From Inman News Blog:


Office Obsolescence
Some large brokerage companies have reported office closures, consolidations and “rightsizing” to trim operating budgets and stay in step with the changing real estate market. Officials at Realogy, the former Cendant real estate company that is now an independent publicly traded company (though a possible sale to a private equity firm has been announced), had announced a plan to cut $60 million in annual operating expenses through office mergers, consolidations and closures in 2006, for example.
Budge Hurskey, president and chief operating officer for Coldwell Baker Residential Real Estate Inc. in Florida — a region that includes about 170 offices and 7,500 sales associates – told Inman News that his division “consolidated a number of offices” in 2006. “In most cases, an office that has been consolidated was located in a market area where we had multiple facilities in close proximity as a result of previous acquisition activity. And while we have reduced the total number of branch offices within the state, we have not reduced the reach of our effective service areas, nor have these decisions resulted in any measurable decline in our sales force.”
Hurskey also noted that while the company has consolidated some offices, “during the same period … we have moved to acquire three additional companies and opened up new locations.”
Officials at Prudential California Realty had announced an initiative that included a rethinking of its agents’ use of office space. A company official had told Inman News that the days of many rows of agents’ desks in real estate offices have passed.
Some new brokerage company models, too, have decentralized offices and office functions to allow agents to work more from home or in the field using Internet and mobile technologies.
The “cubicle farm” real estate office appears to be more of an endangered species than a cash cow.
Glenn Roberts Jr., Inman News

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