Two independent brokerages are joining forces to compete with national firms.
New York City-based Warburg Realty and Miami-based Fortune International Realty recently announced a partnership to refer clients between their respective markets.
The two family-owned and -operated firms are banding together to compete with larger brokerages, many of which have expanded into other markets in recent years, as well as increase their offerings to clients.
The referral fee between the two firms will be between 25 to 30 percent and the partnership will include early access to Fortune’s new development projects, according to Warburg CEO Frederick Peters. Fortune’s portfolio includes the Jade Signature, Auberge Beach Residences & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, and the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach.
Both firms have forged similar partnerships in the past: Warburg works with Saunders & Associates in the Hamptons, while Fortune has agreements with firms in various cities in Latin America and Europe that CEO Edgardo Defortuna described as “feeder markets.” Fortune previously had a similar relationship in New York with Andrew Heiberger’s now-defunct Town Residential.
An employee who used to work at Town initiated the conversation between the two firms in February, according to Peters, and the partnership officially kicked off last week.
Peters said he’d been looking to partner with a South Florida firm for years, but was looking for one that was ideologically aligned. That shared philosophy includes agent welfare and, Peters said, a willingness to “leave a little money on the table and do the right thing. The latter seems increasingly rare.”
“It’s not that easy increasingly to find independent practitioners who have the same attitude toward the business as I do,” he added.
South Florida has seen home sales and prices surge in the past year, along with an increase in interest from New Yorkers. But Defortuna said he believes the partnership will be equally beneficial for his 800-agent firm to be able to send clients north.
“I believe it’s a two-way street and New York — it’s not disappearing by any means,” Defortuna said, noting that both his Floridian and Latin American clients continue to express interest in buying in New York. “It’s going to be a very profitable relationship for both of us.”
Both CEOs admitted they considered opening offices in the other market, but ultimately decided against it.
“Why do we have to create everything from scratch when we can find the right partner?,” Defortuna said.