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Brokers Continue to Pinch Pennies

Even though the good times are back, savvy brokers are still keeping a lid on costs.

(Boonton, NJ, May 13, 2015) — The real estate market has returned to health, but many brokers, chastened by the depth of the Great Recession, continue to pinch pennies.

Real Estate Broker’s Insider asked three brokers about the lessons they learned from the Great Recession, and how they’re applying them to their companies during the recovery.

Jim Imhoff, chairman and chief executive of the 1,350-agent First Weber, has placed a higher priority on cost containment over the past seven years.

He has cast a keen eye on the cost of his offices. In one case, he combined two offices that totaled 13,000 square feet into one 5,500-square-foot location.

And in smaller markets, Imhoff has introduced a hub-and-spoke model that uses tiny offices to serve small towns.

In some cases, he says, First Weber can operate an office for as little as $200 a month, so long as it’s a small space with no staff. The location gets management and support from another, bigger office in a nearby town.

Imhoff has also been looking closely at the leases on his offices. In some cases, he found that annual cost-of-living increases favored landlords and pushed his rent to above-market levels, he has been renegotiating his contracts.

"I’ve been passionate about resetting leases," he says.

More on brokers cost-cutting moves appear in the May issue of Real Estate Broker’s Insider.

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