Altos Research Mike Simonsen Top of Mind Podcast Corcoran Stephanie Anton

Corcoran’s Stephanie Anton on What’s Next for Luxury Real Estate

By Mike Simonsen on June 21, 2023


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Mike Simonsen

Mike Simonsen is the founder and president of real estate analytics firm Altos Research, which has provided national and local real estate data to financial institutions, real estate professionals, and investors across the country for more than 15 years. An expert trendspotter, Mike uses Altos data to identify market shifts months before they hit the headlines.

In this episode of the Top of Mind podcast, Mike Simonsen sits down with Stephanie Anton, President of Corcoran Affiliates, to talk about the market for luxury homes around the world. Stephanie shares advice for how agents and firms can grow during times of market contraction, offers fresh perspectives on real estate branding and design, and looks at some of the strategies agents are using to win in this challenging market. She also provides insights into the market for high-end homes, including migration and growth patterns, and discusses what comes next in this economy.

About Stephanie Anton


Stephanie Anton is the President, Corcoran Affiliates where she oversees the growth and operations of The Corcoran Group’s global expansion through its fast-growing affiliate network. Anton, who joined Corcoran in July 2020 as Senior Vice President of Affiliate Marketing and Growth, was most recently the SVP of Corcoran Affiliates and served as the Managing Director of Global Service across five of the six Anywhere Real Estate (formerly Realogy) brands.
As President of the Corcoran Affiliate Network, Anton is responsible for leading Corcoran’s franchise business. With deep experience across franchise marketing and operations, Anton is laser-focused on helping Corcoran grow its global network while helping the brand’s respective affiliates grow in their local markets.


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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • How to grow in times of market contraction
  • Why full-service real estate is thriving
  • Fresh perspectives on branding and design in real estate marketing
  • How technology is helping realtors have more impact
  • How to run a high-end luxury brand and make it “not stuffy”
  • Three surprising markets where high-end real estate is winning - What the latest migration data tells us about the growth of the market and brokerages
  • Which agents are winning now, and what we can learn from them
  • How the consumer marketing concept of the “expandable consumable” applies to real estate

Resources mentioned in this episode:

About Altos Research

The Top of Mind Podcast is produced by Altos Research.

Each week, Altos tracks every home for sale in the country - all the pricing, and all the changes in pricing - and synthesizes those analytics to make them available before becoming visible through traditional channels.

Schedule a demo to see Altos in action. You can also get a copy of our free eBook: How To Use Market Data to Build Your Real Estate Business.

Episode Transcript

Mike Simonsen (00:04):

Welcome to the Top of Mind podcast from Altos Research. This is the show where we talk to real estate industry insiders and experts about the trends shaping the market today. Enjoy the show.

Mike Simonson here. Thanks for joining me today. Welcome to The Top of Mind podcast. For three years now, we've been discussing the lake latest market data in our weekly Altos research video series with the Top of Mind podcast. We're looking to add the context to the discussion about what's happening in the market from the leaders in the industry. So each week, Altos research tracks every home for sale in the country, all the pricing, all the supply and demand, all the changes in that data. And we make it available to you before you see it in the traditional channels. People desperately need to know what's happening in the housing market right now. The market was frozen so solid last year, and, and now that's surprisingly the landscape is, is changing again. So if you need to communicate about the market to your clients, your buyers and sellers, go to altos and just book a free consult with our team.

Let us review your local market and, and how you can use market data in your business. All right, let's get to the show today. I have a great guest today, Stephanie Anton. Stephanie is the president of Corcoran Affiliates with where she oversees the growth and operations of Corcoran, the Corcoran groups global expansion of the fast growing brokerage affiliate franchise network. Since launching the affiliate network in February of 2020, just before the pandemic, Corcoran has been recognized as one of the fastest growing franchise brands in the industry. Before she joined Corcoran, she was president of the Luxury Portfolio International for leading real estate companies of the world, also known as Leading Re. She's named, been named to multiple prestigious awards as the Swank 200 list of the most influential people in real estate, Inman's 1 0 1 List of Innovative Leaders, risk medias, newsmakers, and of course housing wires, women of influence many other industry accolades. So in short, Stephanie's a heavy hitter. well, Stephanie, welcome. And I, I wanted to have you on so that, that we could discuss the growth of the industry, what's on the horizon. you have a global perspective. we have from a broker growing, like there's so many of these dynamic things in the, in the industry that I just wanted to talk about, you know, all the things that you see out there.

Stephanie Anton (02:42):

Fun. Yeah. Well, thank you. Thanks for having me and Mike, you know, I've been a fan of Altos <laugh>, but I think it's probably 20 years I've known you <laugh>.

Mike Simonsen (02:49):

We've been out there for a long time.

Stephanie Anton (02:51):

Yeah, right. But it's just, I think you, you do a great job really synthesizing data in a really a way that people can understand and you make it relevant and relatable. And I love the Housing wire you know, acquisition of your business. And so it's been fun. So congratulations and thank you for having me.

Mike Simonsen (03:07):

Thank you. Terrific. Terrific. Okay, so let's start with Corcoran. For the listeners who don't know Corcoran as a brand, why don't you give us the, the, the quick overview? Yeah,

Stephanie Anton (03:15):

Yeah, yeah. So Corcoran is a 50 year old company actually, and a lot of people don't even know it cuz it's always been in New York, and then ultimately to the Hamptons, Palm Beach and Miami. So it's just a company that's where the company owned business is. and it's run really in Manhattan and the Hamptons for a long, long time and was started of course by Barbara Corcoran you know, well known from by many people. But Shark Tank, a lot of people don't know that. She long ago sold the business. She actually sold it in 2001 to Sendent, which then became Realogy, which is now anywhere. And funny story, she she sold it on September 10th, 2001, so the day before nine 11. Yeah. And then we launched our franchise in, as you said, February of 2020, a month before the pandemic.

So you know, when we do big things, watch out <laugh>, but it's a, you know, so it's a, it's a, it's a lifestyle brand. It's a high-end brand that has always done well in obviously, you know, really important key luxury markets in, in our country. And it's the number one real estate brokerage in Manhattan for the third year in a row. it's a, a company that I always, I, I'd say I had a crush on it from, from far away because I always loved the brand and I thought they were so creative and with the marketing and so I'm, you know, truly honored to be, to leading our growth through the franchise now.

Mike Simonsen (04:37):

Yeah. And I've noticed like and I'm sure it's part of your, your work with the affiliates as well as maybe it's like the, the, the corporate growth as well you know, seeing the brand more nationally in the last few years. Is that, and that, like, is that your work that we're talking about really?

Stephanie Anton (04:54):

Well, it's a team <laugh>, but yes, for sure. Cuz we went from five markets to over 40 markets in three years. And so, you know, being in just one centralized area versus really growing across the country and now the Caribbean and now in Europe it's been a big part of us getting the word out both to the industry and also obviously to consumers as we launch in market. So if you're in a market where there's not a Corcoran, you're not seeing our marketing because you're not gonna Dr, we're not gonna drive you to obviously if we don't have homes in that market. So usually when we turn the lights on, literally in a market, people start to feel the, the brand pretty quickly cuz it's really relevant.

Mike Simonsen (05:32):

So I can imagine. So tell me about market selection. What, what's, what do you, what's interesting for you?

Stephanie Anton (05:37):

Yeah, yeah. So Corcoran is interesting because it's, we don't describe ourselves as a luxury brand even though we are a premium brand and it's a sort of idiosyncrasy, but the reason is because a luxury has just become so overused. But b you know, we are very consumer centric. We have a tagline, which is live who you are. and it's really a lifestyle brand, and so we work at all price points, but we do really resonate in high end urban suburban resort and second home markets. And so that's really driving our market selection, is being in the right markets. Not every market places where the brand just makes perfect sense.

Mike Simonsen (06:16):

Is the, the New York City, like, I mean, I knew the brand from New York City as a New York City brand. Is that like a, a brand identity? Like is that a pole that people recognize as like a New York City angle? Is it a Barbara angle or both?

Stephanie Anton (06:31):

not so much Barbara. I mean, I think, you know, it's been a launch, it's been gone a long, long time. But I think the, the things that make Barbara, Barbara are still part of the, you know, it's a female led company. It's you know, we're very much about doing things differently than everybody else, and those things are sort of the DNA of the company. But Pam Leman, who's our ceo, she's been the company for 40 years. She's she's a dynamite and so she really kind of drives a lot of that. But the brand, you know, it is, you're right, it has New York City roots, but as we've expanded, it looks a little bit different in every market we go to. So it's not like, it doesn't look the same in Hawaii that it does in Manhattan. and so technically it's a franchise, but it, i I kind of describe it sometimes as a quasi franchise because we localize it with the help of the, the affiliate that we select in that market.

Mike Simonsen (07:23):

Oh, that's interesting. And, and what kind of, what kind of angles get localized? What does that mean really?

Stephanie Anton (07:27):

So for example, we have a relationship with a, an Italian illustrator named Simone MAs who you would recognize his work from, like the New Yorker. And there's it's illustration. And so we do an illustration with the, when we, when we bring a company on they sign, we work with them very closely to customize an illustration for their market. We animate it, we make it part of their ads. And so in Hawaii as my example, it's a, it's a hula girl, you know, that's not something we would ever use in Manhattan. It's certainly, you know, very different than what we use in, you know, Athens, Georgia, which is the home of the Georgia Bulldogs. So that's part of the illustration. So it's cool because we can still be independent and localized, but have a sort of sophistication and being able to take kind of advantage of the group buying power and the, the brilliance of our cmo.

Mike Simonsen (08:15):

Yeah, neat. That's, that's that, that is yeah, like a sophisticated marketing that can sometimes be hard to find in real estate.

Stephanie Anton (08:25):

you know, it's, that's, that's a whole other topic. But I, you know, it's, it's funny because I think, I think the business has come so far in the time that I've been, you know, focused on high-end real estate marketing. But it's great to see, I mean, I start to see so much more taste, so much more sophistication, so much more elegance in real estate marketing than we saw even five years ago. we still have a long way to go, but it's fun to see us happening with Corcoran, which is not in any way a stuffy brand. It's, it's it's very much like, you know, you're in the Bay Area, right? So it's more like your, your hoodies and sneaker kind of luxury than your arama thai kind of luxury.

Mike Simonsen (09:03):

All right. I like that the and I have seen, I, like I, I can see market share in San Francisco, so like, there is, there's definitely stuff happening here that's really a fascinating, it's always the broker market share challenges are always fascinating for me to watch. And, you know, over the last 10 years, like some of the real surprises and some mega growths in, in the branding and, and you know, and the bay areas had big shifts over the last 10 or 15 years,

Stephanie Anton (09:34):

Probably the biggest

Mike Simonsen (09:35):

Yeah. In, in who has a market share there. That's been really, really fascinating to watch. So, so that actually leads me to a question like, we're now in a period of contraction for realtors anyway. and certainly I've, I've certainly the last six months in, in the whole industry, but, but like how does, how do you think about, so like you're in charge of growth and a lot of growth is like, you know, putting markets and people in there to do the work in what is, so what is that, what is the world of, of working with real estate agents and, and running the business that way? Look in a period of contraction

Stephanie Anton (10:12):

Yeah. In, in, when we're in such an interesting moment in the evolution of the business. So we're really only three years into the franchising. and you know, starting in the pandemic and we came out of the gate really strong. and then the market, you know, went off Cliff <laugh>, and so we've, we've had sort of highs and lows. Yeah.

Mike Simonsen (10:32):

Like I'm a genius, like, look at all the great work I'm doing. Yeah,

Stephanie Anton (10:36):

That's it, right? You're right. Everyone sort of took all credit for that, but you know, it's I actually don't see contraction as a bad thing. you know, I think we had, when we have limited inventory, and you probably have a better pulse on the inventory problem than anybody else, but, you know, fewer people competing for listings is not a bad thing. I think we also got pretty bloated in the business. And so you know, I think as the business changes you know, there's a ways that you can be selective and thoughtful about that. But your question about growth, I think growth is the number one thing I think about every day. And I'm, you know, I'm really proud of the growth that we've had on Corcoran. but part of the way we've done that is we've focused on growing.

I, I sort of describe it as outside in and inside out. So obviously we're looking at bringing on new affiliates in new markets but I have target markets and if I can't find somebody in a market, I'm just not gonna do the market. I'll just move on to a different market and then come back. and so that, that's kind of one pillar then obviously recruiting essential to the whole conversation. And then one of the things I think we're doing really well is we're helping our affiliates grow through either recruiting or by m and a. And so the m and a piece actually has become one of my favorite parts of the job, and it's just healthy to have a lot of avenues and opportunities for growth so that when one sort of slows you have opportunities to pick it up in other places too.

Mike Simonsen (12:04):

Yeah. And does, does m and a does that suddenly get, get cheaper? Like is that a path to growth these, like, this year, like, is there suddenly there's valuations change and things like that?

Stephanie Anton (12:17):

For sure. I mean, you know, people aren't making the kind of money they were making two years ago, and nobody's evaluating a company on 2020 numbers, you know, 20, 21 numbers. It's crazy. People are doing a blend of maybe the three or four years before that, but no one's gonna give you a, a 10 multiple on your 2021 number <laugh>, right, right. <laugh>, if they, if they do take it and run Yeah. <laugh>, you know, so yeah. So, but I do, I think that things are, there are more opportunities because I think people unfortunately are just out of their, out over their skis. And so the, the smart brokers, I think, you know, have some money in their coffers and they're strategically buying right now.

Mike Simonsen (12:53):

Yeah. That that, that of course happens in those cycles, right? We, we, it's a boom and bust industry. And so that, that certainly happens in that time. you mentioned that you were when we were talking that you just come back from Italy, so tell, tell me about international, the global expansion and, and is the world on the same cycles as the us boom and bust wise?

Stephanie Anton (13:17):

Yeah, so interesting. so yeah, we, in, in 2021, we launched our first Caribbean affiliate, so technically international <laugh>. And obviously it made sense because of the markets we were in, and then that lifestyle piece of it. And then we just launched our first affiliate in Europe in Italy. And interestingly, it's in Lake Garda, which some people may or may not even heard of, but lake Garda is between Lake Como and Venice. it's on the north side of Italy and it's near Germany. So a lot of the buyers there are German. In fact, I was joking, people kept asking me like, expectancy Deutch, because I have the blonde hair and I look German <laugh>, you know, but absolutely 100% inventory was the biggest thing they were complaining about. They said, you know, we've got buyers, we just don't have the inventory. So you know, I think it does change country to country and politics and economies and all of that. But you know, part of the reason this company joined us was because they want help with growing. they wanna move to new markets. So the same things that the US companies, this is a 50 year old family company, and you know, to pick right now to join a franchise, it just, the, the, the challenges are very similar.

Mike Simonsen (14:27):

Interesting. Yeah. and the, it, it has been wild to watch some of the big, I don't know Italy at all, but the, some of the big markets that, that are, have been in they've been in super boom boom pricing and tight inventory. and you know, we talk about I tight inventory in the US and we've been under building, but it can't be all under building because it's tight inventory everywhere in the world. So I suppose in a place like Northern Italy, it's not really a new construction market.

Stephanie Anton (15:00):

there's some certainly, but it's more, it's not like high rises. It's, it's like high-end luxury homes and some spectacular ones, by the way. but yeah, no, I think it's, you know, but materials, right? Pandemic caused materials to go up all around the world, and so the cost of building went up, and so the cost of acquisition goes up. And so it's that sort of classic supply and demand.

Mike Simonsen (15:21):

Yeah. Interesting stuff. so, so I'm, I'm curious to get your take on the US market and like we've, you know, it, it slowed way down this spring. there was some green shoots there. Tell me about what you're seeing, what you're like, what you can tell me, like via the franchises, like what, what do you see on the US market this year?

Stephanie Anton (15:44):

Yeah, I think to your point, right, so things slowed down. I think spring we saw some things picking up a little bit. It depended on the market, but I think things in the west of the US have been much more challenged than the East for sure. you know, maybe sort of the Rockies West into Hawaii. you know, obviously we're still in a uniquely challenging market. I think the mortgage rate stabilization, no matter where it lands, is gonna continue. And, you know, you know, it's so emotional, right? So when mortgage rates are going up and down and crazy, people are just frozen. And so I think, you know, the the stabilization of mortgage rates is, is already, I think we're seeing some things getting a little bit better there. But you know, as we were saying, personally, my biggest concern is inventory.

You know, in some markets we see the market off north of 50%, and that's really due to lack of inventory. And obviously it's sellers that are not willing to, they're, they're, you know, tied into these 3% mortgage rates and they don't wanna put their homes in the market. But it's also, as you said, builders having, you know, been impacted by the pandemic. And so yeah, I think that the economists all seem to believe that the second half of the year will be better than the first two quarters. I think I suspect the summer is likely gonna continue to be pretty slow to sort of how things are as we're going into may. hopefully the pent up demand will make it a more robust fall market. I don't have a crystal ball, but I'm hopeful. <laugh>,

Mike Simonsen (17:10):

You're hopeful. That's good. Me too. we you know, do you, have you noticed, so we have broad trends in, in the US of course. and, and you know, we had as rates rose, you know, one of the challenges is the affordability challenge. Like, home prices went up a lot and then rates went up. Does affordability impact the, the, the luxury or the high end stuff that you guys do? Is it, is it a different equation or do you, is that part of the, is that part of the discourse with the brokers and agents?

Stephanie Anton (17:44):

Yeah, no, it definitely is part of the discourse. I think that luxury has always impacted a little bit differently than everything else. You know, I think ultimately when you're dealing with a discretionary purchase, the drivers are different. You know, we have a population of people that have now not inherited their wealth. They've worked really hard to achieve success, and then a generation below that are beginning to inherit wealth. And so it's this interesting combination of where wealth is building from, and people in the pandemic, just people who had money made a lot more money, and, you know, they can afford what they want and so they buy it. But you know, they also don't wanna make bad decisions <laugh>. And I think, you know, we sometimes, you know, you look at like a Warren Buffet and people are like, oh, he is so cheap. Well, how do you think he got so wealthy? Right? He makes good decisions. And so I don't think wealthy people are making foolish decisions. but they're, if they want it, they'll buy it, put it that way. but they're not gonna overpay and be stupid about it.

Mike Simonsen (18:42):

Right? Right. And so, and so, even if they could afford it, it still feels expensive and they still pull off and don't make the decision. No, don't make the, they're gonna make a call No, not to.

Stephanie Anton (18:53):

Right, for sure. I mean, and the cost of money is expensive. And so if you're, you know, like oftentimes someone who buys a, you know, a multi-million dollar home will buy it in cash, usually, you know, often as much as 75% of the time. but then they'll get a mortgage and because money is cheap or it was cheap, and so, you know, those same people are, are still locked into a mortgage and they don't wanna, again, make foolish decisions. So yeah, it's interesting.

Mike Simonsen (19:15):

Yeah. that that is a, it, it is it it'll be really fascinating to see you know, if we roll into recession, you know, we've like, it's been signals for it, but we haven't gotten there yet. Do you, you have a, a take on not what, not, I mean, I'll, I'm interested in your take if, if one's coming, but, but also, like what happens to the industry and to real estate in particular, you know, in a recessionary environment right now, we've just had to slow down because of rates, but what happens about it in a recessionary environment?

Stephanie Anton (19:50):

Yeah, I think it's just we hit a massive pause. And if you look in history, that's kind of what we've seen in the past too. And so people probably move out of the business and to focus on other things for a few years. And, you know, I think it's a worst case scenario, and I'm really hopeful it doesn't happen. but I feel like there's a lot of smart people working on this <laugh>, and we're skirting it so far. So, you know, I mean, I suppose technically we haven't, I, right. There's been quarters where we're technically in a recession.

Mike Simonsen (20:14):

Yeah. Okay. Well, that's great. I appreciate that. So, so let's talk then about you know other elements of the, the, the trends that you're seeing out there, like other big trends that, that you know, we've, that, that are like impacting your business or that, that like things I should be paying attention to out there.

Stephanie Anton (20:36):

yeah, I think it's <laugh> I think service, it's funny because when you, when it's a complicated market right now both for and for consumers. And so I think for brokerages and agents that are truly experts in their field and really are focused on providing like a high level of service, I think clients are gravitate gravitating to those people. And same with brokerages. So brokerages that really are there, you know, not just the, like discount brokerages, but are really there to like, provide full service. We're seeing a lot of really grateful service brands and companies thriving. so I think that's a big part of the sort of complexity in this moment in time. and I also, I would say maybe what we, what we kind of referenced before on the design piece of it, you know I think there's a deeper appreciation and gravitation towards creative and elevated marketing.

and to brands that mean something, I think people have just become more sophisticated and they care about the brand that's in their front lawn, and they wanna know that it's something that they wanna be attached to. And so you know, the, just the intrinsic value of good design, and at the end of the day, you know, we know that, that, you know, a brand, a lot of the times that marks and the things that make its design unique are what drive its value. And I think we're starting to see that in real estate more, and we'll continue.

Mike Simonsen (22:07):

Yeah. That, and that's a really, so an interesting thread I'd like to pull on there. You, you said that full service in brokerage, I I is thriving. And if you were to just pay attention to the headlines or the tech trends

Stephanie Anton (22:24):

In the luxury space,

Mike Simonsen (22:26):

<laugh> in the luxury space. Okay, great. Yeah. Yeah. So that's, that's great. So like you would, you know, or you listen, you know, I live in San Francisco, like, you listen to the tech people, it's like, it's like, you know, how do you, how do you remove the, you know, everybody out of that tre like, and, and leave nothing left, no service left. Like, tell me about when you say that full service is thriving, even if, even if it is like in your space, focused in the luxury space what do you see there? Well, like what does that mean? Yeah.

Stephanie Anton (22:54):

I think people are, particularly when they have complicated transactions that are expensive luxury properties, agents need help with that, and they need a broker that can be there to help them with that. So, you know, not so much a discount brokerage, but someone who has, you know, like full services who can help them with mortgage, who can help them with everything that they need, right? So that's a piece of, I think, what we're seeing. And then on the consumer side too, you know, when you have a a more significant property, you need really sophisticated marketing, and you need a sophisticated marketer, and you need a lot of support in the resources that come with that, so you're willing to pay for it. so that's, I think kinda what, I mean,

Mike Simonsen (23:37):

Do you, do you notice when you think about the strategy of your, your affiliates, do you find that are, like, does, does their method of delivery of that transaction and the marketing, is that substantially the same as it's been like, because it's like the full service is full service, or is that changing with technology or other trends?

Stephanie Anton (24:02):

I certainly think, I mean, technology enables everyone to be better at their jobs, but I don't think it's taking away what a traditional agent does. So like chat GDP is just such a great example, right? Like, it's just the hottest thing, but is it gonna replace a real estate agent? No, it's not going to, does it write a great agent file? I think yes, absolutely. You know, like that's a really creative way of using it. But you know, like one of the things that we have is we have a a listing presentation tool that was built by Corcoran in Manhattan. So Manhattan doesn't have an mls, and a lot of people don't even realize that. And so obviously you do, but you know, so the team had to develop things that were, because the, all the tools that were out in the industry that are all dependent that, yeah, we, we just connected the mls, well, they didn't have an mls, so the Corcoran team built it. So it's a really beautiful online listing presentation tool. It's something that we make available to all of our affiliates. It's elegant. It's it's just simple and it's easy to use. And so, you know, are, are our agents going in with just giant boxes and doing presentations and big brochures? Not anymore. You know, they're, they're texting a listing presentation to somebody. and you know that, that way I think technology is evolving and it's making our lives easier, but I don't think it's replacing what we do.

Mike Simonsen (25:18):

Yeah. Okay. And really what I'm getting at is the is like the, you know, that the future of the agent and the future of the brokerage, we've had a bunch of changes and, you know, the industry's like going through that and the shift to teams and those kind of things are how are those impacting you at Corcoran and what do you see the future for the, the industry?

Stephanie Anton (25:40):

you know, I think <laugh>, I'll, I'll, I'll sort of pick on an interesting thing because we sort of touched on it a little bit. I am consistently surprised that more brokers are not focused on building out services to work with developers. And so when we talk about you know an inventory problem and developers potentially being the solution for that, I think that there's a future big opportunity for more real estate brokerages and agents to be very comfortable pitching to developers, marketing developments, and really providing more services for that. And, you know, we just, we, we happen to be have a sister company that's called Corcoran Sunshine, which is a development marketing business. And we just recently finished a course that we provide for our affiliates around development fundamentals, fundamentals so that our agents can pitch for that business. And so I think it's a huge opportunity and you know, like I said, it's just shocking to me how few brokers and people are really intimidated by developers and, you know, they can beat you up for sure. But, you know I think it's a big opportunity and it's something that will be a future place that we can find inventory in potentially a further out cha inventory challenge market.

Mike Simonsen (26:57):

Yeah. People are they, they're, they're intimidated by developers?

Stephanie Anton (27:00):

Yeah, they are. I mean, because they don't know, cuz it's different, it's like an RFP process. It's not like your traditional listing presentation offering pre pre-development services, like a site selection and unit mix. And that's not your typical skillset for an agent

Mike Simonsen (27:13):

For sure. Are, are there signals, like data signals that you see you know, that you get by virtue of having your, your affiliates all over the, the, the country? Like, are there things that you see that give you insight to the world that's unique maybe maybe unique for like, what's happening with luxury properties around the country?

Stephanie Anton (27:36):

Yeah, sure. I mean, on the data, I mean, and, and you know, for your mind the way your brain works, like the data signals, right? I think not necessarily unique to luxury, but obviously one of the things we really, really watch is agent migration. and so we can understand sort of where people are going and who's winning and who's losing. And you know, a lot of people write about that. And yeah, it's all, I think very much a reflection of this sort of paralyzation that's happening right now. And so you know, we really, I I think, you know, I think for brokers that can rush into the void with information and stats and data and the kind of information that you provide, market intel and arming people with facts is just a great way to sort of move people because we just are seeing so much paralyzation right now.

Mike Simonsen (28:22):

Yeah. And, and do you notice, like across your affiliates, like do you, are you guys like in Austin or do you have you know, like where are you seeing that migration? Do you have like, you know, Bozeman, Montana, that, that, that you had some of some pandemic migration there. What was some, what were some good examples?

Stephanie Anton (28:42):

So it's funny because where we've grown is markets where people moved during the pandemic. So, you know, I sort of mentioned urban, high-end, suburban resort, second home, and then pandemic markets, because those were the markets that, so like 30 a in the panhandle of Florida, I had personally never even been there before. I joined Coran. And I've been in luxury real estate for a long time and I was like 30 a, what is 30 A? And it's Santa Rosa Beach, Rosemary Beach, and this was an area of, of Florida, it's like white sand beaches. It's absolutely spectacular. It looks like Cancun. It is gorgeous. And they have done so much development. And so anyway, I mean, people flooded to that market during the pandemic and it grew. And so our broker, that was a, I think our second or third broker that was Corcoran, you know, they started, they their quintuple the size that they were just three years ago.

So, yeah, I mean it's just, it's amazing. And I mentioned Athens, Georgia, that's a good example too. you know, we're not yet in Atlanta, but we're in Athens because Athens has been on fire because people are moving, you know, to places that are a little more affordable and where they can work from home. Right. And so we're not in Austin currently. I sit in Austin as I think you know, but we're not here yet, unfortunately. but you know, and so yeah, those resorts, second home markets, so we went to, we're in the bdi, we're in The Bahamas, Puerto Rico. Oh my god. Puerto Rico has been on fire. I mean, honest to God, that market, like there's a St. Regis in Puerto Rico that's like $7,000 a square foot. It's crazy.

Mike Simonsen (30:09):

Yeah. Is that Puerto Rico, is that, that the tax, refugee migration. Exactly. Yeah. That's in a really fascinating and, and it seems like it's very impactful for Puerto Rico, that program, like a lot of people moving there and buying houses and doing things. So hopefully that's a long term great things. Yeah, I'm interested in Athens. So and actually panhandle that Panhandle 38, I didn't, I don't know the label 38 either, so that's cool. Yeah,

Stephanie Anton (30:35):

It's it's literally a street.

Mike Simonsen (30:37):

Oh yeah, it's like the highway. Mm-hmm.

Stephanie Anton (30:38):

<affirmative>. Yeah, exactly.

Mike Simonsen (30:40):

Yeah. that's interesting. So, so in Athens, are the people moving to Athens? Are they like New York moving to Athens, or is it Atlanta moving to Athens? It's

Stephanie Anton (30:48):

Atlanta, Savannah, the Carolinas, Charlotte you know, some New York, but there's a thing it's not so much Athens, but like Jacksonville, I dunno if you know this, they call it Jacksonville Halfback because people from New York moved to Miami and then they don't like it in Miami, and so they move halfway back into Jacksonville <laugh>. And so Jacksonville is a, is a booming market as well.

Mike Simonsen (31:10):

Interesting. And you guys are in Jacksonville? We we're not currently,

Mike Simonsen (31:13):

No. Okay. But yeah, as a growth market, yeah, it is, it is indeed.

Stephanie Anton (31:17):

But Athens is you know, it's just one of those things. It's like kind of, it has a cool factor like Austin but way less expensive and you know, it's probably what Austin is like in the seventies in terms of development. I mean, it's still a great pretty small town, but it's got a great lifestyle, great music RM is from there famously, and you know, so, and they've got a good sports scene. It's college town. Yeah. But interesting. Like there's an entire building like the, the Georgia Bulldogs, it's a thing. And so like, there's an entire building that's right by the stadium, that's the Bulldog Stadium. And so people buy units there just to go down to stay there during the Georgia Bulldogs games.

Mike Simonsen (31:55):

Yes, I can imagine. I can imagine if you're going to town, right? It's like going to your ski, find your ski condo, you're buying your football condo,

Stephanie Anton (32:02):

That's it. Right? Totally. And then like B V I and Bahamas, obviously there was a lot of like crypto money, I mean like, you know, big time. yeah. And you know, so that's been kind of fun to watch too.

Mike Simonsen (32:13):

Yeah. And has that shut off? Yeah, <laugh>. Yeah, <laugh>, yeah,

Stephanie Anton (32:18):

Pretty much. Yeah. Although I did hear of one last week, but no, it's, it's pretty much, you know, it's quiet.

Mike Simonsen (32:23):

Interesting. Yeah. That, that was that was quite a a cycle, but maybe, maybe a little bit of recovery in some of the crypto markets, although like the big stuff seems to be, that seems to be past that peak of the cycle there. okay. Well that's really great. I love, I love getting some of those insights about some of those markets are really neat. let's talk about let's talk about the realtors and, you know, challenges or things that, that, like the, the good franchises or realtors are doing well right now. Like, what should, what should we be paying attention to? Like you know, especially in this, in the tougher market?

Stephanie Anton (33:06):

Yeah, for sure. You know it's so boring. Sorry, this is just a boring mic answer, but like, the best companies, they know how to save for a rainy day because they've seen this story before <laugh>, you know, and like at the end of the day, this is, I mean, how many, how many cycles have you been through? It's been at least three or four for me. so, you know, they are people that save their money and make thoughtful decisions and even at the boom times. So you know, I was at s media last year in in wherever it was at, at event, and I heard someone speak, and they were saying the best companies in budget based on their 2019 numbers, and like how much their average sale price went up from 2018 to 2019, and have continued to budget for that amount in this whole time, which I thought was brilliant because it's like, don't sort of take the market going up in such a crazy way and, you know, take credit for it.

Just be be kind of conscientious about the way you're making money, but, or you're sa you're saving your money. But I think that those same brokers aren't afraid of making bold and early decisions with the cash that they can serve because, you know, they know that now is a good time to take advantage of the moment. So you know, kind of as we started the conversation, while others aren't making money, now is a good time to take advantage, frankly, of, you know, buying companies and buying market share, particularly when recruiting is a little bit harder.

Mike Simonsen (34:31):

Yeah. And do you, have you seen standout agents or teams doing well that, that are doing some interesting things in the, in the Corcoran network?

Stephanie Anton (34:39):

Yeah, I think the agents that are really killing it right now are the ones that have really spent a lot of time kind of working on themselves so that, you know, when everyone else is like worried about the market, they're, you know, worried about themselves and they're taking education courses and they're, they're, you know, brushing up their skillset and they're super involved and they're still really networking and they're also really focused on getting listings and, you know, getting listings is harder, but I think the agents that are getting listings are the ones that are winning.

Mike Simonsen (35:10):

Yeah. That's that, that is a tough one now. And, and of course, and in the, the high end, the luxury space, you, I assume maybe I'm wrong, but I assume that you don't really focus on young agents, most of your agents are more experienced. Is that a true, is that true or do you also have have younger, newer agents that are in your mix?

Stephanie Anton (35:32):

Yeah, I mean, there are, there are younger, newer agents that there is a lot of mature sort more seasoned <laugh> agents for sure. But yeah, no, we definitely have younger agents than agents that are I think humble and hungry and sort of willing to do whatever they need to do to learn for the, from the more seasoned agents. And yeah, it's, it's always fun for me to, to meet younger agents that are just really wanting to, like, it's cute, actually. I met an agent a couple weeks ago who you know, I, I think, you know, when I, when I describe Corcoran as kind of being hoodies and jeans and the sneakers, and this agent showed up at our conference, we just had our conference in Nashville, and he showed up in a three piece suit and I was like, oh honey, you know, you don't totally need to do that here because you know, this is a more casual environment. And he's like, Nope. He's like, I wanna dress for success and I'm gonna differentiate myself by showing you all how seriously I take this. And you know what? I deeply respect that too. <laugh>. And we, like I said, our, our tagline is Live who you are. So it's like, Hey, you know, we celebrate everything <laugh>.

Mike Simonsen (36:34):

Yeah. And I, and I, and, and I think there's something to be said for that. there is a, like, if you have a personal style that that is that powerful, there's there like it, you should express it that way.

Stephanie Anton (36:45):

And it exudes confidence and people are attracted to confidence, right? So, you know, if you're willing to take a risk and put yourself out there and be different than everybody else, cuz who's wearing a three piece suit these days, you know, I, I was talking to him <laugh>, you know, he is great. He is great. <laugh>,

Mike Simonsen (36:58):

Right? <laugh>. Yeah. There you go. That's great. Do you have other guidance for new agents? So been around the space for a while, you now have a bunch of, a bunch of agents in the, in the umbrella under your portfolio. Like what do you tell people that are just starting to build the business now?

Stephanie Anton (37:17):

Yeah always ask lots of questions and never be afraid to sound dumb because that's something that somebody advised me of. And it's such good advice because, you know, to raise your hand and say like, I don't know, and don't be afraid to ask. I think that people that are generally, you know, deeply inquisitive are always learning and they're super humble about it. If you can be super humble and just sort of like say, I wanna soak it all in and I wanna learn from all these amazing people around me, you know, they really take advantage of the opportunity to, to learn. And so I would say that, and then also maybe like not to get distracted by the noise. I think we have so much noise in this business and it's never gone away. There's always just this chatter and it's really easy to get sucked into that. And you know, remaining focused on your business and your goals and the people around you and your values and ethics. I think it's, you can't lose.

Mike Simonsen (38:12):

Yeah, that's great. That's nice. can't lose. I'm gonna, there's a quote, there's the poll quote 76 we can't lose in real estate. you know, it's funny, I, I realized we, we jumped in, we started talking about Corcoran and the work you're doing, but we didn't actually talk about how you got to this role and like your, your path here. What, what was the background? So you were a leading re and you, and, but, but you tell me, tell me about the, like the path.

Stephanie Anton (38:37):

Yeah, I mean I, so I, I joined Realogy actually in, it was Realogy at the time in July of 2020. So very shortly after we launched the Corcoran brand. And you know, like I said, it was just such a huge opportunity for me. And I had worked in franchising early in my career back when GM a C was in the real estate business. you might remember when Pacific Union was owned by gmac. that was my first job in real estate. So I ran, I was the director of communications and internet <laugh>

Mike Simonsen (39:05):


Stephanie Anton (39:06):

I love that. Yeah. And so this was a little bit of a return home for me because I had had that experience in my past. But what was really cool was that they gave me the opportunity to come and help grow Corcoran, but they also because I had a lot of international experience I was the head of service for international for all of the brands within the, the anywhere umbrella other than than Sotheby's, cuz they had their own servicing model. So I worked on Coldwell Bankers Century 21 era, a BHG and Corcoran, and I did that, I ran service for the five brands for the first year and a half while I also did the Corcoran job. huge opportunity for me. It was amazing. sadly I didn't get to do any travel in that time, but then I was promoted to the president of Corcoran back at the beginning of 22.

So yeah. so I was I had an opportunity to do that. And then now I'm focused just on Corcoran and mostly just cuz it's been like, it's been a huge success and we just wanna be thoughtful about it and it's not something that you know, we've, the brand was developed 50 years ago, so we wanna be careful and strategic and thoughtful about the way we grow the brand. And so we've learned a lot, I think in these first couple years good and bad. And but it's been fun. It's been, it's, it's an honor.

Mike Simonsen (40:22):

Yeah. Do you have some, some lessons that, that you're like taking forward now in the, the, like the, for the next few years as you're building it?

Stephanie Anton (40:29):

Totally, yeah. And actually at the, at the upcoming Real Trends conference, that's my topic is the top 10 lessons learned from a fast growing brand. So I can, I'll give you a sneak peek of one of 'em, which is you know, I think one of the things we've done really, really well is to grow thoughtfully. we're really focused on aligning with values and ensuring that the people that we partner with are, are focused on growth, love the brand really understand the brand and then make it can make it come to life locally. So I think it's different than how other people are, are growing brands and it's cool. It's fun.

Mike Simonsen (41:07):

Excellent. And, and in case the listeners, in case they didn't catch it Stephanie will be at the Real Trends gathering of Eagles Conference with me also. I'll be there in June and we will make sure we post links to that if you want to. if you want to join us there and see Stephanie speaking a lot of the really great leaders in the industry brokerage as well as technology and, and and mortgage and folks. So, so lots, lots of really cool stuff happening that week.

Stephanie Anton (41:38):

Yeah, it looks like a good lineup. It's

Mike Simonsen (41:40):

A great lineup. Yeah, for sure. That's terrific. cool. Let's talk about so growth thoughtfully, I like that. And, and then let's shift to more future stuff. What do you see for the industry and for the market in the next few years? Are there big ideas that we should be paying attention to? So, I, I always ask my guests this like, you know, it's 2023, we're already halfway through the year you know, what's your vision for the, you know, la latter half of this decade? Like, what do you see coming in the, in real estate, in the industry in home buying?

Stephanie Anton (42:14):

Yeah, I mean, I wish I could say I think it's gonna be fundamentally different, but <laugh>, I just don't know that it's going to be, I mean, you know, that just comes from doing this a long time and maybe I'm biased, but at the end of the day, like, I think about, you know, there's some big things happening with like antitrust and, you know, you know, things potentially that could change the way agents are compensated. And that, I think could be the most watershed thing that could impact our business. and, you know, hopefully that that actually could be really, really damaging for a lot of brands and companies. So, you know, hopefully we get through that on the upside. But but beyond that, I think that like, if you actually zoom out and you look at the progression or the innovation that's happened in our business I think that real estate has been pretty behind so many other industries.

And ultimately I think, you know, we have a lot of rules and regulations and laws that, and, and complicated things like MLSs that sort of inhibit our ability to really pivot and change significantly. So you know, I I I think that it'll be much of the same more sophisticated, I think more elevated, more elegant more technology for sure. I think there will be fewer agents doing more of the business, just like, I think there's fewer companies doing more of the business, just like we're seeing consolidation in MLSs, we're seeing con consolidation in brokerages. everyone's kind of eating everybody else, and I think we are gonna see far fewer brands and and individual firms. it's harder and harder for an independent to be competitive considering the landscape of all of the consolidation that's happening. And so particularly with the market kind of being the way it is right now, and, you know, hopefully not too much longer, but I, I think we're gonna continue to see more and more consolidation.

Mike Simonsen (44:03):

And have you have you seen a, a trend towards teams in the, in the Corcoran?

Stephanie Anton (44:10):

yeah, a little bit. Not the mega teams though. Yeah. Not like what you've seen in some of the other brands. No.

Mike Simonsen (44:17):

Right. You're not in in Sacramento, but trying to do 400 houses a year, kind of, yeah. transaction volume. Right, exactly. Yeah. but fewer agents and fewer brokers doing more of the business <affirmative>?

Stephanie Anton (44:31):

I think so, yeah. I do kind of just the way things have the, the trajectory that we're on, and as this gets more complicated and as we're seeing contraction in the business, I mean, we just saw, right, like the NAR came out and said they have less agents than we've had in the past. And so I think, like I said, I'm not so sure that's the bad thing. so, you know,

Mike Simonsen (44:51):

I have a, I have a hypothesis that the, the number of agents, because it's easy to enter and to exit the, the, the, the realtor ranks is that it's actually a, a great example of a, a perfectly efficient market, which means we have always have the exact right number of Asians. Interesting. It's, it's not too high or too low. Yeah. Because when we need more, they, they're there when we, now we have too many, so they go away. So my hypothesis that we, like, despite lots of people always like to grumble about, there's too many agents out there that, that I like, I view that we have exactly the right number always.

Stephanie Anton (45:36):

So I have a funny analogy for you, bear with me. Okay. But it's called an expandable consumable in the, in the consumer packaged goods business. So potato chips are an expandable consumable cereal is an expandable consumable, which simply means that you have just as much, you'll, you will eat everything you have <laugh>, right? And so, right. If like potato chips, like you'll eat the entire bag of potato chips, if you have two, you will eat two bags of potato chips. And so I never thought about it before, but maybe real estate agents are the same way. <laugh>.

Mike Simonsen (46:06):

Yeah, that's exactly right. That's fascinating. yeah, there's another pool court, how real estate agents are like a bag of potato chips. <laugh>

Stephanie Anton (46:14):

That's why, that's why consumer packaged goods companies do so much couponing, right? I, I worked for General Mills at one point in my career in, when I was in grad school, and you analyze the data, the shopping cart data, and you determine who's buying cereal and how you can incent them to buy more cereal because they will eat as much as you can get them to purchase. It's fascinating.

Mike Simonsen (46:32):

That's wild. That's really fascinating. So the number of real estate agents expands to fill the, the market available very easily. Yeah.

Stephanie Anton (46:40):

Interesting. Yeah, I like it.

Mike Simonsen (46:41):

I like it. I so on. Therefore, I think it's like, it's really great, but of course, everybody else is like, wait, you know, now there's more, more competition. And if you're in there already, like you feel that

Stephanie Anton (46:51):

Yeah. Particularly in a, in a, in a reduced inventory environment, it's just

Mike Simonsen (46:55):

Tough. Yes. Right, right. For sure. and then in, in a, in a reduced, dramatically reduced transaction volume. so so then in a reduced agent world, in a reduced brokerage world is that good for corporate?

Stephanie Anton (47:13):

it's fine for us because we're looking for the right people, not the most people, you know, and that's okay. You know, frankly, frankly, you know in a, in an environment where people have some more challenges joining a franchise, give them more solutions. And so it's not a bad thing for us, actually, the harder the market is, a lot of times people say, okay, now is a time where I can recognize that a franchise will give me some of the things that I need. So in some ways it helps us. But kind of back to what I said before about like, you know, we're not in Boston yet. I need to be in Boston, but I'm not gonna like go to Boston just to go to Boston. I wanna make sure that we find the right player in Boston. And so you know, in a, in a challenged market, the right player might be more incented to join Corcoran.

Mike Simonsen (48:02):

Yeah. Okay. All right. Yeah, I like it. That's a, that's terrific. That's maybe a great place to leave it. where where should people find you or find more about Corcoran? What's the, what's the best way to connect?

Stephanie Anton (48:14):

Yeah, it's, I mean, it's, right? or I'm just stephanie dot anton and I'm always, you know, I respond to all my email and I'm always happy to get questions and connect with people. And I, I will take any meeting in any conversation cuz I just love learning. So always happy to love,

Mike Simonsen (48:29):

Love learning. Great. Well, I'm looking forward to seeing you in, in Austin for the Gathering of Eagles conference. And I will, I'll leave a link for, for folks to to connect. We, I think we actually have a, if you're listening, you have, there's a, there's an Altos Listener discount, an Alto's Friends of El Altos discount for, for the Gathering of Eagles. So you can use the, the coupon code if you wanna join us there. and I'm looking forward to much more s thank you so much for the time today. It was really insightful and it's exactly what I wanted to, to get outta the call.

Stephanie Anton (48:59):

That's always great to talk to you, Mike. Always. You're fascinating. I learned a lot.

Mike Simonsen (49:02):

Great. Thanks. all right everybody, this is the top of Mind podcast. Thanks for joining me this week. We'll be back next week or two with more really fascinating leaders in the, in the industry. Thanks everybody. Thanks for listening to Top of Mind. If you enjoy the show, I'd really appreciate leaving a nice review on your favorite podcast app that helps other people find us as well. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss future episodes

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