Salesperson Leaves Nest, Sort Of

July 1, 1996

OK, you're getting virtually 100 percent (that is, minus the broker fee), you have an assistant, and between you, the assistant, and your office equipment, you're running out of elbowroom. You also don't want to leave your broker or start your own company. What's a salesperson to do?

About three years ago, Cherry Ruffino, of Coldwell Banker--Richard Smith, REALTORS®, College Station, Texas, faced this sticky wicket. "I had the choice of going to another company or staying with my broker, with whom I'd worked 19 years."

The solution? "My broker let me rent my own office space about five blocks from the brokerage," Ruffino says. "I still pay an office fee to him, since my split is almost 100 percent. But that fee is less than before because I now have to pay for my own equipment and office expenses on this 300-square-foot space."

Any calls that Ruffino receives at the main office are transferred to her office. "I do tons of self-promotion, so my direct line gets most of my calls, anyway. There are probably a few calls that don't make it through, but my colleagues work hard to make sure I get them."

One problem she's found, however, is getting her new listings and price changes to the other salespeople at her office. "I get their updates through the computer. However, they don't depend on the computer as much, so I have to fax them information about my new listings and price changes or present it in person. Sometimes things fall through the cracks, but that happens even when you're sitting across the desk from someone.

"My office setup is the best thing I've ever done," Ruffino says. "I'm happy to talk shop and let people pick my brain, but this way I can take care of what I need to without interruptions." Still, Ruffino admits she misses the office camaraderie a bit, though her colleagues come to visit her.

For Ruffino, management is the key to why she's stayed at the company. "I like the association with Coldwell Banker and the national support I get from it. I feel a deep loyalty to my broker, who's always supported me and found ways for me to grow. He's on my side, so I don't feel alone out here."

Christina Hoffmann
Senior Speech Writer

Christina Hoffmann has covered real estate and homeownership for two decades, including as REALTOR® Magazine managing editor and’s content manager, with added expertise as owner of a demanding 100-year-old house. She is currently a senior speech writer at NAR.

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