In a down market, it’s all about positioning for the up one.
Take real estate. After a spell of office closures and clamp down on spending, there’s word once in a while of a Long Island real estate firm opening a new office.
The latest word comes from Charles Rutenberg Realty, based in Plainview.
After four years on the Island, Rutenberg last month opened a third office, in Valley Stream, and its broker owner, Joe Moshe, above left, is working on a West Sayville debut for the fall and a Great Neck area location by year’s end.
Moshe said he’s busily hiring 30 to 40 agents a month and will end this month with 870 Long Island and Queens agents on the books.
“We want a presence in each community,” he said.
Hiring endless numbers of agents and opening in more locations are doable because his firm doesn’t follow the traditional models.
First, except for the Plainview base, his offices are like satellite locations, small and basically bare, places where agents can meet clients instead of on the field. That’s a major money saver over most firms, which have brick-and-mortar office with all the works and a desk per agent.
Second, the Rutenberg style allows agents to keep 100 percent of their commission -- a big draw in today’s market -- instead of the traditional 50-50 or so split between agent and broker. But Rutenberg agents must pay $39 per month for support and operations and $350 per sales transaction, which takes care of recording of deeds and more.
If his master agenda works over the next five years, Moshe’s crew will make up 15- to 20 percent of agents affiliated with the Long Island Board of Realtors. He estimates he’s at 5 percent now.
“I’m optimistic about the market turning over the course of the next two years, of which we will be positioned in this marketplace,” the broker said.
More than that, the real estate world may soon be less physical. Moshe suggests more firms will copy the satellite model to save money and adapt to the way consumers search and close on homes in the 21st century.
“You don’t need the walk-in office anymore,” he said. “People don’t shop that way anymore. People shop on the Internet. The day of the ‘up system’ is over . . . where people sit in the office and when the person walks in the office, it’s ‘Who’s turn is it?’ Like a car salesman. That’s how real estate used to work.”