Why You Should Consider a Boutique Real Estate Brokerage

Economists will tell you that a large business is often more efficient than a small business because of economies of scale. Those happen when you gain savings in the cost of doing business by having increased production. But does this map onto real estate brokerages and teams in the same way? Let’s examine that idea.

Increased production in a firm happens because the company has developed systems to reduce overlap in worker output. Essentially, they turn people into assembly-line workers. Each person has a defined set of responsibilities, and if they take on others, the system falls apart. This works very well in many business models, and you can tell pretty quickly when a restaurant, for instance, doesn’t have this in place. Hostesses will be running to fetch drink refills, waiters are bussing tables and taking orders from another section. Managers are trying to herd cats, and the customer ends up waiting longer than necessary. There are very good reasons many businesses adopt systems that reduce coworker autonomy and agency in order to increase production, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

So why wouldn’t you want to work with a real estate team or brokerage that employed this model? Because real estate transactions are a little more complex than a food order. With a large team or a brokerage like Redfin, those systems do increase productivity and profit, but we’ve found that customer satisfaction often suffers. When the transaction goes smoothly, no one notices the partitioning of responsibility that happens behind the scene at a team, but what about when it doesn’t? That’s where the cracks in the business model start to show.

Just as an example, we’re currently working with a buyer who has a budget of well over $1 million. She is interested in a home that is under construction and had questions. I reached out with her questions to the team leader, who referred me to his admin coordinator. She didn’t respond the first time (very busy!) but eventually said she’d ask the builder the next week. The builder never got back, and the admin didn’t either. This is one example of where partitioning of responsibilities doesn’t work best for the customer but certainly does for the Realtor’s bottom line and sanity. He has so many irons in the fire that a $1 million+ buyer isn’t a top priority.

Another thing to consider – how will you feel when you get passed around as a client? When buying a home with a team there might be a “showing agent” who gets you into the house. Then you might talk to the “lead buyer agent” when it is time to draft an offer. Then, once under contract, your main contact might be the team’s “closing coordinator.” Efficient? Perhaps. But it’s likely not the experience most conducive to customer satisfaction. 

Our priority is to simplify the buyer and selling process. Strictly speaking, Steph and I are a real estate team, but we are also husband and wife. We are in constant communication throughout the day, and we discuss transactions over dinner, in the morning during coffee, while driving to the restaurant. When I’m in the field and my client wants comps on a home we just saw, I can ask Steph to run them while we continue to look. Many times, they’re in the client’s text or email before we arrive at the next showing. This is possible because we aren’t trying to do a mega-volume business, we’re trying to do high-quality transactions that leave our clients thrilled and in the home they wanted, not the home we sold them on.

Check out our reviews, and give me a call. We’d love to discuss your next home sale or purchase, and whether we’re the right brokers for you. If we’re not, we likely know who is.

James Crawford

James Crawford



James has been working with our buyers since 2014. Clients love his forthright demeanor and quick wit. In his free time he enjoys cooking, tabletop games (he’s an unapologetic geek), and sipping single malt scotch. 

cell. 615-482-5244