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Matt Morgus

Interview with Compass CEO Robert Reffkin: San Francisco Real Estate Podcast

Interview with Compass CEO Robert Reffkin: San Francisco Real Estate Podcast

Interview with Robert Reffkin the CEO and Co-Founder of Compass.

On this episode of the San Francisco Real Estate Podcast I interview Robert Reffkin, the CEO and Co-Founder Compass. Listen as we talk about the recent acquisition of Paragon Real Estate and Pacific Union. Get Robert’s opinion on how why having such a large piece of San Francisco market share will ultimately benefit the consumers of real estate. Listen to Robert’s take on skepticism surrounding Compass and its fast growth. Hear how Robert and his Compass team recruited some of the best real estate agents in the country.

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin with Co-Founder Ori Allon

The excerpt below is from the San Francisco Real Estate Podcast interview with Robert Reffkin from Compass.

I think a lot of people in San Francisco, buyers and sellers of real estate, consumers of real estate here in San Francisco, have a ton of questions. First I want to say congratulations on the recent acquisition of Paragon Real Estate and Pacific Union. You once told our San Francisco office the story of your experience meeting with Softbank in Tokyo.

Would you mind talking about the recent Compass acquisition of Paragon Real Estate and Pacific Union. How did these deals come about? 

I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, I grew up in Berkeley, went to high school here and San Francisco has a very special place in my heart.

One of the reasons we’ve invested a lot in San Francisco is because its a city that is watched around the country and the world. If things can be successful here they can work anywhere so that’s really why it’s been a big part of our focus.

I met with the heads of both Paragon and Pacific Union at different points this year and both meetings didn’t start with an idea that we would merge. When we spoke, in both cases it became clear that we were doing the exact same thing. We are all trying to help out agents, working so hard with them, as our primary client, and really reinventing the wheel multiple times over and that if we were to just come together we would be able to help invest more in building the future for our agents. I think there's a feeling that there's not an agent or a brokerage firm that is created in the future of the brokerage business that we operate every day but that coming together we would be able to do so.

What percentage of market share does Compass now have in San Francisco and in the Bay Area? How does this benefit buyers and sellers?

We have over 30% market share in San Francisco.

There are different definitions of the Bay Area but we have more market share in the area than any other company.

The way that it helps buyers and sellers is the more we can get great agents in one platform and in one company, the more it will help them. Here’s what I mean, the number one driver of the experience for a buyer or seller is the quality of their agent. Period. Of the fifty things it takes to sell a home a seller may do 2 or 3, and the agents can do everything else, they are their advisor.

At Compass, what we’re doing is we're giving agents much more support, more marketing, more technology to allow them to better serve their clients.

What would you say to people who are skeptical of Compass having a bunch of cash in the company’s pocket, willing to spend it, willing to invest it in real estate agents and the brokerage community?

My only clients for me at Compass are the agents and they have their own clients, buyers and sellers. So from my client’s (agents) perspective, I think they should be rallying behind Compass because we have effectively a billion dollars of money to invest in their future and nobody else is investing. All of the other money that’s going out there is to discount agents, devalue agents, replace agents and so there’s no reason to be cynical. If you want to be cynical about Compass, it’s almost like saying, hey, let’s just give up. Haha. Because no one else is building.

Unfortunately the financial model of a traditional brokerage firm hasn’t been able to generate enough money to invest, in a meaningful way.

If you are an agent, you’re gonna want to dream about the future of your small business because every agent is the CEO of their own company.

If you can dream about the best world you can have, the best kind of support, the best kind of market, the best technology, the best culture, the best community, the best referral network, the best platform, the best digital insights and mobile tools, if you want to dream that out, there’s only one company that’s trying to create that, even trying, and that’s Compass.

I understand the instinct of skepticism but I think there’s never been anything great in life that’s been driven by fear. It’s driven by positivity, by big dreams.

Every company you respect, big or small, every product that’s been created, was someone’s dream. It wasn’t someone’s fear. It wasn’t someone’s skepticism. I’m an entrepreneur, with my clients being entrepreneurs, I try very hard to encourage our team, agents and our employees to be big dreamers.

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin with COO Maëlle Gavet.


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