by Paige Tepping, RISMedia
Published December 2021 Real Estate Magazine
Chief Operating Officer
Virtual Properties Realty (VPR)
Region served: Entire State of Georgia
Years in real estate: Steve: 32; Jamie: 23
Number of offices: 14
Number of agents: 4,000 and counting
You began as a family-run business and are now the largest real estate brokerage in Georgia. Why has your success outpaced others?
Steve Wagner: Because we’re both value- and growth-driven. Drilling down further, we have a strong value proposition that’s driven our growth. It’s also important to note that if you aren’t growing, evolving and improving, you’re stagnating. We’ve been able to build relationships with our agents that allow us to lead them while they lead us at the same time.
Jamie Mertz: My personal philosophy has always been to treat our agents as the client. They then support our buyers and sellers, which has been instrumental in allowing us to grow as large as we are.
You recently celebrated your 4,000th agent milestone. What made it possible?
JM: The support we offer our agents has helped us grow by as much as 100 agents in a single month. We provide them with customizable agent websites, training programs and technology to keep them at the forefront of the industry and expand their businesses.
SW: It’s all about the four-point model, which begins with having a great product backed with a strong value proposition. From there, you must be able to market the product via individuals who possess good salesmanship and have a team in place to handle inquiries. Finally, always do what you say you’re going to do—and deliver exactly what you’ve promised.
What makes you unique among competitors?
SW: Rather than focusing on one competitive advantage, we offer 15 to 20 things that add up to something far greater than a single unique selling point. No one does as well as us at providing a comprehensive value proposition, and that has carried our momentum. Running a successful business is all about building momentum and riding it as far as you can. VPR has also been recognized with numerous awards over the years, from being a top place to work to being voted the company with the best vision. Accolades validate what we do on a daily basis.
Why did you choose to merge with United Real Estate, and how does United enhance your value proposition?
JM: While United’s technology offerings are one of the main reasons we chose to merge, we’ve gained so many other things that we didn’t have access to as an independent, beginning with a referral and relocation division. In addition, we’re now an international player, connected to 17,000-plus agents across four continents and 46 states.
SW: When we met with United Real Estate’s CEO Dan Duffy and President Rick Haase, it was clear that we’d found an exact fit. We were already the biggest real estate company in Atlanta, but we wanted to continue to grow. The culture is what really brought us together, and a year later, I’m even more convinced that merging with United was the right decision.
Your growth in Georgia has been remarkable. How have you been able to be so efficient yet effective in your operations?
SW: Jamie has a knack for attracting people who are not only loyal to us, but also talented. She’s able to fit all of our talent together and ensure it makes sense.
JM: When we find someone who brings the culture and energy we’re looking for, we determine how best to fit them into the puzzle.
What advice would you give to brokers who feel they may be plateauing?
JM: Go back and review your value proposition. It’s important to take the time to review what you’re offering and whether or not you’re following through on what’s being promised. Steve is great at forecasting what’s ahead and has put steps in place to ensure our value proposition is always 100%.
Describe your commitment to training and education.
SW: We provide live classes, virtual training, workshops, mastermind groups, webinars and everything in between so our agents can access the content they’re looking for 24/7/365. We also offer free coaching that encourages agents to do the tasks necessary to find success. Actions are given point values, and agents are motivated to learn new things as they work their way up the leaderboard.
JM: We have a backend system that allows agents to ask questions and receive support, which we then use for training opportunities.
About United Real Estate
United Real Estate (United) – a division of United Real Estate Group – was founded with the purpose of offering solutions to real estate brokers and agents in the rapidly changing real estate brokerage industry. United provides the latest training, marketing and technology tools to agents and brokers under a 100%/fee-based agent commission model. By leveraging the company’s proprietary Bullseye™ Agent & Broker Productivity Platform, United delivers a more profitable outcome for agents and brokers. United operates in 27 states with more than 100 offices and over 13,500 agents. The company produced over $13.6 billion in sales volume in 2020.
About United Real Estate Group
United Real Estate Group (UREG) operates United Real Estate and United Country Real Estate, addressing the unique market needs of suburban, major metropolitan urban and rural markets. Utilizing the Bullseye™ Agent & Broker Productivity Platform, UREG offers the latest training, marketing and technology tools producing a significant competitive advantage. The platform realizes a decade-long investment in virtual agent and brokerage technology services and is powered by a 1.8+ million listings data warehouse generating over 3 million monthly visitors and 30,000 leads per year. Together, the United Real Estate Group supports more than 600 offices and 16,000 real estate and auction professionals across four continents. Through its in-house advertising agency, UREG offers differentiating marketing support and collateral for specialized lifestyle property websites as well as access to a 650,000+ opt-in buyer database. For more information about United Real Estate or United Country Real Estate, please visit UnitedRealEstate.com or UnitedCountry.com.
United Real Estate, 5430 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy, Suite 270, Dallas, TX, 75240
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