BARRINGTON, RI—A locally-based nationwide marketing firm is looking to partner with independent commercial and residential real estate agents that want to provide clients with a more personalized approach without being part of a national franchise company.
Tracy LeRoux, founder of the Link Agency, says she has formed a new private real estate brokerage division that she hopes to grow nationwide. She says the division will handle the purchase, sale and lease of residential and commercial space. The Link Agency was founded in 1999 and also has offices in La Jolla, CA.
LeRoux, who is licensed to sell real estate in six states (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, California and Illinois) believes that with her firm’s marketing and business services background, she can create a powerful network of private independent brokers in all 50 states in the years to come. She says that relationships can be in the form of partnerships or the Link Agency could refer clients in certain markets. However, she is not looking for someone with just a real estate license, but someone who has a diverse background outside of the real estate market that can offer solutions to the most complex of transactions that many times transcend the typical real estate deal.
“My intention is to license this to private (real estate) brokers across the country; to really join together independent private brokers across the country,” she says. LeRoux explains that many independent brokers do not want to be part of a large real estate franchise and instead operate on their own. While these independent brokers can provide highly specialized and personal service to businesses and individuals, they lack some of the technological and marketing service capabilities that many clients demand.
“Whether someone is in the market to buy, sell or lease, real estate transactions can sometimes become complex,” LeRoux says. “My goal is to leverage our marketing and business expertise to make the entire process faster and easier for people facing unique situations, similar to the way a concierge can expertly handle important details during a hotel stay. We act as a trusted advisor that works exclusively in a client’s best interest.”
The idea came to LeRoux about a year ago because some of her clients, such as the elderly, as well as trusts and estates, require a myriad of services, not just real estate. She describes it as a “missing niche” in the brokerage business. Some of the services small independent brokers need include marketing, marketing research, strategy, and demographic research.
She says it has taken a year to vet out the business model and to cull together a network of attorneys that operate in 30 states that handle complicated will trusts and estates issues, remodeling contractors, and other service providers.
“Even the investors that I am dealing with don’t necessarily know that they want a house in a specific town, they just know they want to buy 20 houses in the next year and want to have a certain margin on each house, but it is my job to actually find those deals for them and find that opportunity for them and make deals where they really don’t exist,” she says “So we kind of have to make things happen sometimes.”
When asked how her private brokerage differs from the national residential and commercial brokerage firms, LeRoux says that her firm is not focused specifically on sales. Although the firm at times is paid on a commission basis, the Link Agency also provides consultancy services that are not driven by sales commissions.
“Most Realtors only care about sales, sales sales, because that is how they are compensated,” she says. “We can step back and be a little bit more strategic because our clients are willing to pay us (a flat fee) for the consulting.”
She adds that in the next five years she hopes the private real estate brokerage division will expand to have about 10 franchise-modeled offices in international gateway cities, such as in Southern California, San Francisco, Miami, New York and Chicago.
LeRoux says if companies sought more than real estate advice, the instances of massive store closings by major retailers might be reduced. “I found that in my marketing business the CEO that I work with end up outsourcing (their real estate management) and wind up very unhappy because they don’t understand their business and don’t understand their business model and end up getting a cookie cutter solution.”
She says that while companies may be prompted to institute massive store closings due to poor sales, a major factor could also be that some stores are simply in the wrong location. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, but it does take a marketer to see that and that’s what I want to help clients do.”