Consumers want the convenience of one-stop shopping, so give it to them Consumers today are looking for the convenience of a one-stop shop in real estate. Offices that are able to offer ancillary services like mortgage, insurance, title and other real estate related services will benefit from the alternative revenue streams they provide as well as from having more touch-points with clients, which builds a stronger relationship with the buyer or seller, and that can mean more business down the road.
Many companies are actively seeking partnerships with brokers. Most relationships are set up as a joint venture, with the broker and its partner splitting a percentage of the proceeds. The problem is, these joint ventures can be time-consuming, complicated and sometimes difficult to secure. In addition, real estate offices need to carefully consider RESPA laws, which prohibit referral fees (or kickbacks) between brokerages and their service providers. We’ve seen several big brands in the news lately with stories on the front page of the business section about their alleged RESPA violations.
The sharing of fees is permitted under RESPA, provided that actual work of value was rendered by each party in connection with the home purchase, but under no circumstance, can fees paid to a broker or by a broker to a service provider increase the established purchase price of a home. In addition to RESPA restrictions, many states have their own laws that govern payments to brokers.
For many office managers and owners, the complications of these partnerships paired with the delicacy of maneuvering through the regulations can be off-putting. Others are wary of getting involved in a long-term commitment without knowing their service provider and potential partner very well. That’s where a brokerage like Intero comes in.
For years, we’ve been developing our relationships with many of the service providers in the real estate market. We also have a team responsible for sorting through the regulations to ensure that we’re doing the right thing. We bring these relationships to the table for our franchise owners, giving them the opportunity to piggyback on the work we’ve already done so they can have easy access to ancillary services that will increase their bottom line, without the headache of having to go through all the setup.
For example, we’ve established Intero Insurance to offer the most comprehensive insurance products in the industry provided by “A” rated companies, such as Hartford, Zurich, AIG, Allied, Safeco, Fireman’s Fund, Chubb, Encompass and Travelers. We have mortgage affiliations through Intero Mortgage Services with the industry’s most respected lenders, including Bank of America and Diversified Capital.
Though we’ve established these partnerships, we also want to empower our people to make their own decisions. If a particular real estate office has a strong relationship with an existing company, and they would like to use their products and services, we encourage them to do so, as long as their standards are equivalent to what we can provide. Our focus is on helping our franchise owners to be more profitable and the customer experience the best possible, and if that means going outside the Intero sphere for a particular service, so be it.
Bottom line, whether you take advantage of the affiliations your brokerage currently has or you decide to go it on your own, value-added services are something your office should have in its offerings. If not, you’re missing an opportunity to give your clients the kind of full-service many would like to receive and to create new revenue streams for your company.