A United Approach to Supporting Agents and Driving Success

by Paige Tepping, RISMedia | Published April 2022 Real Estate Magazine

Nick Firios
Principal Broker
United Real Estate | Preferred
Lake Mary, Florida

Region served: Central Florida
Years in real estate: 20
Number of offices: 1
Number of agents: 100

Tell us about how you got into real estate and how you transitioned to a broker. I got into real estate in 2002 with an interest to flip properties while working full-time as an advertising sales rep. After my first flip, I left my full-time job to begin working with my father-in-law who is a home builder. As his business grew, he urged me to get my Brokers license to become his marketing arm, which laid the foundation for starting my own independent brokerage in 2006. The timing wasn’t great, as the market began to tank, and given the fact that I was relatively light on any formal real estate training, I decided to earn as many designations and certifications as possible through NAR. All of this training has helped shape who I am as both a REALTOR® and a broker.

What were some of the most important considerations as far as selecting United Real Estate as your brokerage partner? When revamping my independent company in 2016, I knew I wanted to offer a flat-fee, 100%-commission model, but with greater support and better training to agents than what was currently available. These were the main elements I was looking to incorporate, in addition to giving back to the industry because it had been so good to me and my family. I knew we had 100% models in the market, but no one was offering the whole nine yards. It was at this time that I came across an episode of “Undercover Boss” featuring CEO Dan Duffy and United Real Estate, and I realized they were doing exactly what I wanted to do. Six months later, I was operating as United Real Estate.

How does United support your business, your professional development and your agents’ professional development? While we haven’t been able to meet in person for the past two years due to COVID, we’ve still been able to get together on Zoom calls and share ideas. Everyone at United is like-minded and committed to helping others succeed, especially Rick Haase, our president, who supports his Brokers in any way he can. In fact, Rick’s commitment to incorporating new support and services into the mix has been huge for our professional development.

How is United Real Estate unique among its competitors, and how have your agents benefited? United is unique in its offering, providing full support via technology, leads and a flat-fee model. Agents benefit by receiving more money, support that is second to none, ongoing training and technology that helps them run their business seamlessly. We offer training calls five days a week, lunch and learns every Wednesday, third-party partners to train on topics our agents are dealing with on a daily basis and technology such as our Bullseye Productivity Platform. All of these things, in addition to the support and services I mentioned before, are a true win-win. Another thing that makes United unique is its culture. As large as we are today, we haven’t lost that family culture.

If you had to point to a couple of the primary guiding principles about running and building your company, what would they be? I can’t say enough about the leadership at the Home Office and the strong and dedicated staff that supports us each and every day. Everyone on the team is as dedicated as I am, and as Rick always says: None of us are as strong and smart as all of us together.

“Nick and his team continuously strive to conduct business at the highest levels of excellence and integrity. The company is an outstanding example of how you achieve success and growth by adhering to core values at a very high level. Very proud to be associated with them.”

-Rick Haase, President, United Real Estate

How do agents learn about your office and company? Not only do I send text messages each day to agents we are most interested in attracting, but I’ve also engaged a company to help me get the word out about United Real Estate Preferred and schedule exploratory meetings with those interested in joining the firm. From there, it’s all about determining the best way to onboard them, what their experience is and whether we are a good fit for each other. We do this before moving forward and introducing our Bullseye Productivity Platform and the rest of our team. We’ve also done a great deal of social media advertising over the years, and while we’ve traditionally focused on Facebook, we’re now expanding to LinkedIn. In addition, we send emails to our target list, congratulating agents on their recent sales. More often than not, agents aren’t receiving this type of communication from their own brokerage, so it opens the door for a bigger conversation. Our agents also play a huge role in referring other agents to our office.

You recently welcomed your 100th agent. How did you achieve that milestone? It’s a culmination of a lot of things, beginning with the marketing, onboarding and training that’s coming directly from our Home Office Team. And while the United model in and of itself does a lot to support us, staying motivated and communicating with my staff has been instrumental in terms of reaching this milestone. When meeting with new agents and showing them what we have to offer, which I believe is the best brokerage model on the planet, it’s usually a done deal.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully with multiple offices. I would love to be at 500-plus agents as well.

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