What growth ambitions for the Capifrance agent network?

By Christian Captain | the † Agent network

For Philippe Buyens, head of Capifrance since 2013, agents are not done nibbling market share from traditional agencies. He also remembers the fundamentals of his network’s model and is confident that the race for the greatest number of advisors has never been a priority for Capifrance.

Philippe Buyens has been CEO of Capifrance since January 2013 – © DR

How much does Capifrance weigh today?

In terms of turnover, we exceeded the bar of 140 million euros in 2021. That’s a 25% growth from 2020. And this on a nearly constant perimeter, as we have a number of advisors similar to what we had 12 months ago, which is 3,020 agents.

Turning to 2022, and in a transaction market where growth momentum has become more reasonable, we note a 10% increase in revenue over the same period of 2021.

Two years ago you claimed in these columns to be the first network of agents in terms of turnover per advisor. Is this still the case?

Absolute. If we divide the turnover of the network by the number of our advisors, we arrive at an individual annual turnover of more than 46,000 euros. Our betting strategy has never been a frenetic race to recruit new advisors. Our aim is to train and guide them well. Grow them in skills.

And as a result, they can achieve the ambitions they have set for themselves. Because remember that they are all independent, that they are their own boss. The goal is for them to reach a business potential of 100,000 euros.

What is your growth potential, still in terms of headcount?

We are now homogeneously located throughout the national territory, but with two sectors in which we can develop even better: the large 1/4 northeast, as well as the major cities of the country, ie those with at least 200,000 inhabitants .

Our goal is to reach the threshold of 1 advisor for 3,000 households throughout France. Knowing that we are deployed in urban, suburban and rural areas at the same time.

Of the profiles that join us, 30% of them are real estate professionals (former real estate advisor or representative of a network) and the other 70% follow a professional retraining. What is especially important to us is the recruitment of motivated and rigorous women and men with solid human qualities.

Capifrance was born just 20 years ago. What was the original plan?

That’s to say that the internet will now be the real estate market’s window – a superpowered showcase – and no longer the real estate agencies that have settled in. At that point, the bet was risky. And so, in 2002, Capifrance was the first agent network in France. Since then, our model has been emulated.

But what quickly made us unique from other networks was positioning ourselves as a global player in a segmented market context. That is, by developing the transaction markets (which today still make up 85% of our business), commercial real estate, annuities, rental (more recently for two years) and of course new real estate with, to date, 25,000 units for sale and clients are among the largest promoters in the country.

You mentioned the model of the so-called “traditional” real estate agencies. Is there room for everyone in agent network development?

Probably. But we can clearly see that this model of desks with showcases is no longer growing. The major real estate brands (for whom I have worked in the past) are no longer advancing in terms of the number of agencies operated.

Above all, agent networks are seeing their market share growing in the transaction segment. And their growth is such that, according to various studies, they should reach a market share identical to that of brick-and-mortar real estate agencies within 5 years.

But beware, it is not my intention to antagonize the models. But to say that there are differences between them. In our agent networks, for example, the advisors are all independent, they do not meet the same obligations. Our model is therefore more agile in its operation.

In addition, we have a stronger clout for the purchase of certain tools, with better conditions, because we purchase for the entire network and not individually.

We also guarantee to all our customers – at least at Capifrance – the presence of their advertisements on all portals, including international platforms, and this without any time limit.

Finally, agent networks guarantee their advisors more attractive compensation systems than brokerage firms. At Capifrance, for example, our advisors receive up to 100% of the commissions, with a threshold of 70% being set at the beginning.

As for, now, the transaction market in the old, how do you analyze its evolution?

After an abnormally dynamic year 2021, in 2022 we returned with more reason to a more normal cycle with more balance between supply and demand. Admittedly, demand is slowing down, selling times are getting longer, the market is becoming more traditional and prices are being negotiated more. But the momentum remains good: by 2022, the national market should reach a volume of almost 1 million transactions.

In any case, at Capifrance we remain on track for growth, with a revenue increase of 10% to 15% in the coming years. And in terms of personnel, we are now at a third of our expected development.

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