Posted by Nicolai Kolding
On July 3rd, I proposed three floorplans for a residential sales office. I’ve taken all of the comments that followed into consideration and would like to offer up just one more plan:
Marc Diaz and Marc Davison each had some great suggestions. “Marc’s House” (boy did I get lucky they each have the same first name) has a second washroom, workspace up front, and a conference room brought forward from the back wall. Taking to heart comments on environmental branding, my Better Homes and Gardens response is to furnish the office appropriately and expand the kitchen a bit. Imagine the buzz in your office as people gather around sharing ideas over homemade lasagna! Thanks for all the feedback; I think we together came up with something pretty cool.
For any broker considering any of these ideas, a thorough weighing of all of the benefits and risks is probably in order. To help get this started, I created a simple spreadsheet (to save and edit it yourself, click on the link at the top-right of the page that opens). Here you can input your costs (reconfiguring the space; buying new technology, furniture, and appliances; and other capital expenditures) together with the benefits (most notably, the reduced lease cost). There’s also a placeholder for any anticipated change in production (do you think this move will draw more traffic to you? will you attract new agents? will you lose any?). It all builds to a calculation of your projected ROI and payback period which I hope is helpful to to anyone seriously considering this.
What are some of the objections you foresee and how can they be responded to? One I’ve heard already is that most agents want a dedicated workplace they can call their own – space is needed, especially for paperwork and personal belongings.
One response I propose is to incorporate tasteful lockers or cubbies for safekeeping (noted as “C” in my drawing) while allowing everyone to hang personal photos around the office. I think doing this adds to the idea of a relaxed, open, and conversant office which would benefit consumers and agents alike.
Clearly each agent and broker has to weigh whether or not this makes sense, but I urge all to think beyond the immediate future. There is tremendous pressure on the model as it exists today. There is simultaneously an opportunity for a rebirth of the real estate brokerage that could ensure its long-term viability. The floorplans I’ve proposed are meant as one part of a fairly substantial DNA change.
I welcome any and all comments. Whether you agree, disagree, have made a similar change, or not.
Finally, if you missed the chance to send in your drawings last time please email me and and I will post them here.