The discount real estate brokerage known as 2.5% Real Estate Direct is changing its name and brand to reflect its evolving business.
The firm started by Jed Carroll in 2003 is now called J Lawrence Realty, which Carroll said sounds more like a full-service brokerage than a low-cost alternative.
The goal is to better position the firm to attract customers – especially home sellers. It also launched a new website.
“It sounds more professional and elite than leading with a discount percentage in the eyes of some consumers,” said Carroll, who named it after his first initial and middle name. “We have found that some consumers desire all that we offer. However, they would rather have a sign like J Lawrence Realty over 2.5% Real Estate Direct.”
The firm was originally designed with the intent that homeowners would take on some of the responsibility and work themselves and would pay less of a commission to the agents – as low as 2.5 percent of the sale price instead of the usual 6 percent. But it now offers multiple options for customers besides the original discount.
Carroll said more than half of his agents are ranked among the top 100 locally, out of 3,000 agents, and a few in both Buffalo and Rochester are in the top 1 percent of all agents in their market.
Specifically, he said, agent Susan Chaskes is ranked sixth in the Buffalo market out of 3,000 agents, with more than $15 million in sales volume in both 2012 and 2013. Pamela Kohrn increased her sales to over $10 million last year from $8.8 million in 2012, while Laura Giuseppetti boosted hers from $8.3 million in 2012 to over $11 million last year.
Carroll first entered the residential real estate field with the launch of America’s Choice, a for-sale-by-owner marketing company. The firm charges a flat fee of $495 for its assistance to sellers. It markets homes online through its own website, Trulia, Zillow and others, as well as through lawn signs and in limited print advertising.