Bill Bullock, President and CEO of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Real Estate has been awarded the honor of “2020 Game Changer” by REAL Trends.
REAL Trends has reviewed top real estate firms that have experienced significant grown from 2014-2018, and has selected 13 leaders from national networks and independent brokerages, including Bill Bullock - who ranked 5th on the list, having grown his San Francisco Bay Area brokerage by a staggering 190%. Today, Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty has over 600 agents, 27 offices and $5 billion+ in sales volume in 2019. Mr. Bullock’s brokerage has also topped the 2020 REAL Trends national rankings in a number of metrics, including #25 in Sales Volume, #5 for Highest Average Sale Price, and #20 for growth in closed escrows.
Bullock began his company almost 30 years ago with just two owners, five agents, and a small office in Marin County. Most of Golden Gate Sotheby’s growth has been organic through acquisition - initially in Marin County. When the company became affiliated with Sotheby’s in 2007 they had only 35 agents. Within a couple of years the brokerage grew to over 200 agents with $2 billion in sales and nine offices. Per Bullock “joining forces with Sotheby’s was a big moment for us. Had we not done that I don’t think we would be the company we are today.”
Bullock’s big ‘ah ha’ moment occurred during the 2008 economic meltdown. Everyone including real estate companies were terrified. “I was sitting in my office one day and said to myself ‘Bullock if you are ever going to be anything but be a single county company you have got to come out of this downturn better than you went it to it.’ I took the risk of hiring a COO and moved into one of the best commercial buildings in Marin – both of which I could ill-afford - and bet the whole company on the decision to come out of the downturn better than we had gone into it. Everyone thought I was crazy back then. But that was really what changed the company, as we came out of the downturn in 2010, having had almost ten years of uninterrupted growth in the economy and residential real estate since. As a result of that 2009 decision we have been in the forefront since that critical decision to change the way we were doing things.”
In a recent podcast interview with the editor and chief of REAL Trends, Tracy Velt, Bullock was quoted as saying ‘When you have a vision that’s so strong that you know in your heart that it can’t fail, then you do everything you have to do to push that vision forward - including if you have to mortgage the farm. Recognize that there are real risks associated with growth and you have to be willing to take them. If you want to grow, do your due diligence and seek advice, but in the end trust your hunches – they’re almost always right. Then, feel the fear – and do it anyway!
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