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Finding the people

by Meg White

The topic of mergers and acquisitions can make a person feel small. What do agents, brokers, staffers and managers really mean to CEOs and company owners in this process? Are they not all pawns in a master game of real estate domination?

Maybe that characterization strikes you as a bit dramatic, but anyone who’s been through a merger or acquisition can tell you it’s a situation with high emotional stakes. And when the M&A saga happens to take place upon the roller coaster that is real estate, tensions are ratcheted up even farther. It’s not just the ups and downs of the housing market that add drama; in an industry populated by so many independent contractors, it’s easy for many who see change on the horizon to jump ship.

But as is the case with so many stories, perceptions shift once you get in there and start talking to people who have experienced the situation firsthand. Far from being a faceless chess game, the merger and acquisition processes are about people more than anything else. After all, the importance of a culture fit cannot be overstated, and what is corporate culture but a collective expression of the people who make up a company?

In our cover story, we hear from an agent, a team leader and a broker-owner about what it feels like to go through the process of having one’s company acquired by another. This 360-degree view of the process helps us understand the qualities that make for a good future parent company, techniques that can make the process smoother and benefits that might not be so apparent when the news first breaks about two companies becoming one.

The story isn’t complete without you, however. If you have advice on going through a merger or acquisition, or if you see one on the horizon and want to talk about it, drop me a line at

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