Early in his career, Broker Steven Brackett felt he was paying so many fees and not getting much in return, from marketing support to education about the ever-changing industry.

“I was just thinking, ‘why is it this way? So competitive and confusing?’ I’m okay with paying my fair share, but show me the value. I didn’t feel I was getting the support I needed.”

He felt there was plenty of competition and egos would get in the way of business.

“There’s plenty of opportunities out there. Why can’t it be more of a ‘coopera-tition’ not competition? We all bleed Realtor® blue and most importantly, it’s about the clients, not us.”

So he dug deeper. He joined every Realtor® board and committee that he could, wanting to make a difference in the larger industry.

“The real estate industry changes fast,” he said. “You need to pivot with it, embrace change, adapt and grow. The ‘this is how it’s always been done’ attitude doesn’t work because today’s consumers are looking for more and deserve more. That’s where we come in.”

In 2018, he visited a National Association of Realtors® conference in Boston and saw a booth that actually stood out—Realty ONE Group, an agent-centric, debt-free, family-owned company, that has a mission statement that makes it stand out from other brokerages. It reads in part that, “you have ONE life to live. ONE chance to make it meaningful and ONE opportunity to live with no regrets. Take risks, be bold, seize the day and lead with respect.”

“I saw the black and gold first, but it was the people that kept me there,” Brackett said. “The brand rang true to my beliefs. The manifesto was an answer to so many of my whys. It resonated with me on so many levels as something for today’s real estate industry— socially, technologically and visually.”

Brackett saw a brand and culture, or rather a COOLture at Realty ONE Group, that felt contemporary, adapting to how people live today.

“This was a modern lifestyle real estate brand for the modern real estate industry,” Brackett said.

Brackett traveled to California to meet the owners and left feeling that he had an obligation to bring this company and its unique values back to Maine. In December 2018, with the support of his wife, Suzanne, and his children, Alex and Joey, Brackett invested every bit of his savings and energy to buy the franchise and then build it up over the following year before his first opening.

“Failure is not an option,” he said, measuring his own success by the success of the agents on his team. “And when you are putting your faith, family, agents and clients before yourself, doing the right thing, you will be successful over time.”

Brackett was awarded the Androscoggin County Realtor® of the Year in 2019 and that October, officially opened Realty ONE Group – Compass for business in Lewiston.

By centering six core values like professional coaching, community involvement, cutting-edge technology and a 100% commission model, ROG has created space for real estate agents who want something different, like a collaborative office that supports their professional and personal growth.

“We have a Director of Education to keep everyone up to date with changing regulations and practices,” Brackett said. ROG – Compass offers weekly trainings, such as “Rev Up,” a 26-week Real Estate 101 type course, “Contract to Close,” that dives into the legal documentation agents must know, and “Dinner, Drinks and Database,” a monthly collaborative event that mixes socializing with learning.

“We also provide a Director of Agent Services,” Brackett added. “They help agents with their social media, marketing and advertising no matter their proficiency level in those areas.”

“And our Director of Operations keeps us all out of ‘real estate jail,’ keeping us updated with regulations and reviewing contracts.”

The success of Realty ONE Group – Compass in the pandemic year of 2020 speaks to the special proposition the company offers. They have grown to a team of 60 or so and have opened a second office at 39 Mechanic St. in Westbrook. They will be hosting a grand opening on Friday, June 11.

The Compass group is excited to show off their 5,000 square foot, black and gold office space with a multimedia studio, ONE.u, the company’s education center and even cold brew coffee on tap to keep everyone going.

“Our brand is down-to-earth, approachable,” Brackett said, emphasizing that his success is because “our agents’ success.”

“We talk to our clients like partners and need to meet them where they’re at. So, buyer, seller, agent, we hope you’ll meet us where we’re at later this week, and get to know what we can do.”

Interested in being part of a team that wants to learn and grow together? Visit join.realtyonegroup.com/maine to get in touch.


CORRECTION: *The print version of this article had an incorrect date. Steven Brackett opened the first Realty ONE Group office in Lewiston on October 1, 2019, not in December.