The firm was founded in 2008 and currently operates in France, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany and Mexico. In addition to the U.S. expansion, iad will soon be launching in the United Kingdom. According to iad, the brokerage is the No. 1 brokerage by transaction sides in France, as well as No.3 in Italy, No. 4 in Portugal, No. 5 in Spain and No. 4 in Mexico.
“We wanted to start in the U.S. in one state in order to start the business somewhere and then grow it, state after state, rather than just going to all states at once,” Tristan Royer-Borromee, the head of strategy and corporate development at iad, said.
The firm’s rapid global expansion is in part aided by its cloud-based structure. While iad has backend offices, including a new U.S.-based one in Tampa, there are no brick-and-mortar store fronts for agents and brokers to operate out of.
“It is always the dream from a headquarters perspective to be able to reach directly down and work with the agents so that the information you create and the actual context of that information is being directly communicated, instead of having to deal with a middle layer of a franchise owner,” Chris Pflueger, the managing director of the Florida operation, said.
According to Royer-Borromee, all of the firm’s expansions have been inspired by human connections, something iad stresses.
“From France, we expanded first to Portugal because Portugal is one of the countries in Europe with the most human ties with France because of former Portuguese immigration,” Royer-Borromee said. “A lot of our agents working in the suburbs of Paris were half-Portuguese or had a relative working as a real estate agent in Portugal, who was willing to join the network.”
iad Florida, as the expansion is known, was also inspired by some agent and broker connection at the firm, as well as the numerous opportunities present by the market.
“We chose Florida because it is a very dynamic place for real estate and it has ties and notably human ties with some of our other geographies, namely southern Europe and Latin America and Mexico,” Royer-Borromee said.
At the time of launch, iad Florida is comprised of 18 agents based in the Kissimmee area, with Pflueger serving as the managing director and principal broker, and Dave Courtney serving as the head of constellation.
“I always say it is one of the biggest real estate companies we’ve never heard of,” Courtney, who is converting his independent brokerage Changing Latitude Real Estate to iad, said. “We’ve been approach by other brands, but what made a difference for us was the way IAD is set up that they are really focused on not only growing individual agents but allowing them to grow their own teams. Everybody has the same opportunity for growth.”
Courtney and his agents also cited iad’s revenue sharing model. Like brands such as eXp Realty, The Real Brokerage or Keller Williams, agents at iad have the opportunity to mentor new agents, which gives them a split of their mentees’ commission, creating a downline. While the structure is similar in that the more new agents an experienced agent mentors the higher tier they can reach the initial commission split is roughly double that of eXp Realty at 7.0%.
Additionally, once a new agent in a mentor’s reaches his or her commission split cap, which executives said was roughly $13,000 or an $80,000 GCI on a 70/30 split, the agent moves to an 88/12 commission split, but the mentor keeps their split, unlike at other firms with revenue share models.
“It is unlimited. If you get a mentee that produces $400,000 GCI a year, you get 7% of that, whereas at eXp, you would get 3.5% of the GCI cap, so that is a huge difference for agents,” Royer-Borromee said.
Pflueger added that iad model allows for agents to plan for retirement by giving them the option to sell their downline network to another agent.
“We always joke that you’ve never been to an agent’s retirement party,” Pflueger said. “We are looking to help agents build a business that they have a saleable asset at the end. It allows agents to build wealth and control their own business, as opposed to us being in the middle.”
Although both Royer-Borromee and Pflueger say the firm hopes to expand throughout the rest of the country, for now they are focused on growing the Florida operation.
“The objective is to start to grow in Florida and then go to nearby state because of human ties,” Royer-Borromee said. “So, presumably Georgia and Texas will be next and then we will expand into the whole U.S., and we are continuing to look to expand into the rest of the Americas including Canada and Brazil.”