We at WeAgentz have always been promoters of the collaboration between real estate agents, a collaboration that must be born both between the agents of independent brands and between those of the franchising groups and real estate networks, whether it is the most famous Tecnocasa, Re / Max, Gabetti, Toscano or BeHouse matters little. Just as we are avid supporters of professionalism and good reputation which, starting with individual agents, should continue to permeate the real estate world for healthy growth of the sector, brands and professionals who gravitate around the Italian Real Estate planet and beyond.
We are pleased to note that a new real estate group, born only a few months ago, seems to have taken our same interests and objectives to heart, so much so that it presents itself on the market as the most modern and revolutionary Made in Italy network in the real estate sector. We are talking about BeHouse, the Almond Italia brand born on the initiative of the founder Andrea Anedda.
To better explain the BeHouse project, we reached out to the founder Andrea Anedda, who explored the dynamics of the network with us, analyzing the functioning of the franchises in Italy and the differentiating elements that distinguish the new BeHouse group. Here is a very detailed and in-depth interview for you.
Andrea, thank you for being here with us. Tell us about your background in the real estate sector and what was the spark that led you to create the BeHouse brand.
Thank you for the opportunity you offer us to make our project and the BeHouse brand known.
I started working in the real estate sector at the beginning of 2006 in a well-known Italian franchise, for about 3 years, in which with dedication and passion I obtained important results and awards that have certainly contributed to creating the foundations for my entrepreneurial path, which I started independently. at the end of 2008 when I set up my first real estate company and created my first brand, Capoluogo Immobiliare, but I will not dwell on this and I refer for further information to some publications that can also be consulted in the Millionaire magazine in November 2014.
Before answering the question, if you allow me, I will make some premises that I personally consider important, which led me to create a new project with the help of esteemed professionals.
A first premise relates to the real estate market which today is characterized by many proposals for franchising or similar affiliation by both SMEs and large companies, which however do not actually allow a high level of autonomy and which actually have a hierarchical structure that objectively limits the work of the new affiliate, except in exceptional cases determined by high turnover.
Second point: beyond the low or high entrance fee at the time of joining or a more or less economic monthly royalty, you are still bound to purchase all the merchandising from the parent company, which in my opinion only in very few cases it is modern and with a layout suitable for today’s times, which can hardly be customized with your own business despite having creative and interesting ideas with respect to the offer of the parent company.
Third, the tools provided to affiliates, for example management systems and web portals, are technologically obsolete or outdated and in most cases they are developed by third parties, thus preventing them from determining an adequate level of customization and also suited to specific needs. . The upgrades generally take place every two years and are rarely the result of a design study, but rather of an attempt to align with competitors.
Fourth point, and I will not go further, in the market a certain mistrust has long been created in the role of the real estate agent and in the work of the agencies, regardless of the brand used or the slogans that are promoted, to the point that today we turn to a mediator is the last option considered by the potential client, who therefore considers it superfluous or burdensome to rely on this professional figure. This is because, in my opinion, it is also necessary to re-establish ethics in the profession and clearly raise the quality of the service, so that a person can be decisive, informed, happy, serene in evaluating the professional’s support and consequently pay him the right commission.
Having said that, BeHouse’s mission is to be able to create a network, therefore a real estate network accessible to all operators involved in the sector with precise specifications and which certify a solid professional background, built with passion, determination, but I also reiterate with a ‘ relevant ethics; I believe that our project is a healthy and fresh proposal in the sector. Hence the spark to start a new project, a new idea, which was born and proposed on the national market at the end of October 2016 behind my precise investment will to set up a real network that involves real estate agents and agencies, so that we can really raise the level of customer service quality, making available to all the protagonists the necessary tools to be able to operate with the characteristics already described above. So basically with a high degree of professionalism and innovation not only from the point of view of the technical tools used, but also with a new method of customer management and a well-identified style of planning and preparation of work and sincere hospitality.
I believe, if I may allow myself, that you too with WeAgentz have seen it necessary to support people, potential customers, in evaluating the professionalism and reliability of the real estate agent to contact, considering that in most cases, potential customers they are ordinary people, who with sacrifice and few resources have to make an important choice, sometimes unique in their life. how is the purchase of a house or a possible rental solution suited to your needs. I believe that we cannot think only of profit and try to close the business in every way, because this risks further distancing the credibility and trust placed on the agent, thus discrediting the professional figure. Certainly your project will reward the many professionals who are there and who work with transparency and passion; we know that the Internet, today, is certainly the most important means of communication in the world to inform oneself and to draw one’s own assessments.
You introduce yourself as “the most modern and revolutionary brand in the real estate brokerage sector”. What do you propose that is so modern and revolutionary?
I would like to clarify that we present ourselves as “the most modern and revolutionary Made in Italy network in the real estate sector”, I underline Made in Italy and of this, with the right humility, we at BeHouse are proud and it is a source of great pride for us. We don’t want to go on with slogans or boasting numbers to gain the trust of operators and customers. For us today the important thing is to go to the substance, regardless of numbers and percentages to be displayed for advertising purposes only.
We have focused strongly on new ideas and solutions that we believe will be successful and, with patience and continuous work, we are optimistic that we will see the results in the short term.
We define BeHouse a modern brand, because we present ourselves with a fresh, essential and direct style, analyzing the good things that have been done in previous years by third parties and by competitors, but adding what we believe are the right innovations for a prompt modernization. It is enough to have a broader overview to easily see, even on the Internet, that most agencies and brands have not yet renewed even the layout and web structures, in an era conducted commercially by the web and social networks.
In BeHouse we think that adequate communication and a modern presentation via the Internet are the basis for starting a project, so that those who want to acquire information about the brand can do it with pleasure, immediately but also with the necessary rationality; I invested mainly in a young and specialized technical team, able to offer a layout, graphics and therefore a contemporary style, in step with the times and accessible to all from mobile devices, now in use in a greater percentage than even the notebooks or classic desktop PCs.
We develop in-house, taking advantage of the good that had already been designed and present on the market, a multifunctional web-based management software exclusive for Real Estate with an extremely intuitive touch concept.
A system that integrates a back-end in the user-friendly mode available to agents, from the simple request by a customer to the digitization of forms through a cloud system designed in detail, from the digitized archiving of property documents to accounting management and invoicing in a simple and immediate form able to be assisted and shared in real time by accountants and professionals connected to the agent to receive managerial support for the activity, performing and continuous.
We consider the proposed and integrated solution for the management of the real estate portfolio interesting, a complete and immediately shareable solution on your own web page or dedicated mini-site and on the entire platform; we also thought it necessary to concretely build customer loyalty by providing them with a reserved area that offers up-to-date information on their requests or the services for which they have entrusted and trusted the agent or agency exclusively. We certainly believe that the BeHouse technological project is modern, which connects all these operational and production processes in a single cloud dashboard, that is, having all the information and documents always available and at hand even with tablets and smartphones as well as from a PC. with any browser, thus favoring the dynamism of the agent’s activities, who therefore have a perfectly operational virtual agency at his disposal, in the same way as the physical one. To support, we also offer a dedicated secretarial service for managing calls and appointments. But I don’t push any further otherwise I run out of cartridges! I’m joking, obviously.
Continuous. What is revolutionary is the change in style, form and organization. In addition to our concept, pass me the term, “agent 2.0”, in BeHouse we focus a lot on training and spreading a new culture of the professional. I’ll explain. We have found that many brands or agencies still recruit young people or novice staff, passing them some basic information with the primary objective of growing the number of affiliates, sometimes creating the mindset of easy earning and presenting them with continuous awards, certificates, gifts. , award plates, etc … to stimulate the agent. There is nothing wrong with this, for heaven’s sake, but we prefer to talk to professionals, transfer hunger for work culture, in-depth knowledge of the sector, human and professional growth, requesting from the agent only 5% of the recognized commission. We do not impute fixed costs to anyone because we believe that we must be their partners first and not a debit item in the balance sheet, much less have the hateful function of the parent company, in my opinion, obsolete and increasingly declining.
It is interesting what we found from one of the BeHouse internal surveys launched on a national scale, asking people interviewed by telephone or via the Internet to express their experience with an agent or real estate agency. I reveal to you that unfortunately, the final figure indicated that more than 70% we interviewed did not have a positive experience for various reasons or in any case not according to expectations and, among the main reasons expressed in the negative opinion, there is inexperience, the lack of availability, uncertainty, insistence, inconclusiveness. These are only part of the critical issues for which we should all ask ourselves self-critical questions, and which certainly have their roots in the wrong approach to work,
Let’s make a complete overview of the BeHouse network: what do you do and how do you do it?
We first invested in the staff, professional and technical within BeHouse; we have carefully formed a multidisciplinary team of professionals, each at the head of a specific operational department, see, for example, Real Estate, Marketing, IT, Training, Legal, etc …
This is because we strongly believe that in order to achieve real success it is necessary to invest in human resources, in excellence, but finding a perfect balance between young graduates and established professionals, who can operate at their best in the growth of the brand and obtaining results. fixed.
We have a team dedicated to the development of the brand which, through a careful selection, has been directly contacting the profiles of our interest between agents and agencies active in Italy since February 2017. We thus propose our BeHouse partnership offer with elegance and seriousness, presenting and listing our services and then sending them the information and contractual documentation … and I will tell you that we really have many contacts and profiles open at this moment, which we are evaluating. Many listen to us with pleasure, especially after we specify that BeHouse is not a franchise, but an Italian network that brings together certified professionals who, united by a brand, a modus operandi and a common working philosophy, with their own management autonomy.
We, therefore, do not require any entry fees or monthly royalties but, as I said, only 5% relating to the turnover obtained from intermediaries, so the agent can use the strength of a network, benefit from the advantages and services of the BeHouse brand, retaining 95% of the parcel recognized by the real estate brokerage.
This is why we use the term “revolutionary”, because no franchise brand or other network recognizes such a high percentage of its agents, without imposing fixed costs and we deliberately do not create an economic exposure to the professional or agency, if not limited to the success of the negotiation, I repeat, for only 5% of the commission collected. 95% goes into the agent’s pocket.
Our formula is of “pay little and only when you collect”, and we continuously invest in the research of innovation and marketing in the common interest.
Those who adhere to the BeHouse brand also benefit from a web page totally dedicated to their real estate business, a modern page where their properties are presented which are also visible in a complete and clear digital file, always available to customers. The agent has an advanced management system integrated with the web portal, a professional secretarial service exclusively associated with him and many other specific dedicated services, such as the daily upload of his ads in the main advertising portals, an activity that requires a lot of time.
We provide all the advertising and representation material, the signs and the BeHouse forms necessary for the management of the various operational phases, moreover, everything is managed and stored in the cloud so that it is always searchable and usable by the agent and his collaborators at any time. , even off-site or in multiple branches alike.
Our marketing and design professionals are available to always find the best solutions to best present themselves with the individual customer or with business groups or builders to evaluate the specific presentation of particular properties in the market and are also always available to advise a restyling of the agencies which are not required to change their name or furniture, if not the only condition of making the BeHouse brand visible to the public and therefore promoting the network itself.
How many professionals are currently involved and in how many agencies?
On 31 December 2016, in just two months from its launch, 10 agencies and 22 operational BeHouse professionals are part of the network. Today 40 candidates are being considered that we hope will be the figures we are looking for in the national territory. We have already reached preliminary agreements with other agents pending that they can release themselves from the contracts previously signed with other brands and finally be active in the BeHouse network.
Certainly, we are aware that distrust can arise, because we do not have a history behind us nor, to date, we are widely known, but we believe that with competence and professionalism we can obtain visibility and transmit the project in its entirety and with enthusiasm. . We have agents and consultants in the BeHouse managerial staff with decades of experience, which undoubtedly are an added value to overcome the first obstacles and that they bring within their entrepreneurial background or affiliations to well-known brands.
Let’s imagine it’s just a starting point. What are BeHouse’s territorial expansion objectives in the medium and long term?
The projects are very ambitious and certainly require continuous and intense work. During the first year, we would like to be present in a homogeneous way throughout the national territory, therefore present in all regions, from there to continue the search for professionalism and excellence in the sector. Not everyone can freely join the network today. We do not want to be selective at all costs, but we believe it is necessary to maintain a quality protocol to defend our vision and our mission and transmit them accurately to everyone. For us it is important to select who will be part of the team, therefore we evaluate the background and reputation of agents and agencies based on our internal selection and shared with professionals specialized in this.
The BeHouse brand must reach levels of excellence, otherwise, there would be nothing left of revolutionary and there would be a risk of being homologated to the many existing brands. Try to request information from one of these, it’s simple, pay and enter. Then you are formed, then you will start to see results, then you will be part of a big family, then you will have the yellow tie and no longer the purple one, then you will have the bigger pin etc … then… but this is not a guarantee of excellence nor much less than the quality of customer service, and above all, first you get into debt and then you will see, perhaps, the profits. For heaven’s sake, business risk is this, we too have it and we know it perfectly, but we believe that not all agents are good entrepreneurs or have this mentality and propensity for risk;
Like any company, we at BeHouse also constantly look at turnover, but we still believe in certain values and we are in love with the quality and aesthetics associated with the professionalism and passion of a real estate agent.
To conclude, in the medium term we would like to be present with the BeHouse brand in all the main cities of Italy and, in the long term, we would like people first of all to regain confidence in the role of the real estate agent and fully understand that to rely on the right brand. it means being supported and protected constantly. I gave you a poetic closure because we have so much passion… and also not to reveal too much immediately!
Turning to readers who are potentially thinking of becoming real estate agents, or to professionals in the sector who are looking for new work experiences, what are the characteristics you are looking for in an agent to be included in your staff?
First of all, we are looking for competent agents and professionals who, thanks to the acquired experience and constant preparation, are able to respond to the questions and needs of the various types of customers with seriousness and knowledge of the facts, knowing how to read the market with objectivity and competence and who have a good organizational capacity and a good reputation.
Today, for example, we are evaluating many profiles of agents that we believe are truly capable of offering a contribution to the growth of the network and to the sector in general, because they are also capable of being creative and hungry for professionalism, driven by the passion in the sector. This selection of agents who have the listed characteristics, for us is the first form of guarantee that we offer to BeHouse customers, who will be able to render merit according to the service received and the benefits that will derive from it.
How much do you think a real estate agent’s work can be affected by his reputation? How does BeHouse stand with respect to this issue?
I believe that it is essential to have an excellent reputation, I believe that this should not be optional. We at BeHouse insist on a change in culture and mentality, because unfortunately, even from what emerges from our studies and surveys on a national scale, it is clear that the agent or agency has lost credibility and that, at times, it has obliged to contact them only for the product of interest. We forget that the agent is also important as a consultant to be able to better evaluate and advise the customer in the purchase or sale, for example. This is why consultants and agents work in synergy with us.
Today, reputation travels very fast if the Internet is considered an immediate and global information vehicle. Think of Facebook, as the main mass media in the world, which conveys information and comments. I sincerely appreciate the WeAgentz project and I assure you that we will promote it, because it is necessary that there are also reliable sources and that we know how to reward work.
In the BeHouse membership contract, we specify that anyone who does not respect our ethical and professional code cannot be part of the network, and would eventually be immediately excluded. For this reason, we have a monitoring department that requires continuous feedback from customers. In life you can make mistakes, let alone, but in work, a good reputation is synonymous with reliability, guarantee and professionalism and often the mistake has consequences. We want to reduce the risk of error with a well-structured organizational model. The customer, therefore, becomes the first partner, because in turn, he is the first commercial promoter of the agent and the agency itself.
2016 will close with an increase in sales and widespread signs of recovery in the real estate sector. From your experience in Real Estate, how do you interpret these data and how do you expect the real estate market to evolve in 2017?
I agree! 2016 was a positive year because the signs are encouraging, but certainly, the meeting point between supply and demand is determined by several factors and it would take too long to enter into the merits. However, I believe that the data in 2017 will grow significantly, from what we have found from some projections analyzed with our consultants.
What do you think is missing from the Italian real estate ecosystem to fill the gap, especially from the cultural and technological point of view, compared to English-speaking countries?
The BeHouse staff and I made an obvious but important analysis. Everyone is desperate for visibility and success, we are all careerists. Often in franchising methods and strategies are imitated from English-speaking countries but with an Italian mentality that is often deleterious. We all want to be Donald Trump, at least this is a role model. Nothing bad and not bad! But it is utopia, we are all different in nature and attitude, with different experiences. Utopia is often sold, not quality. We must work constantly aiming high but without losing as a reference that professionalism offers continuity, while with us sometimes the important thing is to close the deal, then if the customer has not been served well, he will not speak well of his experience so as to determine a negative word of mouth. You closed the deal,
At BeHouse we believe that in order to overcome the cultural and technological gap, it is necessary to be inspired by an organizational model that has also made school in other sectors because it is functional to any market, namely the Hub and Spoke model, not the Franchising one.
It is necessary to rediscover the true potential of the network, especially today and in Italy. The agent’s investment capabilities, his economic resources, are first of all very limited.
How can a true professional emerge if he does not possess investment skills? It cannot emerge or it must go into debt. While those who sometimes have capital to invest, however, do not know how to do this job seriously. Pay attention that in the franchise formulas nothing is free, for this reason many today become independent, or we hear experiences that show distrust for any partnership because in the past they were burned. However, becoming independent limits the growth capacity, and there is a risk of not being up to par with the agencies affiliated with the big brands. This is why BeHouse is a unique and certainly alternative proposal.
In this case, why did we apply the Hub and Spoke model? Because, if you look at the successes obtained with this methodology, there is to be optimistic, and because it is well suited to the critical issues of the real estate market as well.
There is no risk that you will present yourself as an alternative and revolutionary network, but still yours remains a classic franchise affiliation in all respects?
No, and I’ll explain why.
The Hub, therefore the center and the reference, is BeHouse with its organizational structure, its professionals specialized in the various real estate subjects, who represent the excellence of the brand, while all investments are addressed by Hub, that is, by BeHouse. Spoke (the spokes) are instead of all the agents present in the area, who can rely on an excellent structure always at their disposal to be able to operate at their best and in total autonomy, without resorting to any investment and therefore without paying royalties, but concentrating on the needs of your client and being able to offer him any kind of multi-specialist service or consultancy at any time, for example, to receive a legal opinion, an architectural, construction one and so on.
We provide all our agents with a dedicated and personalized training project, also in collaboration with European-level university centers, which certify training with sector-specific development projects. We truly believe in culture and training, because it is the basis of the growth of every professional and of the brand.
How to overcome the gap? It takes a radical change of mentality, a team game even between agents and brands, and not ruthless competition with the sole aim of canceling the other party. It takes new ideas and a lot of shared training. It takes a continuous dialogue between the protagonists to improve and restore people’s trust in the role of the real estate agent. In English-speaking countries, they collaborate in various forms and have the ability to know how to change and adapt rapidly to market changes, precisely because they know how to confront each other and because competition is aimed at improving and growing, not eliminating competition. One grows and everyone grows. This is the internal philosophy of BeHouse: the network grows, the professional growth.
In Italy, perhaps, we do not want to change too much and perhaps we do not actually see the gap or we do not care.
With BeHouse we would like to carry on this new track and present a successful and excellent Made in Italy brand. We will see if we succeed, but I am optimistic by nature and many start talking about our brand even in the competition asking us for information, this is a good sign. It means that we don’t sing it and play it alone.