Vitals: Legacy Real Estate & Associates
Years in Business: 47
Size: 6 offices, 300 agents
Regions Served: Alameda County and the heart of the Silicon Valley
2017 Sales Volume: $1.6 billion
2017 Transactions: 1,800
Being raised in a real estate family in Freemont, Calif., Bill Aboumrad saw firsthand what a successful career in the industry looked like. That’s why even though he went to law school, his father convinced him to get his real estate license right after high school so that he would always have something to fall back on.
Aboumrad spent a few years putting his law degree to work, but then decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps, becoming a full-time REALTOR® in 1987. Today, he owns Legacy Real Estate & Associates in Freemont, the largest independently-owned brokerage by sales and transaction volume in Alameda County.
What sets Legacy Real Estate & Associates apart from others in the marketplace?
Bill Aboumrad: What I like to tell people is that we’re a big company, but we act like a small company. We’re large in the fact that we do a lot of sales volume and have some top agents, but the culture here feels more like a boutique. It’s the personal relationships and support we give each individual agent that differentiates us. Our agents know they can call me anytime, even on the weekends. We do a lot of things together, such as going to ball games and hosting barbecues. We act more like a family than a major corporation.
How did your market fare in 2018?
BA: The first four or five months, things were really good. The market was still appreciating from that standpoint. It was difficult for buyers because properties were being bid up and up and up, so some decided to sit it out. Now, we’ve seen a shift in the market, with our average sales price around $1 million. While we’re seeing some price reductions in the area, rising interest rates are keeping some buyers on the sidelines as they wait to see where things are going to go. The variable factor is where those rates are going to go in the upcoming months, and we think they’re going to continue to go up.
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing?
BA: On the listing side, you have to get sellers to come to the realization that the market has already peaked. If they’re thinking like they were in April or May, their thinking is incorrect. It’s a re-education process to get sellers to realize that market is gone—that ship has left the dock. They may have to consider reducing the price in order to get buyers to come in and make an offer on their home.
Let’s talk growth. Are you planning any major changes to the firm in 2019?
BA: We did open up two new offices last year, so we’re not looking to open any more offices unless there’s a merger or acquisition available out there. Otherwise, we’re really trying to grow the company organically, agent by agent. To that end, we’re focused on going out and sharing our vision and compensation package and showing the technology and personal support we have to display the value of our company.
What makes someone who works for you stay the long term?
BA: While my average agent has been with me for about 16 years, we’re able to retain them because of the personal relationships we have with them. The value proposition for them is that they know that they have direct access to me should a legal question or anything else pop up, which allows us to get the issue resolved quickly.
What does it take for you to be interested in bringing a new agent aboard?
BA: We’re putting an emphasis on hiring new licensees right out of school in 2019 and trying to bring the average age down a little bit. We want to teach some new folks the business and have them re-energize our veterans. I look for the quality of the individual. Their quality of business is less important to me than their quality as a person.
Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.
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