RLTY Changing The Way Real Estate Commissions Are Paid
Interview with Briggs Elwell, Partner at RLTY Capital
RLTY is a REtech platform and specialty finance real estate firm. The company works with New York real estate professionals to acquire pending real estate commissions for residential and commercial properties. They handle both sales and rental commissions. RLTY Capital has three partners: Briggs Elwell, Ryan Serhant and Daniel Kennedy. Briggs serves as CEO and co-founder of RLTY.
Dan: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us. To start, I am sure our readers would love to learn more about you. How did you get here? What is your background?
I have been in the real estate industry for over 15 years, all in New York. I started my career at Related Companies in the residential leasing division eventually managing business development for Related Rentals. After leaving Related, I went on to run multiple real estate brokerages in New York.
Dan: Tell us about your business. What do you do and what is your startup’s origin story?
At RLTY, we believe hard-working real estate agents deserve to get paid today. Too often we have seen transactions closing months after they are under contract or, for rental transaction, months after tenants move in. We built a solution to provide access to commissions seamlessly and transparently so agents can focus on serving their clients, not worrying about cash flow. We limit cumbersome data entry and document submission by agents and streamline the process.
Dan: What’s unique about your company? What are the key differentiators between you and other players?
We limit cumbersome data entry and document submission by agents and streamline the process. Our AI-powered proprietary underwriting process enables us to achieve this — with 100% confidentiality. The agent does not need to get permission from his/her brokerage to sell us a commission. Our transaction is between the agent and RLTY. No one, including us, needs to know the reason the agent is selling the commission.
Dan: Take us through a day in your life. What does the typical day look like?
Our family recently grew to two children with the birth of our son a few weeks ago. First off, family first, always. So my typical day starts with family, breakfast together every day. After that I get to work and don’t stop until bedtime. Although I am not specifically proud of it my phone lets me know every week that I average over 8 hours on it a day. My work life is on my phone from emails to phone calls always trying to connect the dots. If you aren’t making a phone call or sending an email or making a connection you cannot grow your network and in the real estate business that is all that matters. You can build a building, but you cannot sell it without buyers and a network and similarly you cannot build a building without contacts from funding to design and development.
Dan: What are some of the key steps you have taken to grow your business?
One clear step was engaging Ryan Serhant. Ryan is the most successful and respected real estate agent in the country and is expanding to other markets constantly. He believes in our commitment to serving real estate professionals and is focused on building the future of real estate via agent tools and resources. He isn’t a paid spokesperson or endorser, he is an actual partner. His insight and knowledge is invaluable.
Dan: What has been the most challenging part of growing your company?
Less of a challenge and more of a focus is winning the trust of our customers. There is a bit of a stigma attached to selling a commission. Will others find out? Will my boss think I’m bad at money management, etc. We work hard to show the agents that we are on their side. We don’t have hidden fees and we keep it all confidential. We want the agents to be able to use the money to invest in their businesses, fund lead generation and manage cash flow. This is common sense, not anything to be weary of.
Dan: What are your best sales and marketing tips?
Reward loyalty. We want agents to use our service throughout their career, not on a one-off basis. We reward returning customers with even more favorable terms. We want a partnership with them.
Dan: Do you have a book, podcast, or Youtube channel you would recommend to other Entrepreneurs?
The Next Big Idea Club, run by my cousin Rufus Griscom.
Dan: If you could go back in time to the day you founded your company, what advice would you give yourself?
Although we took a long time to prepare ourselves to officially launch, I would remind myself over and over again of the importance of not rushing and to take your time.