RealTrending Ep. 100: Changing M&A market and key takeaways post-pandemic

Real estate brokerage buyers are plentiful and they’ve all got different goals and objectives. That’s good news coming out of the pandemic. In this episode of RealTrending, RealTrends Senior Advisor Steve Murray shares an M&A update as well as some lessons learned that can help brokerages moving forward.

Here is a small preview of today’s interview. The transcript below has been lightly edited for length and clarity:

Mergers and acquisitions: There are more buyers with more capital looking to invest in residential real estate-related services than at any time in my 35 years as a consultant. They each have different objectives, goals and methodologies. Almost every buyer looks at a multiple of EBITDA to determine the value, but some look at the trailing 12 months or an average of two to three years to smooth out the extraordinary results most brokers had in 2020. The question is, you have lots of buyers, and obviously there are a lot of owners of brokerage companies considering selling. At RealTrends, we’re also doing a lot of valuation work for teams who have an interest in this kind of marketplace. What is this all about?

Relationships with agents:  What did leaders do that helped them get through the pandemic? Well, they immediately adopted new forms of communication, like Zoom, Google Meets and Microsoft Teams. They increased the frequency and richness of what they were offering as a means to stay in touch, be encouraging and provide new information training. It also served as a way to let staff and agents know that the owners were still on top of it, we’re still watching out for them and moving forward. Sounds remarkable to me. I thought that’s what leaders of brokerage companies have always done

Lessons learned: A month from now we’ll release the annual RealTrends The Thousand and America’s Best Real Estate Professionals Rankings. To give you a preview, last year there were a record 14,700 agents and teams who qualified. This year, in the largest one-year jump we’ve seen in 10 years of measuring this, we added 25% more qualified agents and teams. Housing sales did not go up 25% in units, but the number of agents and teams who are qualified (by doing at least 50 sides or $20 million in volume) went up by over a quarter. So we’ve learned that Americans appreciate the ownership of a home, wherever it might be. Further, they appreciate more than one home when they can afford it.

RealTrending features Steve Murray, founder and partner with RTC Consulting and a senior advisor to HousingWire. He offers insight and analysis on three trending real estate issues. Steve’s 30+ years in the industry allows him to give you a deeper understanding of today’s real estate business happenings. Hosted by Steve Murray and produced by Victoria Wickham.