Some real estate agents forgo traditional offices for coworking spaces

Sandra J. Pennecke, The Virginian-Pilot
·3 min read

Russell Bryant went on a tour of Gather and signed a lease for a space the very same day.

Bryant, a realtor with Creed Realty in Virginia Beach, is part of an ongoing trend at the modern community workspace.

He is one of about two dozen real estate agents, teams and brokerages who are forgoing their traditional office settings for space at the coworking facility’s locations in Virginia Beach, Newport News and Norfolk.

Why?

“The mix of professionals — from all business backgrounds — open, spacious space, vibe and feel along with the location less than four minutes from my home, ultimately led me to sign a lease that day for my space,” he said.

Bryant, now in his 11th year as a real estate agent, with clients in Virginia and North Carolina, had worked in his company’s main office off of Lynnhaven Parkway.

At the end of December 2020, he signed up for an oversized, one-person office at Gather, which rents coworking spaces ($250 a month), dedicated desks ($350 a month) and private offices (starting at $500 a month).

Bryant said he has seen substantial savings in gasoline and time, but he has especially appreciated the ability to reach out to different people for input, ideas and collaboration at any given time.

He said he can’t put a price tag on the amount of connections he has made in two months, but “they have resulted in better service for my clients, closed deals and new listings.”

Tomasina Tatterson-Hood, managing broker and team leader for Keller Williams Realty, said her company was chose Gather after search for additional space for its property management and title companies.

In January, they signed up for full membership with two offices.

She cited a long list of shared amenities including free notary services, private offices for meetings, flexible spaces for small or large teams, 24/7 access, free event space and a soundproof podcast room for recordings, and added that sanitization during the pandemic is a plus.

“We have cleaners coming by every hour,” she said.

It used to cost $350 a month just to clean her office, Tatterson-Hood said, and she now is paying $500 a month per office for everything.

Shannon Koprowski, Gather’s regional director, said a lot of brokers who lease commercial real estate decided that they had more space than they needed to accommodate everybody on their teams.

“But the reality of it is that most real estate agents are not in the office … they’re out showing or listing homes,” Koprowski said. “So, what they like about Gather is they can have an office with maybe five, six or 10 seats as the brokerage, but then they can add on extra members (flex members) on top of that.”

Koprowski said Gather has three locations in Hampton Roads and four in Richmond, and members can use any of them.

“They can drop in, book conference rooms — and there’s a lot of networking and collaboration,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to have all of those professional locations at their disposal when they do need it.”

The Norfolk and Newport News locations have been in business for over a year, and the Virginia Beach locale opened in August.

Koprowski said some members paused their memberships or left when COVID hit, “but it’s been picking back up for the past couple of months.”

The Gather in Virginia Beach’s Town Center — which opened during the pandemic — is already at 40% occupancy.

Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836, sandra.pennecke@insidebiz.com