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30 Years In, An Independent Brokerage Network Continues To Deliver Results

Paul Fogel, Karbank Real Estate Co./CORFAC International in Mission Woods, Kan.; Scott Hensley, Piedmont Properties of the Carolinas/CORFAC International in Charlotte, N.C.; and Alan Joel, Joel & Granot Real Estate/CORFAC International in Atlanta, CORFAC International’s 2020 president.

During the 1980s, the demands of commercial real estate clients started to change.

Clients began to look for brokers who were not only experts in their local market, but experts on markets around the globe. To compete, local brokerage firms were faced with one of two choices: either be bought out by a large global firm, or merge with other regional firms to create a formal network. 

The founders of CORFAC International chose a different course. They created an independent, member-owned network designed to serve as a resource to allow brokers to effectively manage their clients’ needs both in their home market and internationally. 

This year CORFAC is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The network’s global footprint continues to grow while its members remain entrepreneurial and focused on delivering high-quality service to clients around the world.

“With CORFAC, you have the ability to project yourself through multiple partners throughout the country and the world,” said J. Michael Boyd, president of Boyd Commercial LLC/CORFAC International, in Houston. “When we have outbound transactions, we know we’re working with high-quality people. And when it’s an incoming deal, the referring broker knows we’re going to do a great job for their client.”

Boyd is one of the five co-founders of CORFAC, all of whom are principals of noncompeting brokerage firms across the U.S. and have developed friendships through their shared membership in SIOR and other professional organizations. Together, they created a network of brokers who share information freely without pressure to compete or refer clients to one another. 

Brokers who are members of the network retain 100% of their commissions on cross-market referrals. More importantly, they choose to work with their network partners because they know and trust each other, not because they are contractually obligated or financially motivated to do so. The only consideration is what’s best for the client.

While CORFAC has grown steadily over time, growth has sped up dramatically in recent years, with 25 new offices joining the network since 2015. CORFAC affiliates now provide a range of brokerage services to investors and occupiers of office, industrial and retail properties in 50 cities across the U.S., five in Canada and 22 more overseas. 

“That’s a long way from the handful of affiliates who launched the member-owned network in 1989,” Boyd said. 

Jack Allen, president of long-term affiliate Karbank Real Estate Co./CORFAC International, in Kansas City, Missouri, explained that CORFAC allows him to keep his focus on his home market while simultaneously managing clients in other cities because he has complete confidence in the brokerage team. 

The network does more than simply provide a streamlined referral process. Because they are not competitors, affiliates openly share their best practices and market insights with one another at CORFAC conferences. That free flow of information helps ensure client referrals are handled with a high degree of professionalism and dedication, Boyd said.  

CORFAC only selects firms with strong track records in their markets that have connections with existing members who can vouch for their dedication. In addition, CORFAC boasts a high percentage of affiliates with professional designations such as SIOR, CCIM, CPM and RICS. This way, members and their clients are assured of expertise and dedication on deals done through the network.

“The next 30 years will be a time of significant change and disruption in the real estate brokerage sector – just like the past 30 years have been,” said Sim Doughtie, president of King Industrial Realty Inc./CORFAC International, in Atlanta, and 2019 President of CORFAC International. “One thing that never changes is the importance of industry expertise and trusted relationships with clients. CORFAC provides local firms with the vehicle to achieve that goal.” 

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and CORFAC International. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.