Montague Real Estate Founder Thomas Balashev On Why The UK Can Learn From U.S. Real Estate Industry

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Montague Real Estate Founder Thomas Balashev is making waves on a global scale, and most recently made his entrance to the U.S. real estate market in a grand way—with an impressive $9.1M listing at the prestigious Jade Signature development in Sunny Isles Beach.

While Balashev and his team have established themselves as a premier, boutique real estate firm based out of Mayfair in London, his entrance to the competitive U.S. market has opened his eyes up to the difference in industry professionals in the U.S. versus the UK. As an industry leader and an expert on luxury real estate, he's come to applaud the 'U.S. way of doing things,' particularly pertaining to the way individual agents market and educate themselves.

There are major differences in the qualifications, training and education required to obtain a license in the profession in the two markets. While the U.S. requires thorough education of 90 hours and an exam that must be passed, with additional requirements for continuing education and renewing licenses over the years, Balashev notes that the UK has some ways to go in that department.

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Jade Signature pool area

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"In the UK, weak regulation and low barriers to entry to becoming a property broker are tarnishing the reputation of the quality agencies. Anyone really can declare themselves a broker, and in my view, this undermines the industry. When I think about the other parties involved in a property transaction in the UK, you would expect any competent financial advisor or solicitor to be trained and qualified – so why not the property broker?" he notes. 

He feels that this situation can be rectified, modeling after the U.S. real estate, which he has come to admire.

"This is why I am calling for a minimum required amount of training required and the establishment of central licensing and regulatory body in the UK, which would ensure an examined standard was met before individuals or agencies could call themselves property brokers," he shares. 

Balashev also touches on the importance of each realtor building his/her own brand within the U.S. market. In the UK, he feels that more emphasis is placed on the brand behind the broker, not the broker as an individual brand. This leaves fewer options and also less motivation behind the due diligence behind the realtor to go above and beyond for the client.

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Sky Villa at Jade Signature Views

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‘Take football clubs for example," he explains. "They build their own brand, but also support and nurture the individual brands of the players, who the clubs know are the real individual assets and stars of the show. I believe agencies should be the same. Of course, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. But investment in the individual agents and their brand offers a more human, accessible, and relatable service – people prefer to do business with people, not with less personable companies and corporations."

Because of this, Balashev plans to continue Montague's presence within the U.S. real estate market, with expansion plans on the horizon for new listings. Outside the U.S., Montague has also recently entered the Middle East market in a significant way, even creating a new division of the company for this market alone, headed up by Luke Banks. Additionally, Montague has its sights set on Asia to enter the Hong Kong market in the coming year.

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