Future of Real Estate: Eddie Berenbaum
For this next installment of the Future of Real Estate series on Union Street Media’s YouTube channel, Rachel Allard, Senior Vice President of Strategy, chatted with Eddie Berenbaum, Founder and President of CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty. CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty is the third largest CENTURY 21 brokerage in the country and has experienced rapid growth under Berenbaum and his co-founders’ leadership. Click the video above to watch the full interview with this visionary leader.
Nearing graduation from Pennsylvania State in 1997, Eddie Berenbaum received a phone call from his friend, and now business partner, Shawn Milletary. Milletary convinced Berenbaum to interview at the brokerage where he was currently working and he “immediately fell in love.”
After working for Richmond American for a few years, Berenbaum, Milletary, and Nick Pasquini, Berenbaum’s childhood friend, saw the need for a company where client representation was the priority. Berenbaum reflects, “we’d think ‘wouldn’t it be great representing the buyers and we could help them navigate through these situations?’” In November 2002, Redwood Realty was founded. Then, after growing steadily for several years, Redwood Realty became CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty in 2006, allowing them to open more offices and expand their services.
Fast forward to now, CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty is constantly innovating. They recently partnered with Union Street Media and kvCORE on a new website design and build. When asked what companies can and should do to innovate now, Berenbaum says look at ways to highlight “coming soon” elements and constantly build interest in a scalable way. For example, have listing marketing ready to go and even start the process before you have a new listing. “You’ve got to be able to get that inventory all queued up and follow an organized process,” he explains.
Berenbaum also says that innovation now is identifying buyers in order to find out who’s selling. “That’s where the innovation is going to be — to continue to service and advance the sale of people that can create their own branding solutions, but also that tap into these companies like Opendoor and Knock,” says Berenbaum.
When asked how he knows whether their innovations are paying off, Berenbaum cites his agent relationships and overall sales. He says that for them, it’s loving “the heck out of agents that you are with and you have to help them sell more houses.” He also says meeting with agents from other brokerages to bring them onto their team is essential for growth. Berenbaum says you have to have “really good ancillary services that not only drive profit to your bottom line, but more importantly, enhance the agent experience.” Ensuring agents want to join CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty is key.
Berenbaum also talks about understanding success by looking at your failures. Lead generation and budgeting are important areas to understand deeply. “You have to pay a lot of attention to what is your cost per lead and how long does it take to convert and what’s going to be your ROI,” he explains.
When asked how the pandemic impacted CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty, Berenbaum says that it’s “expedited changes that were already in the works.” The shift to working from home also allowed his team to get more comfortable connecting with each other online, something that Berenbaum says he doesn’t see going away.
“The best agents are equipped to handle rejection, brush themselves off, get back out, and get it done.”
CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty also pivoted their sales strategy to include an hour of prospecting everyday. They realized that it was easier to connect with customers working from home. As a result, they’ve seen more engagement and had more follow up. Berenbaum also talks about the dashboard he created to make it easy to recognize top performing agents and motivate everyone to participate.
Though he thrives on uncertainty, Berenbaum acknowledges the constant change in the industry can be unsettling. For instance, it’s scary to some to think about the iBuyer model possibly replacing the need for an agent. Berenbaum encourages others to see the advantages in uncertainty and to flip their mindset. He explains that a better mindset is “how do I make sure this person does not replace me? If they’re such a significant threat, why are they going to replace me and how can I beat them?” Or, as with competitors or new models like iBuyers, ask “how do we partner with them?” When you embrace disruption and focus on ways to both service your customers in traditional ways and offer new services, you succeed. “When the iBuyers come to DC,” Berenbaum says, “my brokerage is going to be perfectly ready to either get to the consumer first or partner with them there.”
Learn more about Eddie Berenbaum and CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty at https://www.c21redwood.com/