As the real estate industry goes through consolidation we've seen a fair amount of change in the local Manhattan Beach landscape relative to Brokerages and Realty companies. While some of the old names such as Shorewood Realtors remain albeit under new management and different locations, others such as South Bay Brokers and Moore and Associates have been rolled up, acquired consolidated into bigger, often franchise based shops.
So what's going on?
Well we're seeing tectonic changes on two major fronts.
The first is that large regional local independents that specialized in certain markets have been rolled up into even larger franchise based brands. For example Realogy, a huge franchisor, owns Sotheby's, Coldewell Banker, Corcoran, and on the lower end Century 21 and ERA. They also own Cartus which is a major relocation company serving a lot of Fortune 500 and other global enterprises. Realogy's value proposition, at least according to their website is in providing a full spectrum of services to the clients of their franchisees. Interesting.
Also in the franchise model you have RE/MAX which has long been a player in the Beach Cities and Keller Williams also a local powerhouse in some segments. I could go on about these companies but the basic theme is a) franchise based (fees to franchisees) and b) built on the old real estate brokerage model relative to the relationship between the Broker/Owner and Real Estate Agent.
Then you have some newer West Side (ie Beverly Hills based) companies such as Teles, The Agency, etc also moving into the South Bay. Maybe they noticed we have some expensive properties here.
(Full disclosure, this author is a Teles agent.)
These companies tend to fill the hyper local space previously inhabited by the Shorewood Realtors, South Bay Brokers, etc. That is top local agents who know and work in the community and are neighborhood specialists. Consider this to be the "new breed" or Real Estate 3.0.
These companies are usually much newer entrants, built from the ground up on technology and offering their agents a full menu of services to support the agent as opposed to foist all related real estate services on the client.
And therein lies the difference because from this perspective if whatever you are doing does not benefit the buyer or seller, why bother?
The consistent theme I have heard from Manhattan Beach Buyers and Sellers alike is that they are looking for representation that:
Knows the market
Can effectively negotiate on their behalf
As those are individual agent skills based on experience, the role of the Broker in this App/Internet/Zillow driven world has declined to a great extent.