The big-thinking broker

It often seems that things happen to brokers.

The market happens. Zillow and Trulia happen. NAR policy decisions happen. “MLS scope creep” happens.

The broker is often positioned as a rung on the innovator’s ladder of ambition, or left holding the bag for costs others shed.

But it is not always so. In fact, in our work we come across brokers who are innovating, improving and acting all the time. I’m going to write about them more. Some will be clients (like Pacific Union, below), others won’t be. Please let me know if there’s a company we should know about.

If you are in the real estate brokerage business, you need to know Mark McLaughlin.

Mark is CEO of Pacific Union, a Northern California brokerage with 550 agents.

He bought Pacific Union from GMAC in 2009, when just about everyone was hunkered down, not making moves.

What has happened since then has been remarkable to watch.

In a little over four years, sales volume has more than doubled. GCI is through the roof. A first-class management team has been assembled. The company eats market share for breakfast.

All of this began well before this year’s buoyant market lifted real estate fortunes.

I tell you this because Pacific Union has just done something pretty remarkable: they’ve created and launched an outstanding software application. It’s a hybrid CMA and listing presentation tool that’s not a retread of someone else’s worn down product, or a hack job done on the cheap.

The new app, called the “DLP” (for Digital Listing Presentation) enables a Pacific Union agent to create a visually stunning, data-rich presentation that can be presented via a native iPad app, sent to a client or prospect as a website, or delivered in print format.

Think about that: native, Web, print – all connected seamlessly in a beautiful app tuned to the Pacific Union brand.

But most importantly, the DLP is a technology play by a brokerage not content to have its imagination or strategy constrained by others. Mark and his team are very clear about what they want for Pacific Union. Then they go get it. It sounds simple, but it’s not.

Here’s just a look at the DLP app:




No, not every brokerage can make the kind of investment that Pacific Union made here. But the mindset is the thing here.

Like I said, you need to know Mark McLaughlin.