When I was growing up I was one of those kids whose aptitude run parallel to my grades in the classroom. I was clearly the best in my class at math for many years, but I was also in a class for kids who weren’t great at reading – which I found humiliating/confusing. I couldn’t figure out if I was a smart kid or a dumb kid. I just wanted clarity actually, because not knowing which one I was constantly plagued my identity. I finally got out of the reading class in 3rd grade, but I still questioned my intelligence. I did however find that whenever I had a teacher who gave me more space to learn how I needed to I felt enormously more capable and, I would regularly lead in class rather than distract. Even when I did testing in college for ADD they found that I had a high level of intelligence, but I had trouble functioning within the established structures of a classroom. They found that I struggled in class not because I had ADD, but because I was anxious due to not functioning well in the established/traditional way that I was “supposed to”.
Fast forward about 20 years and I am still that same little kid. I know my limits and capacities better than I did 20 years ago, but I’m still challenged daily by not feeling like I fit in a simple box. Luckily I found a company 4 years ago that gave me exactly what I needed: flexibility, and a big green light! People doubted that changing some of the traditional paradigms in real estate would work, but I’m very proud to be a part of my company. I don’t want to take away from any other company (I’m so proud of the community that our industry has), but there is a reason why our company has grown faster than any other company, and sold more houses in Norman than any other company the last few years. Go team! Below is an article from the Norman Transcript about our success do to challenging norms. Thank you to the 7 founders of the company who took a big risk, it paid off.
Not Your Average Real Estate Broker | Norman Transcript
Metro Brokers of Oklahoma was founded a decade ago by a group of realtors who wanted to bring a different set of values to real estate.
Apparently, their vision to combine broker autonomy with high ethical standards has paid off. According to a ranking report of 2017 calendar year numbers, Metro Brokers was the leading agency for total transactions in Norman.
With 14.33 percent of the Norman market share, 247 listings, 294.5 sales and a total of 541.5 total transactions, they are ahead of the leading and more traditional Norman real estate companies.
“We opened Aug. 1, 2007, so we’re going into our eleventh year,” said Gwen Arveson, owner and principal broker. “We have offices all over the metro with 189 agents and 35 branch offices.”
Arveson and Betty Goss, owner-manager and branch broker, believe the supportive yet independent culture of their workplace is at least partially responsible for their success.
“We are not a traditional real estate company,” Goss said. “We believe in allowing our associates to run their own business with integrity, and we support them. We don’t have production requirements.”
In 2017, Metro Brokers of Oklahoma ranked fourth in the Oklahoma City metro for total transactions, but that’s not a market Arveson, Goss or their fellow co-owners had planned to enter initially.
Goss and Arveson were friends with each other and the other Metro Brokers owners when they decided to form the company.
“We were all selling real estate, and we decided we wanted to structure a company that was different than any company in Norman,” Arveson said. “We did that all the way from writing our vision statement to writing our culture statement of the type of people we wanted to attract.”
The business started in Norman and organically spread to the metro.
“We were not prepared to do the branch office thing,” Arveson said. “There were just seven of us who wanted to sell real estate. We have never recruited anyone. People came to us. Another thing that makes us different from other real estate companies is that we allow our branches to work with total autonomy within the law.”
Goss is a long-time Norman resident who got into real estate so she could avoid an office job.
“My best friend said I was good with people and should try real estate, and I did and I love it,” she said.
Arveson and Goss say Metro Brokers nurtures self-motivated realtors rather than promoting competition. The company doesn’t recognize the top producer of the month, but it does provide support through office facilities, insurance coverage, a website, brand awareness, training and collaboration among members who are more willing to help because they’re not in competition.
“We do interviews,” said Arveson. “Before anyone can join us, they have to come to a 30 minute interview that two of the owners conduct.”
The focus of those interviews includes ethics and values.
“When we’re interviewing, we listen to their background story,” Goss said. “We listen to keywords to how they handle their previous work. Above all, we look for integrity with how they are going to treat their counterparts, owners and the public with respect to how they do business.”
Metro Brokers does not charge extra fees to brokers — there are no desk fees, technology fees or franchise fees, and the annual membership fee never increases, it is locked in for life.
“The company was started by all Oklahoma people, and we are not a franchise so the money stays in Oklahoma,” Arveson said. “We offer full service real estate. We allow the branch offices to fully run their offices however they want. We don’t interfere with their finances.”
Arveson started in real estate in 1986. Working with like-minded realtors to create a business comprised of a “professional but non-restrictive membership group” to support each other in running a “fair and profitable real estate business,” was the culmination of a dream come true and the fruition of the values she and the other owners hold dear.
“We start every meeting with prayer,” Arveson said. “All of the owners are Christians. That doesn’t mean you have to be a Christian to work here, it just means you have to respect what we do.”
Brokers determine their own goals, commission fees, income and expenses.
“We teach them to compete with themselves,” Arveson said. “We want them to work together rather than being competitive. The real estate business is already competitive enough.”
That approach is paying off in more than just sales numbers.
“We have more associates than anyone in Norman,” Goss said. “People who do business with us are pleased with our reputation as experienced realtors who do the right thing.”