In the late 1980s, Mary LaMeres-Pomin and Lyle Martin had a small, successful residential real estate office in Reno, Nevada; mostly working referrals and repeat customers. Around that time, large franchise offices and “mega-brokers” started to emerge and increase in popularity. Consumers believed that bigger meant better. Mary and Lyle realized they needed a competitive advantage if they were going to compete successfully with the “big boys.” After witnessing the success of discount companies in other industries, they came up with a premise: If you charge home sellers less, you should be able to do enough volume to make up for the lower fees. They were right! And Assist-2-Sell was born.
Business took off as they began targeting “For Sale by Owners” (FSBOs) with their discounted commission. Mary and Lyle soon realized home sellers needed and wanted full-service, but they wanted to pay a more reasonable fee. So, they made some adjustments and Assist-2-Sell evolved into a “full service discount commission” model.
No one else was offering full service discount rate real estate, which meant Mary and Lyle had to write the book. They refined the “Assist-2-Sell System” based on their experiences and became experts at adaptation.
The “low fee” commission structure wasn’t the only thing that was different about Assist-2-Sell. Sellers were paying high commissions and still ending up with agents who spent less time marketing their home and more time trying to find their next listing. Mary and Lyle understood that if agents didn’t need to market themselves they would have more time to provide customer service. The Assist-2-Sell low fee real estate concept attracts the listings and Assist-2-Sell agents focus on servicing that business.
The “old way,” where home sellers typically depended on agents for the marketing of their home, also invited problems. Did the agent know how to effectively market their home? Did they have adequate funds for marketing their listings? Typically, marketing was limited to placing the home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and running an occasional newspaper ad. The Assist-2-Sell model removes the burden of marketing the home from the individual agents because all marketing is handled by the office.
As Mary and Lyle continued to grow their business and experience increased success, they began receiving calls from brokers and agents wanting to know if they could buy a franchise. Mary and Lyle knew the Assist-2-Sell low fee real estate concept would work in other markets and they wanted to expand, so in 1993 they became franchisors of the Assist-2-Sell concept. The first Assist-2-Sell franchise office opened in April 1994, and by the end of that year, the fifth office had opened.
Since then, Assist-2-Sell has become one of the fastest-growing realty franchises and has been recognized as one of the top real estate franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine and The Wall Street Journal’s StartupJournal.com. Currently, there are hundreds of Assist-2-Sell officesthroughout the United States and Canada.
With the Internet, consumers have become much more sophisticated and more knowledgeable about the real estate process. This increased consumer awareness has helped “non-traditional” real estate companies gain traction in recent years, adding to the pressure on “traditional” real estate sales commissions. Assist-2-Sell is well-equipped to satisfy consumers’ increased thirst for knowledge—Mary and Lyle built the company to change and adapt to the needs of consumers. In 2008, Assist-2-Sell launched a new national Web site that brings all Assist-2-Sell realty franchises and their listings together in one place.