Forget agent-centric. At Real, the focus is on empowering the entrepreneur.

With a leap from 6,000 to 15,000 agents in just over a year—and 1,000 newcomers in January alone—Real’s “entrepreneur-centric” approach is catching the attention of industry professionals across the nation. 

Sharran Srivatsaa, President of Real, sat down with BAM to shed light on how Real became the fastest-growing publicly traded real estate brokerage. A big part of that is prioritizing the individual aspirations and business models of its agents and teams.

“Whether you’re a solo agent, or a small and mighty team, or a large team, or an independent (brokerage), we’re all entrepreneurs in our own way. And an entrepreneur wants flexibility in what they do.”

Sharran Srivatsaa

President, Real

Three Pillars of Growth

While Real has been growing quickly for over a year, the exponential shift started around the time of its last RISE event. At the end of October, Real had over 12,000 agents. Fast forward to today, and Real has more than 15,000 agents in the U.S. and Canada. That growth, according to Srivatsaa, can be attributed to three main drivers. 

To start, a significant part of Real’s growth is credited to its transparency and generosity. For the past 18 months, Real has been “giving everything away,” Srivatsaa said, including trainings, tools, and Real’s playbook. 

For example, Discover Real, an anonymous “open house” via Zoom, offers a no-strings-attached peek into the heart of Real’s operations. Giving everything away upfront “creates a feeling of built-in warmth,” Srivatsaa noted. 

Second, Real makes a point of being present in unexpected places, including small meetings. Srivatsaa’s “five-butt rule” means that if even five people are in a room, he will commit to being there. “This has been really powerful, and you get to do it one person at a time,” he said. 

Finally, the introduction of Private Label and ProTeams programs has not only attracted independent brokerages and teams but also redefined the value proposition for joining Real. 

ProTeams

David Keener, CEO and President of PREMIERE Group, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing mega teams, was attracted to various offerings at Real, including the leadership, culture and technology. When Srivatsaa told him about ProTeams, it helped solidify his decision to make the switch from eXp to Real at the start of the year. 

After five months of talking with Real CEO Tamir Poleg and exploring numerous options, PREMIERE became the first team to join Real’s ProTeams program, which allows independent brokerages and teams to customize their compensation models. The program allowed for the flexibility Keener was seeking, as PREMIERE invests 100% of its profits back to its agents, along with low splits and revenue-sharing options. 

“The reason for the move is the freedom. The freedom to operate as I saw best for my agents. (This) means better splits, better compensation per deal, and the ability to make my agents more money per year.”

David Keener

CEO and President, PREMIERE Group

As far as the transition, which included the daunting task of migrating over 250 transactions across 20 states, it’s been “surprisingly better than expected,” Keener noted, with Real broker leaders rolling up their sleeves to help by any means necessary.

Private Label

In August 2023, Kofi Nartey, CEO of Globl RED, was the first to pilot Real’s Private Label program. Since Nartey is known as the go-to broker for celebrities, prominent athletes and luxury homebuyers around the world, brand continuity was a must, and Private Label allowed for that. 

“First and foremost, it was a business decision. As agents, we are business owners. And so you always have to look at what is best for your business.”

Kofi Nartey

CEO, Golbl RED

So far, Nartey’s decision has been paying off. When making the transition, Globl RED had a 100% conversion rate to Real, and since that time, the team has doubled in size and expanded to three new markets, with two more on the way. The team’s growth has “been made so much easier with Real,” Nartey said. 

Of course, he doesn’t expect the growth to stop there—for his team nor Real as a whole. Nartey, who also serves as a National Growth Leader for the brokerage, dropped a hint about a new division coming to Real in 2024. Spoiler alert: It’s perfectly aligned with Nartey’s expertise in luxury real estate. 

A Blueprint for Entrepreneurship

Srivatsaa likens Real’s offerings to “Lego blocks,” each a crucial component of a larger, intricate puzzle. The ProTeams and Private Label programs are just two of the Lego blocks within the brokerage.

Since entrepreneurs all need different resources at different stages of their careers, Real offers something for everyone—whether it’s training, systems and operations, technology, features of ProTeam and Private Label programs, its revenue share model or other financial offerings.

That’s probably why Real isn’t attracting just one type of team or agent. The brokerage continues to rapidly expand with the addition of agents from four different buckets:

  • Individual solo agents
  • Small and mighty teams (1-2 agents with staff)
  • Large teams
  • Independent brokerages

Preston Miller, President and CEO of Modern Broker, is currently in the process of transitioning to Real. With over a decade of growing his independent brokerage to over 160 agents in California, it was essential for him to be able to keep the brand’s identity and business model. The Private Label and ProTeams programs stood out to him for this reason. 

But, when discussing the response from his agents, which Miller describes as “overwhelmingly positive,” he noted that there’s not one single reason that people are excited. The majority are pleased to be able to keep the things they love about Modern Broker—the management team, marketing, and brand—yet they are each drawn to different offerings within Real. 

One of those offerings, Miller explained, is the technology.

“Having been a broker and having to assemble a tech stack independently with the providers out there, I have a profound appreciation for what (Real) has put together. Not just for what it is now, but for what I think it will allow Real to build on top of.”

Preston Miller

President and CEO, Modern Broker

Collaboration Over Competition

It’s practically impossible to bring up Real without diving into its culture, which, if agent discourse online is anything to go by, is infectious. As Real scales, maintaining its core values remains paramount.

“Bigger is not better. Better is better. The goal is not to add 100,000 agents. Once you lose the culture component, you can’t put that bullet back in the chamber. So, we don’t even mind growing a little slower, but we want to make sure (we maintain our values) when folks come on.”

Sharran Srivatsaa

President, Real

In order to maintain its culture—which includes “Work Hard, Be Kind” and “Collaboration Over Competition” mentalities—Srivatsaa spoke about Real’s Code of Conduct and the removal of silos. 

This mindset can even be seen in the company’s announcements. It’d be easy to gloat when, for example, Keener’s mega team PREMIERE made the switch from eXp, a cloud-based brokerage that happens to be one of the nation’s largest and Real’s unofficial “rival.” But Real’s press announcements never mention another brokerage by name. “They are not in here to make anyone look bad,” Keener said. “They are truly here to celebrate, embrace, and help support others go to another level.” 

While Srivatsaa points to the intentional agreements and communication channels Real puts into place, ask anyone else at the brokerage, and they’ll probably tell you the culture component starts with the leadership. 

“Most importantly, it’s the culture. And that stems from the leaders. Tamir and Sharran are the essence of why they are exploding the way they are, and why people (make the switch) so quickly.”

David Keener

CEO and President, PREMIERE Group

Even former Real agents didn’t take the opportunity to bad-mouth the brokerage when given the opportunity. During his research phase, Miller had conversations with people who had previously left Real. What he found surprised him—they didn’t have anything negative to say. Most had left Real for personal reasons or some type of management position at another firm, “but they really missed the company,” Miller said. “It was surprisingly encouraging. I think we were looking for more negativity and didn’t find it.” 

The Nike of Real Estate?

Every person BAM spoke with agreed that the draw to Real wasn’t just one thing—it was a combination of all those Lego blocks. 

That’s why Nartey opts to include Real as part of Globl RED’s branding, even though his team is part of the Private Label program—in order to let both agents and consumers know what the team is a part of. He’s found that other teams joining Private Label are often doing the same. Between the combination of Real’s tools, resources, revenue share opportunities, and culture, “you’re proud to be a part of it,” Nartey said. “So you want to display that co-branding.”

Put another way, 

“If you have your own tennis shoe brand, and you have the chance to partner with Nike, you are going to include the Swoosh somewhere on your brand. It’s Nike.”

Kofi Nartey

CEO, Golbl RED