Firm to Complete Term with Keller Williams, Become Equitas Realty
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A major real estate brokerage in Saratoga Springs will be leaving the franchise world and turn into an independent firm in just a few weeks.
With more than 50 agents and the 12th highest sales volume in the Capital Region, Keller Williams Realty will become Equitas Realty – an independent brokerage firm, in August.
“It took careful thought and consideration, but it seemed like the right decision because becoming an independent firm gives us greater opportunities to grow and expand in the marketplace,” said Janet Besheer, owner of the brokerage. “We can now serve southern Saratoga County and north of Saratoga Springs. There are no geographic restrictions.”
Besheer, an award-winning agent turned broker and owner, opened the firm as a Keller Williams franchise in 2008 and grew the brokerage into the second largest in the Saratoga Springs market by agent count; vying for fourth in total revenue with several of the other major franchise offices. Besheer says she hopes to continue the success with Equitas Realty.
“I’ve been in this business in Saratoga for 14 years and I was new back then,” said Besheer. “I started at Roohan Realty and then in 2008 the opportunity with Keller-Williams came and within five years we went on to become one of the top companies in Saratoga Springs starting from our second year and continuing on through today. We became a face and our agents became known. Switching to an independent model will be interesting. We’ll have more opportunity to be seen and expand offices.”
Choosing to not renew its franchise term with Keller Williams will also give the brokerage the ability to reinvest the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent annually in franchise fees, back into the brokerage to support marketing and technology to better serve clients.
“We’ll have a lot of freedom,” said Besheer. “We can be at the cutting edge of technology. The real estate business is shifting right now and we can expect significant changes in the next four to five years. It’s hard to quickly change things within a large corporation. By becoming independent, we can move quickly and adapt to changes moving our way.”
In 2013, Besheer recruited Justin White, who brings extensive management experience in the software industry with innovators such as Microsoft and years of experience in the real estate business. White will serve as managing director of Equitas Realty.
“Our strategy is a win-win-win architecture,” said White. “Equitas Realty agents will receive the most generous compensation package in the market with access to our cutting edge technology and training platform; seller clients will have an exciting new brand that stands out from the ‘same-old’ franchise brands; and our brokerage can grow beyond the Saratoga Springs area. This is the right move at the right time and we are looking forward to the change.”
The firm will be staying in the same location at 38 High Rock Avenue and will undergo a makeover to reflect the new Equitas Realty brand. Eventually, Besheer says she would like to see the firm expand to 75-80 agents, include four offices throughout the Northway, and become the brokerage of choice for all agents wanting to embrace the “new way of real estate and internet lead syndicators.”
As for the firm’s new name, Equitas Realty, the word equitas, Latin for fairness, is the root for the English word equity, and echoes equine and equanimity – and Besheer said it was the perfect match.
“We wanted to have a name that reflected professional and personal values,” said Besheer. “If you put fairness and equity together, that should be the main objective for any real estate brokerage. Our company is a company where what you see is what you get. The opportunities here are real, the management team is out for your best interest – what you’re seeing is what you’re getting.”