Sixty-three years later, Josephine’s grandson, Andy Gallardo, changed course, deciding that a large brokerage company could offer what his small family company could not.
“Since I’m small, I have to pay a lot more so that we have all the technology you need in this business right now,” Gallardo said. “I’ve always paid for new technologies to keep up with the times.”
On July 14, Gallardo dumped his grandmother’s now 37-agent firm into Compass, a New York-based business founded in 2012 as a real estate technology company.
“They have a marketing team of 50 or 100 people,” Gallardo said. “I had one marketing person.” He said that by curtailing with Compass, “we got access to all of their marketing, to all of their technology.”
Homebuyers have long since moved from buying homes through plush seats in a local real estate agent’s sedan to conducting most of their online searches, and the industry has rapidly developed in the same direction. Compass intends to capitalize on this change, and firms like Gagliardo find they have to choose whether to move on.
Gagliardo is the second deep-rooted suburban property firm to sign with Compass this spring. In May, the fourth-generation family members of the Griffith, Grant & Lackie Company, founded in Lake Bluff in 1903, joined Compass as a 27-member Griffith, Grant & Lackie group.
Brad Andersen, whose grandfather’s uncle, John Griffith, was the founder of the firm, calls the agreement a “strategic alliance.” Andersen said that by not selling their firm, they tapped into an “incredible marketing and technology platform.”
Using the dedicated technology portal Compass, an agent who uploads photos of their latest ad can quickly create branded brochures and advertisements, Andersen said. The portal also includes a comprehensive CRM, or customer relationship management system, for every aspect of the relationship with home buyers and sellers.
While retaining a name that has built equity in the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff communities for over a century, Andersen says they are clinging to their “legacy brand as local market experts.”
Other suburban boutique agencies that have joined Compass include Smothers Group Realty in Lagrange in 2020 and Hudson Company in Winnetka in 2018. In the city – Compass. acquired Conlon Christie’s International Real Estate in 2018 and Real estate consultants in 2020.
“We didn’t have the means to have engineers constantly improving search engines,” said Joan Hudson, who transferred her 18-year-old firm Winnetka to Compass in 2018. “You can’t be a mom and pop shop anymore because the demand for information and the demand for speed have increased. To keep your customers happy, you need to keep abreast of the latest advances. “
For Compass, boutique recruiting is a way for Compass to grow its business with “established players who are well-known in their communities,” says Fran Broad, a longtime head of a real estate brokerage firm in Chicago. joined Compass in August to drive growth in Chicago.
Compass reported in July that it now has about 1,400 agents in the Chicago area, up from 860 in 2020. This is an increase of 63 percent. Growth was not only driven by acquisitions of small firms; the agent teams switched from other brokerage companies to Compass, and new agents signed up as well.
Inbound boutique firms “are attracted by the Compass technology package, but they want to be able to maintain their well-known local identity,” Brode said.
In addition to easy-to-collect marketing materials and promoting their ads, Brode said, Compass agents can get instruction and advice at almost any hour on how to promote a home on social media or how best to advertise individual home amenities.
“It’s very important for them to be able to tap into this talent pool,” Broad said.
Not all boutique firms are convinced. “Technology is very important, but there is also brand awareness and personal connections that our agents make,” said Larry Reedy. “This is an agent-driven business, not a technology-driven business.”
Reedy is the president of LW Reedy Real Estate with 90 agents, a still independent brokerage company founded in 1951 by his grandfather, also named Larry.
Reedy said people often walk into the firm’s York Road office in downtown Elmhurst to display an old yellow LW Reedy t-shirt they found in a box or to remember buying a house in Elmhurst 40 years ago. Agent L.V. Reedy.
This connection, he said, is “consistency, closeness.”
Reedy said he is trying to keep the firm up to date with the latest technology, and “it hasn’t been without a fair amount of research.” It uses one firm for digital marketing, social media, and other forms of in-house advertising, and another for the LW Reedy website, where customers can search for information about a company or agent.
Also maintaining its independence: JW Reedy Realty in Lombard, founded by another branch of the Reedy family in 1928 and now run by his grandson John Reedy.