“I felt it was time to be in a boutique environment. Because of the nature of what’s going on in the market today, I need to be very flexible and need to be able to do a lot of different things,” he said.
Larger firms tend to spend more resources on training, have more management layers and often have agents specialize in specific parts of the market. Drummond said that the desire to work on different types of transactions helped push him to a boutique office.
“The market now is composed of estate sales, and then there are foreclosures, there are short sales and then there are retail sales, so what we want to do is be able to handle all of those aspects in all of those businesses,” he said.
Keith Sorem, an agent with Keller Williams in Glendale, said the unsettled market is driving many agents to make a change, and pushing some part-timers to drop out of the business entirely. The number of sales is down from previous years, and prices have dropped as well.
Sorem said the average sale price of a home in La Cañada dropped by $285,000 over the last year, from nearly 1,368,000 to $1,083,000. In La Crescenta, Sorem said, more than one-third of all transactions involve bank-owned properties or so-called short sales, where banks agree to let owners sell for less than what they owe on the mortgage in order to avoid the foreclosure process.
Drummond emphasized that he left Podley on good terms, and a Podley executive said the firm is not seeing an exodus.
“Doug, he’s a great guy, he had to make a change, he thought he might do better somewhere else,” said Sales Manager Rick Mueller. “Podley is doing very well, they’ve always done very well and we’re one of these types of companies that has been in the business for a long, long time.”