This Real Estate Company Is Transforming the Industry By Helping Agents Keep an Active License
Dana Jensen started out helping people buy and sell homes when he became licensed in 2003
As many new agents quickly discover, selling real estate is a highly competitive business. With over 1.5 million agents in the US right now, it's become more difficult than ever to stand out from the crowd. But with low-interest rates and high demand fueling the current housing market boom, a record-breaking number of new agents are jumping into real estate sales every day.
However, the industry is going through a major disruption. Services and websites such as Redfin and Zillow are changing the way consumers are buying and selling properties. For such a big industry, the real estate market feels particularly vulnerable to advancements in technology and could be one new app away from turning the entire industry upside down.
For these reasons, many agents realize that a career in real estate sales is no longer desirable, and they exit the industry. But regardless of whether an agent has been selling real estate for three months or 30 years, most have invested a significant amount of time, money and resources into getting their license.
At this point, most agents simply let their license expire or move it to Inactive status with their state to avoid having to pay unwanted fees, dues and expenses. But once this happens, the agent no longer has any ability to make money with their real estate license.
This is the dilemma that Dana Jensen tried to solve with his company, Realty Connect. Like most agents, Jensen started out helping people buy and sell homes when he became licensed in 2003. But when the housing market crashed in 2007, Jensen found himself in a difficult position.
"I wasn't prepared and had to take a break from real estate. But I thought I failed, and it hurt. I hated telling everyone I quit. I had worked so hard for my license, but just couldn't afford all the MLS fees, Association dues & Realtor expenses. Without these, no broker would hire me. Why would they? I didn't fit their model." Jensen explains.
But Jensen understood he was not the only agent who was caught in the middle like this and recognized this gap in the market as a unique opportunity. During his research, he discovered that tens of thousands of agents were exiting the industry every year. Unfortunately, most were just letting their licenses expire or go inactive.
"I wanted to give agents an easy and affordable way to keep their license and make money without all the stress and adversity of sales or having to pay MLS fees, Association dues & Realtor expenses." -Dana Jensen
This became the inspiration for his company, Realty Connect. When the market recovered a few years later, Jensen opened his first office in Reston, VA.
However, Realty Connect is different from most brokerages. Although his agents hold Active real estate licenses, they do not engage in helping clients buy or sell homes personally. Rather, they refer their clients into his network of over 50,000 top-rated agents, who represent the client and conduct the entire transaction. In exchange, his agents earn 25-75 per cent referral fees depending on the type of transaction.
This innovative business model allows Realty Connect agents an easy & affordable way to keep their license Active for only $100 year without all the stress and adversity of sales or having to pay MLS fees, Association dues & Realtor expenses. Jensen adds, "When I first started this company, everyone laughed at my idea. They never thought it would work. But I was able to prove the concept, and now more than 1,000 agents join Realty Connect each year!".
The average referral fee his agents earn is $3,200. Since they can refer in all 50 states, most agents make 2-3 referrals each year. Jensen states "Most people don't know that over 70% of all real estate transactions in the U.S. are generated by referrals every year, so we're just trying to own that space.".Since the launch of his firm in 2015, Jensen has expanded his company to 9 states making Realty Connect the largest independent real estate referral brokerage in the US. However, Jensen still has ambitious growth plans and will be in 16 more states by the end of 2022.