The home values and buyer demand have soared and have strengthened the real estate industry’s foundation in the past year and a half amid the pandemic. The unprecedented time proved to be a shining light for the industry leaders to understand the transforming fundamentals, which helped them stay on the top of their game. Joan Docktor is one such leader who, with her expertise, has been instrumental in the growth and profitability for over three decades and has made her mark in the industry. Joan is the President of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, Realtors®, where she oversees operations in multiple states to facilitate reliable services to its clients.
We at Insights Success caught up with Joan in our endeavor to find ”The 10 Most Empowering Women Leaders 2021.” We had a conversation to know in-depth about her journey and experience in the real estate industry?
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
Author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.” As soon as I earned my license and started my career as a REALTOR, I knew it was my passion, and I was on fire. I went on to become Rookie of the Year and then REALTOR of the Year. I rose through the ranks to become a sales office leader, and then came my current role as president. As far as challenges, I earned my position at a time when very few women had roles above middle management. I was accepted by sales professionals as they knew I was one of them; however, I needed to work harder to earn the respect of those above me. Also, I’m part of a family company in which I’m not a family member. So, that was another constructive opportunity to prove my worth.
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
The Fox & Roach name is a well-known local brand that has been trusted by buyers, sellers, and sales professionals for over 100 years. Although we have 5,500+ sales professionals, our goals are to feel small, stay nimble, and continue to dominate the market. The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices name strengthens our brand even more with global recognition and a seal of professionalism, quality, and business acumen. There are so many advantages to legacy, such as stability, resources, hindsight, reputation, and strong relationships.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the Real Estate niche through your expertise in the market?
Being honored with industry awards ‒ such as the Helena Devereux Women in Leadership Award, for example ‒ as well as being inducted into the RISMedia Newmakers Hall of Fame have exposed me to numerous businesses and organizations both locally and nationally. My affiliation with various boards has extended my impact beyond Fox & Roach. I’m a member of The Realty Alliance and have served on their Board. I am also Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Bright MLS and Chairperson of NAR’s 2021 Real Estate Services Advisory Group. I am on the Board of Directors of Cradles to Crayons and a mentor at The Forum for Executive Women. I am among other top brokers who are helping to lead our industry as a whole.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
We believe in support ‒ of each other, our communities, and our business together. As I mentioned, we have a network of 5,500+ sales professionals who all feel like family. We take real estate seriously. We strongly believe that having quality managers available to every sales professional is essential for growth. We demand integrity, and we obsess on the end goal: helping people buy and sell homes.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
We have access to best-in-class technology that helps our sales professionals meet their business goals, and classes to help them easily adapt and incorporate new tools. We have so many tools because everyone works differently. Our Education Department organizes these tools for specific activities and levels of experience so that all of our sales professionals can easily find what they need. In short, we leverage technology and give sales professionals a roadmap to success. We have everything you need to succeed!
If given a chance, what change would you like to bring in the Real Estate industry?
In this country, there are over two million real estate agents and about 5.8 million homes sold each year. That clearly means that there are too many agents. This is not an industry in which people should be “dabbling.” That is a major change I would bring: reduce or eliminate part-time agents. This is a serious business and, in buying or selling a home, people are making life-changing decisions. It is too important a transaction not to have true professionals at every turn. There are many different models of business ‒ from online to hybrid to brick and mortar ‒ and all models should be raising their standards. We should all demand more full-time education. Serious professionals only!
What, according to you, could be the next big change in Real Estate industry? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
I see two changes coming. The first is more consolidation, so only a handful of large brokers will survive. It’s more and more difficult for smaller brokers to compete with national companies. We have grown through mergers, acquisitions, and organic growth and will continue to do so. We are the acquirers; not the acquired.
Secondly, I want to talk about iBuyers. Eliminating agents from the transaction is not the answer to the complicated process of home selling – being prepared, being a trusted advisor, and simply being human are the answers, in my experience. However, due to the Internet, there are now more options that would have been similarly inconceivable just a few years ago. To meet this change, we will work to simplify transactions and make sure that the consumer receives transparency. The process is very time-consuming, and we’ll do everything we can to streamline it. In reality, iBuyers account for 5% of the business at most right now and are not yet popular in the markets we serve. We will, if necessary, affiliate with an iBuyer company so that we can handle those sales, if and when they take place in our market. Also, institutional investors are looking to purchase single family homes and town homes in good condition. We will train our agents to handle these investors, as well as the rental of these properties. In short, we will always expand our brokerage’s services to meet the demands of an ever-changing and unique consumer base.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices?
For myself, I want to continue to coach and help others grow. It’s important to me to be a servant leader, and it’s a goal for which I’ll continually strive. Leaders have the responsibility ‒ and opportunity ‒ to be positive role models and mentors. Whether you’re female or male, I believe that you need to convey warmth, or you will struggle as a leader. I also want to continue to give back to our communities as much as possible through Fox & Roach/Trident Charities, helping children and families in stressful life circumstances.
For the company, the goal is to continue to be the #1 broker in the market with a second-to-none brand and the most professional agents and employees.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Real Estate sector?
Find a great company with which to affiliate! Also, real estate teams are a growing part of our industry. If you’re new to the business, it may be a beneficial way to start. Whether you’re an individual agent, a team leader, or a team member, our great company will provide you with support, the power of our brand, and the tools that you need to meet or exceed your goals.
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