chase International, headquartered at Zephyr Cove, added about 40 agents with the acquisition of two residential real firms at South Lake Tahoe.
Craig King, chief operating officer of Chase International, says the acquisitions allowed the company to quickly build a presence along Tahoe’s south shore.
At the same time, Chase doubled its sales force in Reno in recent months, and King says the company’s total of approximately 150 is up by about 60 percent from a year ago.
“In real estate, if you’re not recruiting, you’re not growing,” he says.
Much of the recruitment is based on referrals from other agents within a brokerage.
Fennell says Dickson Realty executives check out agents from other firms as they work with Dickson Realty to buy or sell homes.
But she says the company also sorts through a lot of unsolicited resumes in its search for good agents.
“You can find them anywhere,” Fennell says.
Lund says some of the recruitment drive reflects a need to backfill positions left vacant by some who leave real estate sales for greener pastures.
“Now is the time for persons to dig down deep and decide if real estate is really for them,” he says.
“We are huge fans of doing business in Northern Nevada. We love the location. We love the potential for employees. And, frankly, we love how easy it is to work with the business community,” says Havelock Wool CEO Andrew Legge.