How The Agency Navigates a Challenging Real Estate Market
It is impossible to pick up a newspaper or read a website about real estate and not be confronted with endless articles speculating about the future of both the quotidian house market, the high seven-figure condo in the sky, and the beach house on a desirable coast.
Competition in the real estate business is fierce. Thumbing through local luxury magazines from San Diego to Nantucket reveals page after page of adverts for listings starting in the millions and going breathtakingly beyond. There are over a half dozen recognized national brokerages—Sotheby’s, Compass, Corcoran as well as scores of local and regional luxury brokers like Saunders, Town and Country, and Brown Harris Stevens.
So how does The Agency—with over $45 billion in total sales since inception and over 60 offices in six countries—plan for future expansion? The answer: By utilizing some very sophisticated edges. Hence its acquisition of Triplemint, a New York real estate agency with a success story of its own based on proprietary technology. Apparently, VCs agree this is a sustainable path forward, as they have backed the acquisition with $35 million in equity funding. Prior to the acquisition, Triplemint had raised $20M from backers including Mitsubishi Estate Corp, Dominion Capital, and Winklevoss Capital.
In an interview with Worth, The Agency founder and CEO Mauricio Umansky explained, “we plan to continue our expansion utilizing both our very talented and productive agents and Triplemint’s proprietary technology. The Agency will offer a full suite of cutting-edge tools, powered by Triplemint’s predictive analytics and machine learning, including a fully integrated search platform. These tools improve the agent experience and will enhance real-time communication between agents and clients while increasing productivity; automatically track the market and produce customized, real-time alerts; foster lead generation to automatically capture, vet, and convert leads.”
Mauricio said all this with the passion of a visionary who has, according to him, “probably sold more ultra-high-end residential real estate than anyone in the world.” His energy and charisma have helped him find his way onto a host of social media and legacy media programs including Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing LA, and Netflix’s upcoming Buying Beverly Hills.
The real estate landscape is in transition because the rise in interest rates has put a damper on frenzied over-the-asking-price bids in all sectors of the market. Selling a residence is now more about skill in pricing and finding the willing buyer than merely listing it. Mauricio concurred. “The Agency, with its new acquisition, is uniquely positioned to thrive in this changing market because we’re focused on sustainable, responsible growth. We have been profitable since our founding because I have been motivated by the core belief that real estate can and should be better for agents, sellers, and buyers alike.”
As for the newly raised capital, he added, “we intend to deploy it to allow our agents to truly serve as advisors and sustain our boutique approach to the business while expanding our global network. The Agency is focused on continued global expansion, choosing quality over quantity every time. Learning from others that came before us, we intend to offer the 2.0 version of luxury real estate as we seek to provide a seamless, integrated experience for our agents.”
The emphasis, as in all luxury commerce, must remain laser-focused on the client. No matter what the technology behind the transaction, it comes down to the one-on-one that UHNW individuals expect. To this point, Mauricio added “We believe agents do not need to be marketing or technology experts, so we are focused on creating technology that makes staff more productive. This way, our agents can spend more time on their clients, not learning how to use the next shiny tool.”
Rainy Hake Austin, president of The Agency, mirrored Mauricio. “We are expanding our global reach while maintaining our boutique, collaborative culture by obsessing over experience at every touchpoint and quality in everything we do.”
Billy Rose, co-founder and newly appointed chief culture officer of The Agency added a final thought, “over the past decade, we’ve been very thoughtful about whom we partner with and where. We pledged at our founding over 10 years ago to raise the bar in the residential real estate brokerage industry, such that professional representation with integrity is the rule, not the exception.”
Where the luxury real estate market goes from here is as clear as a soothsayer’s crystal ball.
The nature of all markets is they are always in flux. It’s only the time frame that is unknown. Recognizing this, all any service organization can do is remain flexible, possess the right tools to meet the challenges, and stay focused on the human side of all equations.