Brokerage Beat logo with a pulse line and people viewing laptop screen in background
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Brokerage Beat: Christie's coast-to-coast growth, EXIT's big bonuses, more 

Christie's expands in California and Boston, E&V snags Bay Area leaders, The Agency opens in Portugal, Cupid loves Side, RE/MAX grows and more brokerage news.

Updated November 3, 2023
8 minutes

Editor's note: The brokerage business is a busy one, with frequent moves, mergers and milestones. Here we highlight some of the latest activity among brokerages across the U.S.

Christie's goes big in California, adds affiliate in Boston

Michele Harrington, First Team Real Estate.
Michele Harrington, First Team Real Estate.

Christie's International Real Estate has made some key partnerships and team recruiting wins in California, establishing itself as a major player in that area's shifting brokerage landscape in 2023.

In Orange County, Christie's affiliate First Team Real Estate ended its year by adding more than $800 million in agent business, much of it coming from the dissolution of Corcoran Global Living.

"Having access to Christie's International Real Estate's global network, while still being part of an independent, family-operated brokerage where we can deliver personalized and attentive service to our clients, puts First Team in the best position for long-term success," said Michele Harrington, chief operating officer of FirstTeam in a news release. 

Chris Trapani, Christie's International Real Estate Sereno.

The Los Gatos-based real estate firm Sereno has recruited more than $1 billion in new agent business since joining Christie's in February 2022. Chris Trapani, Co-Founder and CEO of Christie's International Real Estate Sereno, was recently named among the top 100 most powerful people in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Another key move happened in November, when top-producing Beverly Hills agent Aaron Kirman announced he was leaving Compass to start his own brokerage, AKG, under the Christie's International Real Estate banner.

Thad Wong, co-CEO of Christie's International Real Estate, noted that many of California's independent firms have shuttered over the years due to competition from large public companies, and Christie's can offer the "home-grown" culture agents enjoy. "If given the choice, agents prefer local ownership," said Wong.

Slater Anderson, LandVest.

Christie's is also expanding on the East Coast. New England-based LandVest Christie's International Real Estate is opening a new office in Boston's Back Bay.

LandVest is one of the largest independent real estate firms in the region, with 2022 residential sales volume of more than $800 million. 

The new office will be led by Slater Anderson, managing director of real estate, and will open in March with a team of agents who "will be household names in the city's luxury residential market," said Anderson.

EXIT Realty allocates millions in bonuses to support staff

EXIT Realty is delivering bonus payments to support staff in EXIT brokerages across the U.S. and Canada. 

A provision in the company's business model known as the EXIT Formula sets aside a portion of every transaction fee received by the corporation to be held in a special fund and paid out annually to the administrative support staff in the brokerage where the real estate transaction was closed. Tami Bonnell, Co-Chair of EXIT Realty, said that number now exceeds $6.8 million.

EXIT Realty's Founder & Chairman, Steve Morris, believed so strongly in the importance of skilled administrative staff to the successful operation of a real estate company, he built the bonus structure into the company's business model at its inception with bonuses to be paid directly to individuals who work for the independently owned and operated brokerages within the EXIT Family. 

Nita Basham, office administrator at Realty Crutcher in Kentucky, commented, "At EXIT Realty, everyone from the Broker, the Regional Owners, to the support staff from EXIT Corporate has inspired me, and because of my admin role, the inspiration has spread far. I am so thankful that we as admins are seen and valued."

San Francisco real estate leaders switch to Engel & Völkers

Robert Brisbane and Randy Romero, both formerly with Vanguard Properties, have joined Engel & Völkers

Robert Brisbane and Randy Romero, Engel & Volkers.

Brisbane will serve as regional president of the San Francisco Bay Area markets, while Romero will be the manager of the San Francisco Castro office. Both will be under the leadership of Paul Benson, who operates more than 30 shop locations across the West.

"Robert has the experience, relationships, and reputation to lead the next chapter for Engel & Völkers in the San Francisco Bay Area," said Benson. "With 12 Northern California locations and growing, I am excited to have Robert lead the way by focusing on our company culture and overall client experience as Engel & Völkers has done for 45 years in 31 countries."

"Randy brings to our team years of real estate experience and an energy and passion for a vibrant and productive office culture. I am excited to watch Randy help grow the San Francisco presence of Engel & Völkers in one of Engel & Völkers most important markets," Benson said.

The Agency says olá to Portugal

Global real estate brokerage The Agency has launched its new franchise office in Lisbon, Portugal. 

Ayres Neto, The Agency Portugal.

The new locale is the firm's second office in Europe, following The Netherlands, which launched in 2022. The office joins the brokerage's growing network of more than 70 offices in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. The Portugal office will be led by industry veteran and managing partner Ayres Neto.

"We're thrilled to expand our presence in Europe with the launch of our new franchise in Portugal," said Mauricio Umansky, CEO and founder of The Agency. "Ayres Neto is one of the most celebrated real estate authorities in the country of Portugal, and we are confident that he will serve as an incredible steward of our brand and culture as we enter this dynamic and sought-after market."

The Agency has rapidly expanded its presence across the globe throughout the past year, opening 27 new corporate and independently-owned offices.

Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican expands management

Sandy Early was recently named the new regional sales manager at Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican in Florida.

Sandy Early, Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican.

With over 24 years in the industry, Early, previously with Coldwell Banker, was named 2014 Manager of the Year for Northwest Florida and 2022 Best Broker on the Emerald Coast.

"Sandy is a welcomed addition to the management team at Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican," said Jerry Sullivan, broker at Blue Marlin Pelican. "Century 21 AllPoints Realty, covering all of Connecticut, and Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican, covering Northwest Florida, recently announced a strategic partnership that marks a major expansion for both family-owned, real estate brokerage powerhouses. This partnership allows both companies to join forces and leverage each other's strengths in order to provide our agent base and clients with the best tools and service. Talented and experienced professionals such as Sandy are crucial to our overall success."

Cupid Real Estate finds a match in Side

Silvana Dias recently announced a partnership between her brokerage, Cupid Real Estate, and Side, a real estate technology company that exclusively partners with high-performing agents, teams and independent brokerages.

Silvana Dias, Cupid Real Estate.

Dias founded Cupid Real Estate after 17 years at Long & Foster making deals across Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Her reputation for exceeding client expectations, closing complicated multi-offer deals, and her extensive knowledge of ever-changing markets have earned Dias a referral-driven business and numerous awards.

Cupid Real Estate will serve the Washington metropolitan area.

"Partnering with Side turbocharges our efforts to help clients elevate their lifestyles and build wealth through real estate," Dias said. "Now that Side supports us through their state-of-the-art marketing, technology, administrative, and legal services, we can focus on providing our signature brand of world-class customer service."

RE/MAX grows in the Sunbelt and Midwest

Joe Sisneros, RE/MAX Elite.

Longtime agent and broker Joe Sisneros has brought his Scottsdale-based business to RE/MAX. Formerly known as JS Real Estate, Sisneros and his team of 20 agents will be doing business under the banner of RE/MAX Elite and serving both the residential real estate and rental markets.

"The housing market is changing, and I knew aligning with RE/MAX would add exposure and brand recognition to sustain our office's edge," said Sisneros.

In addition to his interest in joining an established brand, Sisneros cited tools and technology as a motivator for his move. "The RE/MAX suite of marketing tools for homes has never been better, and leading industry technology will help streamline the real estate process for my agents' clients. I'm proud to join a brand with a proven track record of productivity and look forward to growing my roster of experienced agents," added Sisneros.

Meanwhile in Chicagoland, RE/MAX Ultimate Professionals, based about an hour outside of Chicago in Shorewood, IL, had added two top agents to its team. Judy Archer and Leah Kapsimalis together bring more than 50 years of local real estate experience to the firm led by broker/owner Kathy Dames.

Judy Archer and Leah Kapsimalis, RE/MAX Ultimate Professionals.

Archer began her real estate career in 1989 with Coldwell Banker. "After 30 years with the same company, it was time for a change and to take my career to a higher level," Archer said. Kapsimalis pointed to the franchise's reputation as a key factor in her move: "RE/MAX Ultimate Professionals has a proven track record of being the number one real estate company," she said. "It was important to me to be with the best of the best!"

RE/MAX Ultimate Professionals closed over $331 million in sales in 2021 and is consistently ranked as a top office in Northern Illinois.

Get the latest real estate news delivered to your inbox.