Spokane Journal of Business

EvoReal owners grow with Realty One franchise

Different compensation model said to attract more brokers to firm

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After more than a decade of owning real estate agency EvoReal, Matt and Jessica Side have started a franchise of Irvine, California-based Realty One Group.

The pair had been investing in real estate for several years, and decided it was time to plunge into the world of brokering.

“We basically realized after several years of purchasing real estate that we really kind of had an understanding, just from being in the trenches, of how the transactions worked,” Matt Side says.

When the Sides decided to start their own real estate brokerage firm in 2005, they initially worked out of the basement of their home, Matt Side says. Within a few years, Side says, the company outgrew the basement. They purchased a 5,300-square-foot building at 1414 W. Garland, about half of which they leased out. The firm continued to grow, and Jessica Side was the top female real estate broker in the Spokane Multiple Listing Service by number of sold listings in 2013 and 2014. 

In 2017, on a road trip to Oregon to view the total solar eclipse, the Sides began thinking about what they’d like to do differently in their real estate firm.  

“We kind of ended that conversation with, ‘Maybe we should just go see what’s out there, maybe it’s time for us to expand beyond just Spokane as far as what we can do as an independent brokerage and see if there’s something else that resonates with us,’” Side says

Through their research, the Sides found Realty One Group. Side says the company’s model, which he claims focuses on allowing brokers to keep more of their commissions, immediately appealed to them. 

“We did some digging and investigation and felt like it really was what we were looking for,” Side says. “When we saw that they had it on lockdown and they were growing like crazy over the last handful of years around the nation, that was what really drew us.”

Side says Realty One Group had 70 offices throughout the nation when the Sides bought their franchise; there are now more than 140 offices in the U.S., according to Realty One Group’s website. Side says the reach of the company was part of the draw.

“We can learn from people who have done it before,” Side says. “We can build a referral network around the country and not just be isolated to local markets around Spokane.”

They officially joined Realty One Group in late 2017, branding their office Realty One Group Eclipse as a nod to the eclipse that sparked the conversation that had led them to Realty One Group. They held a soft opening last spring, and they’re planning a grand opening for May 9.

Side says Realty One Group Eclipse has 34 brokers and has been growing swiftly from EvoReal’s nine brokers. Side says Realty One Group Eclipse charges brokers a few fees to cover operational costs: $200 for every $200,000 in sale price, plus a $250 compliance fee per transaction. He says the franchise has an annual cap on transaction fees, so brokers won’t pay more than $12,000 in transaction fees each year. 

“If you do the math, even if you’re paying 20% or even 10% to your broker, that’s a significant difference,” Side says.

Jackie Knight was a recruiter for a Keller Williams brokerage team when she met Matt Side at a networking event. She had her Realtor license but hadn’t been selling real estate for a few years.

“When I decided that I was going to get back into selling real estate, I actually chatted a lot with him to help mentor me through the process,” she says.

Knight joined Realty One Group Eclipse at the end of January. She says she enjoys the flexibility the brokerage model provides.

“I knew how to do this business, I knew the tools I needed, and it gives me the opportunity to absolutely, 100% manage my business,” Knight says. “The commission that we charge is always negotiable. I have the freedom to say, ‘You know what, I’ll only charge you this amount,’ based on my business model. That was really huge to me.”

EvoReal, in the meantime, hasn’t ceased to exist. Side says EvoReal now functions as a brokerage team under the Realty One Group Eclipse umbrella.

Side says Realty One Group Eclipse already has “soft plans” to expand.

“Spokane Valley is probably the next place that we’re going to look, shortly followed by Coeur d’Alene,” he says.

Virginia Thomas
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Reporter Virginia Thomas has worked at the Journal since 2017 and covers the banking and finance industries. As a reporter, she loves learning about Spokane's many growing industries. She enjoys travelling with her husband, snuggling with her cats, and cross stitching.

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