Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


Viva La Difference!

One of the great things about blogging on Active Rain is that we are exposed to Realtors® all across the United States and Canada who work in every imaginable sort of real estate office.  And every once in a while, I notice maybe a wee bit of proselytizing in a post or a comment - my company and business model is the best and you are a big fat dummie if you don't give it a try.  Then there will follow a chain of comments that feel like the writers are holding up a cross to ward off evil demons!

But you know what?  The best business model, company and office is the one that works for you! 

My company is a small boutique firm that a lot of you might find a little too retro.  While we're pretty tech savvy, we are the old fashioned high priced spread, offering a high quality of servcie to our clients.  And we do it well.  We've made some adjustments as the market has changed, but this basic business model is working very well for me and my company in our market area.

And it's not everybody's cup of tea. 

Whether you work at a boutique like Evers & Company, a large firm like Long and Foster, ReMax, Keller Williams or Coldwell Banker, or one of the new online or limited service companies, you have to ask yourself,  "Am I happy and prosperous?  Is this office working for me?"

So I guess what I'm saying is there is no one best business model - this is not a One Size Fits All marketplace, either for the companies that compete for agents to populate their offices, or for the clients whose business we work so hard to earn. 

We all have choices.  Lots of them!  In the real estate marketplace, choice is a good thing both for agents and consumers.

Comment balloon 49 commentsPatricia Kennedy • April 29 2009 10:23PM


Pat - You are absolutely right!  Choice is a good thing.

Posted by Sharon Richards (Kirsten Realty Tampa Florida) over 11 years ago

Pat:  There is a real estate office for every type of personality.  What I like most about mine is the way that the agents support one another.  It's a very positive place to be.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 11 years ago

Pat - you are so right. We all have choices . I want to say, finaly I found my HOME. My brojerage offers what exactly I was looking for in a RE company.

Posted by Suma Kakani (Northern IL Realtor - Keller Williams Success Realty) over 11 years ago

I love choices. Having to stay would not be motivating and I have always told myself I will love my job. I do! It feels awesome

Posted by Nannette Hilliard, CDPE, ABR, CRS (Century 21 Zwygart Green County Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Pat:  That is one of the nice things about this business, you can tailor it to service a particular niche, whether that be style, culture or agency.  There are a lot of different personality types out there to serve and they need our individuality to be there for them.  I think it's great.  Be true to yourself (and your clients.) 

Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) over 11 years ago

Hi Patricia~ It would be so boring if we didn't have choices, wouldn't it?  I have noticed that some of the comments lately were touting that their company is the best.  Maybe it is for them, but I am so thankful we have options.  I guess we all tend to think  the company we work for is the best.  I just strive to be the best I can be no matter who I work for! I still say people hire us for "us" not because of the company we work for.....

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) over 11 years ago

I agree, Pat, and more to the point is if the agent is prospering enough to relate well with other agents regardless of who their affiliated with.  I've been with companies that strong arm you into referring through their "relocation departments" only to get a lousy agent on the other end.  Realtors, like the  clients we serve, have individual gifts and strengths.  I don't care who they work for if they can help a client reach their objective, it works for me.

Posted by Ken Montville, The MD Suburbs of DC (RE/MAX United Real Estate) over 11 years ago

So right -- whatever works for the person is the best -- and it might be something different at different points in their career.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 11 years ago

and Pat - what works today - may not work tomorrow.  Everyone changes; as do our own business models.

Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) over 11 years ago

Pat - If only my first choice was the right choice.....but at least I feel comfortable knowing it doesn't get any better for ME than where I am right NOW.

Posted by Carol Culkin, ReeceNichols, Overland Park Residential Real Estate (ReeceNichols Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Sharon, that's one of the thing I really love about this business.  It keeps any one owner from getting too cocky with his agents.

Chris Ann, that's the best kind of place to work.

Suma, ditto!

Nanette, our having choices keep the company owners on their toes!

Claudette, in this market we all can use a niche to work in.

Vickie, you're right!  People do hire us for us!  And I think that the company I work for should be a plus when they decide on me.

Ken, my relocation company is Active Rain!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Bob and Carolin, I've worked for three companies that sold out to other firms and changed pretty dramatically over time.

James, you and I are walking around proof of that!  I think it's important to be able to roll with the punches and make smart business decisions when an office stops working.

Carol, any brokerage with an Irish name has to be great!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Hi Pat, very smart post. And who would complain about working where you do since you just got back from the Evers & Co flat in Paris? LOL.. :D

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 11 years ago

Pat, congratulations!  You are one smart cookie, and that is why when I make it make to AR, I try to catch up on your observations.  My broker and I left a big box last summer and have never looked back.  We didn't see the return for the buck, but everyone has their own decision to make.  If you need a big "name" on your business cards and want to pay for it, great.  If you need to carve your own niche and capitalize on your own strengths, great.  Everyone does what they need to do.  Thank you for a great post! 

Posted by Suzanne McLaughlin, Sabinske & Associates, Realtor (Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael)) over 11 years ago

Andrea, yeah, that apartment has to be the best recruiting tool I've ever come across!

And Suzanne, sounds like you and your broker made a great move!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 11 years ago

To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: aye, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,

We are fortunate and unsecure to choose in our business. I like it because I don't have to ask if you want fries

Posted by Claude Cross, Charlotte NC Homes For Sale (Homes By Cross, Inc. ) over 11 years ago

Hi Patricia -- I couldn't agree more.  Consumers can choose what they need and agents as well.  Well said.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 11 years ago

Am I losing my mind or did I read this last night?  It's a great post, but I did think I read this last night???

Posted by Karen Monsour, REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert! (Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach) over 11 years ago

Patricia- Whatever floats your boat! That is what I say. To each his or her own. We worked for big companies, small botique companies and now we own our independent small brokerage and we love it the most. It works for us.

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 11 years ago

Pat.. tisk tisk tisk.... shaking my head.  My business model is the best and only the best. Because I said so...

LOL... I wish I could leave like 5 rolling smiling faces, laughing my arse off.  I hope you know I was kidding. Yes, you are absolutely right in your statement. "what works for you"... but I have seen some business models that loan officers thought worked for them, and I saw many wholes in it and could prove that it wasn't good. Production and time spent on clients was my proof. Some have listened and some haven't.

In any case, kind of funny on how I wrote my blog today about Big vs small companies, and that you talked about business models, which kind of could fit into what I was getting at... thanks

jeff belonger

Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) over 11 years ago

Maybe I am a lonely wolf, but I fail to see the benefit of a large company. We are on our own, so in all honesty if we have access to technology, why not be working for yourself?

I have difficulty seeing a company as a company. I still see individuals, who have their license with someone, as a right to work, but for experienced agent this is the extent of what the company gives them.

So, AR resolved the issue of training and advice on any situation there might be, and if you  have the printer, website, services, which we still have individually, then why do we need a company?

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) over 11 years ago

Patricia, someone from one of those large companies has been trying to recruit me forever.  They love where they work and they can't say enough great things about it.  Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there.  They have to bad mouth where I work, to make theirs more attractive.
The place where I work - has worked fine for me.  If I'm not doing better, it's probably my fault.

I don't think where you work is what makes you successful.  I think we have to work hard, regardless of where we work; and we have to push ourselves to do better every day.
Changing companies isn't going to make me hit the jackpot if nothing else changes.

Et oui, vive la difference!! :)

Posted by Sylvie Conde, Broker, Toronto Real Estate (Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 11 years ago

Patricia: A wee bit? You're a kind soul, and a soft touch. I suspect many folks are excited about things they think are great. Lot's have a natural tendency to want to share. The rational mind can weigh alternatives. We are in sales ya know!

Posted by Matt Grohe, Serving the metro since 2003 (RE/MAX Concepts) over 11 years ago

You are right.....just like housing, everyones needs are different, and what makes one happy, makes another unhappy!

Posted by Pat Tasker, Your Milwaukee Metro Area Agent (WI) (Shorewest Realtors) over 11 years ago

Hi Pat... Great post... if everyone liked the same thing, Baskin Robins would only make 1 flavor of ice cream.  It's the same with brokerages.  Each agent responds to different factors, environments and cultures.  Fortunately there is something for each of us out there and if our needs change over time, there are still options out there for each of us.

Posted by Steve Shatsky over 11 years ago

I have tried to cram the Cinderella slipper on my foot, really pinches.  I am in a big name brokerage with a small friendly office and it is working for me.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 11 years ago

You deserve the star for this one my friend, because you are right, like you I couldn't work for the big companies, it didn't fit me! But, I have no problem with those who do, it works for them.


Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 11 years ago

Pat, Congrats on the star. You are right about about finding a place that works for you...

Your building consultant for life in Nashville, TN

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 11 years ago


You are so right ma'am, it is the company that works for each one of us that is the right company.  We need to be comfortable where we are.

Posted by Don Rogers, Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes (Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield) over 11 years ago

Pat - Never really gave it much consideration, but that must be because I found the right fit. I started with a big name, and left when my broker started her own business.  

Posted by Judy Jennings, Tap into Judy's real estate expertise & resources. (Top Agent Plus) over 11 years ago

I find the office must be a good fit.  And more imporantly (at least for me) the managing broker has to be a good click with you.  In my opinion, your managing broker is the key to your success.  If you have a good one, they'll guide you and mold you into an excellent agent... by example and osmosis.

If you have a mediocre, lazy or bad one... well.... who knows.

Posted by Alan May, There's no place like home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) over 11 years ago

Hi Pat-CONGRATS on the feature. The sayings different strokes for different folks and if you are happy doing what you are doing comes to mind as I read this. Great post. Nicely done <SMILE>

Posted by Sharon Lee, Retired and loving life (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) over 11 years ago

You are's not what is the latest fad about "where to work", but what makes you MOTIVATED and INSPIRED and what office helps you on your own journey!

Posted by Sheila Moran,, RE/MAX Access, 210-32 (RE/MAX Access (Garden Ridge, San Antonio, New Braunfels)) over 11 years ago

So true. I love being in a comfort zone at all times. I am looking at a small company right now that could save me about $40,000 a year in expenses. Talk about a comfort zone.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 11 years ago

Claude, one summer I had a job at an un-airconditioned Hallmark Card factory in Kansas.  That was a wake up call!

Katerina, that pretty much sums it up!

Jeff, good point!  But if it doesn't work for clients, only a delusional agent or loan officer wouldn't have to regroup.

Jon, working for oneself is for the very brave!  My broker provides something that I would miss out on my own - like the colleagues in my office, who are always teaching me something!

Sylvie, you are correct.  Still, I've found that I can do better in a certain type of work environment than in others. 

Matt, I'm a fan of understatement.

Pat, you are so right.

Steve, but then we'd still have Ben & Jerry's!

Virginia, it can certainly be argued that the office is more important that the company.

Thank you, Michael!

Don, I can't imagine anything worse than a bad fit - like Virginia said! 

Todd, clearly big works for a lot of people.  In our area there is a huge independent with many great agents.  They bought my old company and I was out the door almost immediately.  And it was a business decision about my personal needs, not that they were not a fine company.

Judy, around here that is very rare!  Good for you!

Alan, amen to that one!

Sharon, thank you!

And Sheila, I totally agree!


Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 11 years ago


There are just so many different ways to be successful as long as you define your niche and then do a good job.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 11 years ago

In an one to one world, as the mass market gives way to the personal market... boutique brokerages may be the big winners!

Posted by Lonn Dugan over 11 years ago

Pat.....choices, what or where would we be without choices.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty) over 11 years ago

Choices ar e always nice, I do believe that the right fit is important.

Patricia Aulson/Portsmouth NH Real Estate

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 11 years ago

Joe, I don't know that I'm always in my comfort zone in my office, but I've started liking being outside of it.

Steven, that's even more true today with some of the newer firms offering alternative serivces.

Lonn, I agree, and that seems to go against today's "conventional wisdom".

Bebecca and Patricia, I can't imagine life without choices!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Love your last comment, I can't imagine life without choices! Great post!

Posted by Janice Roosevelt, OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker ( Keller Williams Brandywine Valley ) over 11 years ago

Pat ~ you've made a great point here.  None of us can be all things to all people .. it's the same for those of us who own staging companies.  The best formula is finding a niche that works for YOU and letting the clients choose.  Glad to see that so many agree with you!

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 11 years ago

Pat - I agree wholeheartedly with you, especially as the owner of a smaller independent company.  :)  I often tell my agents that clients do not typically choose a company - they choose an individual.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 11 years ago

Hi Pat!

This is right up my alley. I had to ask this question about a month ago, and it was a no. So I went searching for my new office, found it, packed my bags, and now I'm here enjoying my new view. I hope when I ask that question in another year, it will be a YES! :)


Posted by Lisa Udy, Logan Utah Realtor ( Platinum Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago

Pat, Great point, different things work for different agents.  I think it's important to find your special niche and office setting and stick with it as long as it's working.

Posted by Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) over 11 years ago

As many different styles as there are agents and the great thing is they will work for all of us. Thanks for the post.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) over 11 years ago

Pat - I love the phrase "the best business model is the one that works for you" and that could mean working on your own.  Glad you found the one that works for you.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 11 years ago

Excellent point! There is no one-sized fits all model. Thank-you Pat!

Posted by Bilal Qizilbash over 11 years ago

Hi, Pat, welcome home!  I missed this when it was featured, but I was just scrolling down your posts to catch up and this one grabbed me.  You're right!  We all have an environment that works for us, and that's where we should be.  

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 11 years ago