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Hornung fixing real estate one agent at a time

Lane Hornung

Lane Hornung

Article Highlights:

  • 8z named Beta Brokerage for innovative practices by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

Lane Hornung, CEO of 8z, believes consumers come first.

  • Eight other companies nationwide also were named as Beta Brokerage firms.

Lane Hornung doesn’t recruit broker to 8z Real Estate.

He “selects” them.

“We believe real estate is broken, and we are fixing it,” Hornung, the co-founder of 8z,  told Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

Hornung selects agents for 8z “who are into our purpose of fixing real estate,” Hornung explained to the giant real estate company, which recently named 8z as a Beta Brokerage firm for “doing things differently in business and breaking the rules of tradition.”

“Our whole business system is designed to have agents who know a neighborhood and who can provide value beyond the Internet. We emphasize local expertise,” Hornung said.

Boulder-based 8z is a sponsor of InsideRealEstateNews.com; indeed, its relationship with IREN was cited by Better Homes and Gardens as an innovative practice by Hornung.

Last Friday, Hornung was in New York City to be honored as a Beta Brokerage at the annual Real Estate Connect conference sponsored by Inman News.

His company was one of nine named as a Beta Brokerage firm for 2012. “These companies did not win, meaning there was no structured competition,” a spokeswoman for Better Homes and Gardens said. “Rather they were selected by our brand based on their innovative approaches to and strategies within the real estate industry.”

In 2010, when the designation was launched, Live Urban of Denver was names as a Beta Brokerage.

It is all about the consumer at 8z, in contrast to some other firms, where owners of  franchise offices identify its customers as real estate agents in the office who are paying a fee for the desk and the company name, Hornung said.

“It is nice to be recognized as a brokerage that is trying to do things a little different and improve the consumer experience,” said Hornung, who launched 8z in January 2010, after a dozen years as a broker. He also is a co-founder of COhomefinder.com. 8z  takes its name from the fact that all Zip Codes in Colorado begin with the number 8. Hornung also has branched into Northern California, opening an 8z operation in Burlingame, Calif.

Last year, the 64 8z agents averaged 22.5 transactions each, according to Better Homes and Gardens.

Before he became a real estate broker, Hornung worked on the technology side for ZipRealty in the San Francisco area, after receiving an industrial engineering degree from Stanford University. ZipRealty was one of the first brokerage companies to put all listings information in front of online consumers.

The best practices and innovative strategies of independent companies identified as being Beta Brokerages will benefit the entire real estate industry, according to better Homes and Gardens.

“Our brand values the entrepreneurial spirit and idea sharing that will drive our industry into the future,” said Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens.

“We salute these Beta Brokerages who challenge the status quo of real estate and value their willingness to share their revolutionary ideas so our industry as a whole can learn from them,” Chris said.

In selecting Beta Brokers, Better Homes and Gardens uses five key metrics:

  • New approaches to talent attraction.
  • Expert sourcing for local content.
  • Identifying and owning trends.
  • Implementation of sophisticated marketing and social media.

In addition to Hornung at 8z, other 2012 Beta Brokerages include:

  •  Michael Meier, The Meier Group, New York.
  • Mark Mlakar and Dominic Morrocco, M Squared Realty, Washington, D.C.
  • Tiffany Combs, Climb Real Estate, San Francisco.
  • Jeff Burke, NuHabitat, Houston.
  • Greg Dallaire, Dallaire Realty, Green Bay, Wis.
  • Jeff Martel, 43 Degrees North Real Estate, Boise, Idaho.
  • Phillip Cantrell, Benchmark Realty, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Vanessa Bergmark, Red Oak Realty, Berkeley, Calif.

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.