Brokerage beefs up services to stay competitive

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As sell-by-owner listings become more and more popular, realty brokerages have been scrambling to broaden their offerings and stay competitive. The Red Pin is one of those brokerages, having just added a mortgage arm to become a full-service home-buying firm, guiding its clients through the entire process.

“When speaking to the founders, they call themselves a technology company that happens to sell real estate,” explains Mark Olkowski, the principal broker for the Red Pin Brokerage. “And now we’re a real estate company that happens to sell mortgages.”

The Red Pin is a unique realty brokerage. It derives 95 per cent of its business from online and its full-time agents are not paid a commission. Instead, they work on a salary and earn a bonus based on customer satisfaction.

“It’s all about the agent doing what they do best: showing and selling properties,” Olkowski says. “So they don’t have to worry about finding the next customer. They can focus on making the customer happy.”

Currently, the Red Pin focuses on real estate in the GTA and surrounding areas. The plan is to take over Ontario before spreading as far as British Columbia, according to Olkowski.

The Red Pin teamed up with RMAI, who will provide the back-end support for its mortgage brokers.

“I’ve worked for several brokers before … and RMAI just really had what we needed,” Olkowski said. “We wanted to maintain the brand and we needed that back-end support for payroll and deals and everything else so it suited us for what we needed to make it work.”

The Red Pin’s customer-centric approach will, hopefully, carry over to the mortgage business, which acts as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Red Pin Inc. While the Red Pin will not be funding the mortgages, it will maintain control over the process, simplifying it for clients.

“It’s to fulfill the entire experience. We want to make [the buyer] in control from the beginning to the end,” Olkowski says. “People love buying houses – the exciting part is finding it and buying it, people enjoy that. The experience is better when they have the financing in place.”