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How John Gafford is Reinventing Real Estate

John Gafford has become both and enigma and a central figure in realestate

John Gafford is a man of many titles. A well-respected and recognized name in the real estate industry.  An expert at scaling and building businesses in the hospitality, insurance, and tech spaces. A former contestant on the third season of NBC’s The Apprentice. Host of the Power Move podcast. Husband. Father. And more recently, the man to revolutionize the buying and selling of property by introducing vertical integration to real estate brokerages.

Along with his partner Gavin Ernstone, Gafford is the co-founder of The Simply Group, a company aimed at vertically integrating the business of large real estate brokerages through joint venture partnerships in mortgage, insurance and title services. Comprised of Simply Vegas, a luxury real estate firm that boasts over 500 real estate agents and does over 4000 transactions annually, Clear Title Company, which specializes in title insurance and escrow services, and Streamline Home Loans and Savvy, an insurance aggregator, The Simply Group has streamlined the real estate process by having total control over their business chain and not having to rely on external organizations.

“Our real estate vertical integration model is key to the long-term success of the brokerage business,” says Gafford, who has a keen eye for detecting industry trends.  “I thought why not figure out what brokerage owners need instead of selling what I want. A trend of lower listing commissions was becoming very prevalent. This resulted in the lowering of buyer’s agent commissions. Lots of brokers were starting to feel the pinch as their agents were fleeing for less expensive companies to compensate for the reduction.” 

Real estate commissions have been on a steady decline in recent years, reaching an all-time low of less than 5% in 2020, according to Real Trends. Vertical integration replaces this lost revenue by creating other revenue opportunities, which allows brokers to offer more to their agents for less. In addition, when everything is done in-house instead of being outsourced, it cuts costs, improves efficiency, decreases delays, and reduces uncertainty.  “We have found that having all of these businesses under one roof is great for the agent and better for the client,” he explains. “There is nothing worse when a problem arises in a real estate transaction and your only course of action for help is to dial a 1-800 call center. Proximity equals access. Access equals rapid solutions. Solution equals happy clients.” 

The Simply Group’s vertical integration model isn’t the only thing that sets them apart from competitors. Priding themselves on providing an “elite client experience”, the firm only hires agents with demonstrated competency and experience. He describes his business as a “private club” to which only highly talented agents are invited to join. 

Of course, not everyone has the capital or contacts to do everything in-house. That’s something Gafford wants to change. “This idea of massively increasing the value of their company by creating revenue streams with higher multiples became the mission of The Simply Group,” he says. “The fact is that real estate is changing and we are at the forefront of leading that change, rescuing the existing brokerage model and creating an elite customer experience for the clients.” 

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