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Broker Spotlight: Barbara Betts, The RECollective

Name: Barbara Betts

Title: Broker-owner 

Experience: 20 years

Location: Long Beach, California

Brokerage full name: The RECollective

Team size: Teamerage with 13 agents, 2 full-time staff 

Transaction sides: 142

Sales volume: $130 million

Why Barbara Betts is in the spotlight

After a “terrible personal real estate transaction,” Barbara Betts thought, I can do better, and got her license — what she calls a typical agent path. What started out as a way to get a little flexibility — and to help family and friends avoid bad real estate deals — quickly turned into a full-time career.

Soon enough, Betts took a “leap of faith” and bet on her team: She opened The RECollective, a self-proclaimed “teamerage” with 13 agents and two staffers pulling in $130 million sales volume. “Simply the best decision I’ve ever made,” Betts says.

“We are a hybrid model; a brokerage that functions as a team. Inside the four walls, we are a team with support, staff, marketing and coaching,” Betts said. “And when our agents go on appointments and are client-facing, all the client knows is their agent’s name. It’s not about the team. It allows team support, with individual agent identity!”  

This week, we salute her! Find out how she got to where she is today, what she predicts for the future and the thing she wishes all new agents knew, below. 

Also, don’t miss her moderating the Indie Broker track at Inman Connect New York on Thursday, April 21, 2022, as we tackle essential industry topics like: growth strategies for indies; what every indie needs to know about P&L, KPIs and margin; and exactly what is a teamerage?

Read on for the full interview with Betts:

It’s Leadership Month here at Inman, so let’s start there. What makes a good leader?

Authenticity! It’s the No. 1 trait, in my opinion, of a good leader. You have to let your agents and clients know that you are human too. Showing your team that you are not perfect — you have good days and bad days, you make mistakes — has been key to me being a relatable and connected broker.

Tell us about a high point in your brokerage career. How did you get there?

Making the decision to open one to begin with! Taking that leap of faith,  betting on myself and our agents. Simply the best decision I’ve ever made.

What should readers know about you and your brokerage?

  1. We have the best of both worlds! Being a “teamerage” allows me to provide a ton of support on the backend in marketing, coaching, transaction management and coverage when life gets in the way that you just don’t get in most worlds. Yet you don’t have to give up your identity as an agent. You still run your own business, have your own identity out in the field.
  2. Culture is everything to our team and family. We do everything based on culture.
  3. My agents are some of the most professional and ethical agents you will find in the industry. Being a super-involved broker at the local, state and national levels, nothing is a surprise to my agents. Whether it’s a new MLS rule, a new contract or form, a new business practice, my agents are well-educated always. My agents know that being an ethical professional is Barb’s number one standard.

Tell us about an epic fail you’ve experienced since you’ve been a broker. What did you learn?

Not holding to our core values. We have more than core values at our brokerage. We have core value statements. The biggest mistake I’ve made is not going with my gut when I knew someone was not going to be a culture fit.

When they violated a core value, and I had to return their license to them, I ultimately knew that was going to happen. I thought I could “fix” them, and of course, I couldn’t. I had hope and didn’t listen to my gut.

What’s your top tip for freshly licensed brokers?

Create core values, and make all decisions from them.

Have a super-detailed and tight policies and procedures.

How did you choose your first brokerage?

I am really going to age myself. I answered an ad in the local paper. I attended a career night and was impressed with how the manager spent so much time with me answering my questions and making me comfortable. I didn’t know too much about how to choose a brokerage, so I feel extremely blessed that I found such a good one to start with.

What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

I wish someone would have explained to me that you are a true business owner when you become a Realtor, meaning everything from knowing how to generate business, manage your business, manage the dollars, pay your taxes, understand a profit and loss statement.  It’s not just about selling houses.  No guaranteed paycheck and no one pays your taxes for you.

What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?

So many people get into real estate for a flexible schedule and unlimited income. I wish more potential agents understood that although you ultimately control your destiny, real estate can easily consume you.

It can become a 24/7 business with no guarantee of income. It’s hard work, you have to be a lead generator, a salesperson, a professional, a business owner. Yes, you can have flexibility and make a ton of money, but it’s hard work, super hard work!

What’s your top prediction for 2022?

We are going to see a continued low inventory environment and an affordability crisis.  Things are going to continue to move fast for agents. Agents have to remember to continue to always lead generate and understand you are only promised the market of today, for today.

I do believe many more hybrid “teamerages” will emerge in 2022 and beyond. It’s becoming very popular.

What’s one thing you wish every agent knew?

This business, whether client-facing, Realtor-to-Realtor, or your brokerage, is all about relationships.

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