For many real estate agents in Tampa Bay, 2022 felt like a “Jekyll and Hyde year,” said Doug Loyd, broker and owner of Florida Executive Realty.
For the first half, homes were getting snapped up in the blink of an eye, with sellers receiving dozens of offers over asking and buyers foregoing their rights to inspections. Then by the third quarter, things began to slow as rising mortgage rates priced many buyers out of the market.
Despite dealing with rapidly shifting economic conditions, these five real estate firms across the Tampa Bay area say their agents are prepared to weather the storm. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group, Century 21 Beggins Enterprises, Engel & Völkers, Florida Executive Realty and Smith & Associates Real Estate were all ranked among our 2023 Top Workplaces. Here’s what they’re doing to make sure their employees remain successful even in a transitioning market.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group
At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, agents are treated not just as sales people, but as small business owners.
“Many agents who come to us don’t have past experience in the business world,” said Casey Bryan, president of BHHS Florida Properties Group. “Now they’re managing portfolios for customers that are worth potentially millions of dollars.”
The company places an emphasis on professional development and financial management to help agents become bonafide entrepreneurs. They learn everything from how to file taxes to monitoring their cash flow.
None of the brokers sell properties themselves. That allows them to direct all their energy to managing and coaching agents.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group:
Location: 20 different offices including Clearwater Beach, South Tampa and Wesley Chapel
Employee comments: “I love my job because I am my own CEO and still have the backing, marketing and continuing education from BHHS FLPG.”
“Leadership and ownership truly seem to care about concerns that come up. You get a chance to voice your opinions and they are seriously considered. There’s room for collaboration and advancement in the company.”
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Century 21 Beggins Enterprises
Each Monday and Friday at Century 21 Beggins Enterprises starts off with a team meeting. Agents, staff members and sales managers alike come together to discuss what’s going on at the company, talk through questions and concerns and learn from each other.
Craig Beggins, the president of the group, said it’s important for himself and his team of managers to lead from the top down and take a hands-on approach to the job.
“That holds our agents accountable and gives them a reason to get excited to come into work,” he said.
Whether they’re throwing quarterly events to celebrate the top earners or providing a shoulder to cry on for employees who have had a difficult month, managers at the company agreed that Century 21′s strong network of support has driven the group’s success.
Century 21 Beggins Enterprises
Location: 8 different offices including Apollo Beach, Indian Rocks Beach and Madeira Beach.
Employee comments: “I have been a Realtor 18 years at Beggins. I have the ability and education I need to be a Top Realtor and make as much income as I need. I am encouraged to work towards my goals. When the market changes we change with it.”
“I have a great President and Managers that care about our business. And always go the extra mile to cover all the topics in Real Estate Market. I believe that all the education is important.”
Engel & Völkers
Real estate can be a crowded field, with thousands of agents vying for a limited number of listings. Cherie Pattishall, license partner and broker of Engel & Völkers’ offices in South Tampa and Madeira Beach, said her company teaches broker associates to set themselves apart by building expertise in a specific area of real estate.
“We really encourage them to develop a niche that gives them a competitive edge over someone who may be more of a generalist,” she said.
For Jeramiah Bustin, that niche is waterfront property. Though he had nearly 20 years of real estate experience before joining Engel & Völkers, he said the company has still helped him to develop as a professional.
“I’m continually learning things about the business and absorbing new information that will help my clients,” he said.
Engel & Völkers
Location: 3 offices in Belleair, Madeira Beach and South Tampa.
Employee comments: “I am free to work as I feel, Not required to follow corporate scripts when contacting a client. I never feel excluded and there are no dumb questions. I am respected for the work I do. My Broker is a leader and not a boss.”
“I feel a part of something bigger and have the tools necessary to provide my clients with the best possible service.”
Florida Executive Realty
When dealing with an industry that’s constantly fluctuating, “we need to be ahead of the market, not chasing it,” said Shannon Calcines, vice president of operations for Florida Executive Realty.
To achieve that goal, her company started to invest more into the analytics department. Calcines said the move helped Florida Executive Realty predict and prepare for the current market cool down.
Dee Strom, an agent who has worked for the company since 2014, said having access to a wide array of predictive tools and market statistics has helped her to better serve her community.
“We want to help people make the most informed decisions for their family,” she said. “That’s why we study the market.”
Florida Executive Realty
Location: 6 offices including Brandon, Carrollwood and New Tampa.
Employee comments: “Being highly trained to assist our clients is very rewarding when we come to the closing and beyond.”
“I have incredible mentors, my best interests are their best interests.”
Smith & Associates
When Abby Grimaldi started selling real estate nearly six years ago, her end goal was always to become a Smith & Associates agent. That dream came true in 2021.
“Working at Smith means being surrounded by the best in the industry,” she said.
As a family-owned business, Smith & Associates has strong ties within the Tampa Bay community, said vice president of real estate, Nikki Phillips. The company’s deep network opens up new doors for many agents and gives them a competitive edge.
Phillips noted that her agents average around $7.6 million in sales. “That’s much higher than what’s typical in the market,” she said.
For Grimaldi, the best part of working at Smith & Associates has been the collaborative environment.
“Through the highs and lows of the business we all come together to lift each other up.”
Smith & Associaties
Location: 6 offices including South Tampa, St. Petersburg and Westchase
Employee comments: “The people care about each other and there is a culture that promotes excellence, integrity and community involvement.”
“I feel Smith embodies what family is all about in a corporate setting.”