For the past year, the Guild of Independent Real Estate Professionals has been doing great work with the independent brokers of Westchester County. The group's core purpose is to give the independent companies of the county strength in numbers. There are member brokers from all over Westchester, and one common thread we all possess is that we are smaller, unaffiliated firms that pride ourselves on personal service. No franchises and no large companies (I hope to someday be disqualified from membership on that little clause there) are eligible for membership.
Aside from being a great networking source, the Guild has run some exciting events, such as the Warmth for Westchester clothing drive this past Christmas, a large multi firm cooperative open house spanning the county, and even a live bid event for showcase listings. Home buyer seminars are the latest project.
Brokers are not the only members. We count in our ranks mortgage companies, lawyers, technology firms, appraisers, home inspectors and title companies.
I am a charter member and on the technology committee. Groups like the guild are good for the public to know about, because people need to know that we as an industry are committed to cooperation, networking, and finding new and better ways to do business. That translates into better results for the clients. Plus, there is indeed strength in numbers. I have found that the camaraderie among us even as competitors is very good. Let's face it- even people in the same company compete, so our affiliation is good for business. I seldom lose a listing to a big firm, but if the issue ever comes up, I have a great answer.