The way forward for independent brokerages is going to be increasingly tough, said Nick Segal, president of the residential brokerage Pacific Union International’s Southern California division, in an interview with Inman to discuss the state of the industry and the launch of his new self-help book “On Your Terms.” Pacific Union agreed to sell to Compass in August, the news surprising a number of competitors across the country.
“The independent brokerage is going to face a very, very difficult time in the next three to four years. They don’t have enough money to invest in the growth of the business, their key people are going to start to realize they need to sacrifice the relationship with the brokerage (and go to a bigger firm),” Segal told Inman.
Just this week, Compass announced another $400 million in venture funding from the mega-investors at the SoftBank Vision Fund. Still, Pacific Union’s agreement to sell to Compass shocked some of the California real estate community who thought the large brokerage was big enough to fend off the competition with a sales volume of $14 billion last year and a predicted one of approximately $18 billion this year.
But for Segal it was the same line of thought that drove his partners at his former brokerage, Partners Trust, to sell their eight-year-old brokerage to Pacific Union in 2017.
“When selling Partners Trust to Pacific Union, there were four companies all around our size in the same geography, slugging it out with each other against the big guys. In order to take our agents to the next level we needed more tools, tech and a greater reach. We had to align ourselves with a bigger player, that was the mindset. Selling our baby was emotional but we knew it was best for the company and for individuals who were facing stiffer competition.”
In turn, with other disruptors crowding into the California real estate scene, Pacific Union needed to align itself with a stronger player, said Segal.
The deal is done and the re-branding will happen in November. Segal said he is already seeing what the difference will be.
“Compass has its own support system which is beyond the norm. In the LA office there are 20 people there focused on branding and design –and they are smart and talented. There is no way Partners Trust could have supported 20 people in one market beyond the normal support staff and office administration. It becomes a tough hill to climb if you are not part of a larger operation.”
Segal said he had seen “great humility”at Compass among its upper management.
Segal is looking forward to expanding his pre-market listings website, the Private View market listings platform, nationwide under the new Compass ownership. The website is currently active in California with $400 million of listings.
Segal is also celebrating the launch of his new self-help book “On Your Terms,” which he spent the last four years writing with his wife Laura, a life and business coach. He hopes it be will be used as part of Compass’s training platform in the coming months. He’s been running agent workshops and training for decades alongside running his real estate business, and sees coaching as a vital part of the industry.
“On Your Terms,” self-published on Amazon’s CreateSpace and for sale for $18.95 in paperback and $9.99 on Kindle, looks at value-conscious negotiating.
“With self-help books, most give you one dynamic of the process – this book is designed to create a bridge. Unless you believe in your success, you will deflect or sabotage yourself. The book helps you get clear what you truly want from your heart and, through that clarity, people can ask for what they want, knowing that that value is what they are giving in return,” said Segal.
Available on audio, digital, print and download, Segal sees the book, described by some as a “modern-day ‘Think and Grow Rich'” appealing to real estate agents and others who are having trouble achieving the success they would like. Segal, who started out in acting — his paternal uncle is the character actor, George Segal — reads the audiobook which tells the story of some big events in his life, including the separate deaths of his parents by the time he was 14.
Segal, a former National Association of Realtors Realtor of the the Year, puts his own success in real estate on his ability to build trust easily.
“I make people feel comfortable,” Segal told Inman. “I do my homework so when I speak it’s informed. I love to negotiate and I’m articulate.”
In the book he says: “Understand the clearer you are about your priorities, the more you can spend time doing things that matter to yourself.”
“On Your Terms,” helps agents to prioritize, to define the hours in the week they spend on “non-negotiables” and then to decide what to do with the remaining time.
“The thing that scares agents the most is the hours left. ‘How badly do I want to be successful, now I’ve created the hours for myself?’ It’s a double-edged sword for some,” said Segal.
The book would be very helpful for agents coming out of real estate college ready for the next chapter of their lives, according to Segal.