ERA is doubling its franchise agreements in Colorado Springs, but there are some distinct differences in the way each operation does business.

The move to add Roger Herman’s Herman Group Real Estate will more than triple the number of ERA-related agents and brokers in the market.

While the two will cover much of the same territory, ERA Shields Real Estate, owned by Bill Hurt, has a more traditional approach with two physical locations, while Herman Group’s agents typically work off-site.

Prior to joining the ERA organization, Herman operated independently for two years with offices in Colorado Springs, Denver and, most recently, Fort Collins. The firm employs about 260 local broker agents and a total of 1,000 along the Front Range. Herman also owns a South Florida franchise with 230 agents, which also joined the national network.

The Herman Group’s addition to the ERA network underscores ERA’s desire to expand its largely home-based brokerage model — a move that ERA Franchise Systems CEO Charlie Young considers key.

“Roger is forward-thinking,” Young said. “His approach is characteristic of the kind of company we have and will continue to attract as we grow our network.”

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Herman expects big results from his lower-overhead operation.

“I think smaller sticks-and-bricks and more emphasis on home offices with online access to all MLS or industry information will help us grow. We’ll maintain an office — and we’re definitely a full-service company — but today’s brokers don’t go in as much. They can write a contract online and e-mail to a client,” he said. “Our model is about economies of scale.”

Hurt’s son and Shields broker Eddie Hurt said his company, which has about 100 people, has no plans to change its approach.

“Their (Herman Group’s) focus is on home-officing agents, lower producers,” he said. “About 20 percent of their brokers are typically high producers. … Our brokers tend to be 80-percent high producers. We believe they get a lot of energy from each other (by working out of an office together) — and synergy equates to greater production.”

ReMax Properties Inc. owner/broker Joe Clement agrees. He runs four offices in the area. His operation includes 240 brokers, about 170 of whom work at one of those offices.

“There is a trend toward less office space — and maybe in 2005 when the market was hot, off-site people were running and gunning. Today though, less mortar and bricks pushes some brokers too far into orbit. It’s been our experience that if the wrong person goes off-site, they’re just one step from leaving the business.”

And like Hurt, he’s found that office interaction typically leads to higher sales volume.

“They (off-site brokers) miss out on the synergy, the opportunity to run into another broker in the hall who tells you about a property that might be just right for your client.”

Just whose approach will work best remains to be seen.

Wells Fargo earns LEED Silver

This new Wells Fargo Bank in Colorado Springs is the company’s first LEED Silver-certified branch in the state.
This new Wells Fargo Bank in Colorado Springs is the company’s first LEED Silver-certified branch in the state.

In a first for the state of Colorado, a new Wells Fargo bank built in Colorado Springs by G.E. Johnson Construction Co. and designed by the Davis Partnership Architects has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification.

The United States Green Building Council and Wells Fargo have teamed to make LEED Certification on a large scale more practical and cost-effective, said G.E. Johnson spokesman Al Slattery. The company is currently designing two more LEED-certified banks, one to be built in Denver and the other in Boulder.

The new 5,200-square-foot Colorado Springs bank at Briargate Parkway and North Powers Boulevard incorporates numerous green building features including insulation made from recycled blue jeans.

Becky Hurley can be reached at or 719-329-5235.