How to bow out after owning a real estate agency

At Inman Connect Las Vegas on Wednesday, Walt Tamulinas, President and CEO of ERA Southern California Real Estate, shared tips for passing the torch to a new owner.

Inman events are the best way to connect, learn and grow. Join us this week, October 26-28, for Inman Connect Las Vegas, in person or virtually. Then continue to gain insights, strategies, and tactics to keep your business growing and make 2022 your best year ever with a full lineup of 2022 events! Book your dates and register now!

Walt Tamulinas is halfway through his exit strategy.

Tamulinas is the President and CEO of ERA Southern California Real Estate. But during a session at Inman Connect on Wednesday dubbed “Indie Exit Strategies: What Are Your Options?” Tamulinas explained how he plans to eventually retire from the business.

“A six-year plan is a good plan to do a phase-out,” he said. “And there are three phases over a six-year period.”

In Tamulinas’ case, that six-year plan involved ending his own involvement in his company at the same time his own adult children entered leadership positions. So, he said the first two years of his exit plan involved mentoring and trying to build the confidence of new leaders. The second phase – which Tamulinas is currently in – is to focus more on overall work and work fewer hours. And the final two-year phase will see Tamulinas move into a more ‘advisory’ role. Eventually, he hopes his children will buy it back, and he will set aside the money from the sale for grandchildren and other inherited uses.

Walt Tamulinas at Inman Connect on Wednesday. Credit: AJ Canaria of MoxiWorks

The point Tamulinas was making is that walking away from a company can be both a long process and one that requires intense planning. And while his particular exit strategy involves the family — he raised his children in the real estate business and described them on Wednesday as “my most beloved employees” — the same lessons apply to those who might be looking to retire. ‘another way.

“Try to find someone within your business who can take over,” Tamulinas advised other brokers who may not have family available to take over their business. He went on to note that good succession candidates can include key employees or high-performing agents within the brokerage.

Successful exits also involve planning ways to ensure the business being passed on has value. He recommended brokers try to own their own properties, for example, “where real value comes in,” and look for growth opportunities.

“The way you create value is through mergers and acquisitions,” added Tamulinas.

Walt Tamulinas, left, at Inman Connect on Wednesday with Brett Jennings, center, and Diana’s Wall. Credit: AJ Canaria of MoxiWorks

Tamulinas ultimately said he doesn’t think he’ll quit his business altogether, noting he’ll always be “a phone call away” to help whoever ends up owning his brokerage. But he also recalled how his son is now 40 and has therefore spent decades gradually embarking on a career running a brokerage.

It’s not a luxury that everyone has, but it emphasizes the long process of exiting a real estate company.

“I don’t think,” Tamulinas said, “you can start too soon.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II