Our History

The Story Behind The Brand

In the spring of 2010, a bombshell was dropped on Gavin Ernstone. The RE/MAX brokerage where he had worked for years had decided to change to another national brand with a 6% franchise fee. Gavin’s first call was to John Gafford, who had recently left the same brokerage to buy a Keller Williams franchise, to see if he wanted to partner on a new RE/MAX. As he was already invested in Keller Williams, John declined. Gavin instead set out to open a new RE/MAX.

Just days before flying to Denver to finalize the deal, Gavin had a thought. He sent an email to his client base (the “Who’s Who” of Las Vegas luxury home clients) asking one question, “How important is the brokerage brand name to our relationship?” The response changed everything. The majority of his clients didn’t even know he worked with RE/MAX! He cancelled his flight with one thought in mind. “We are going to build a luxury full service firm with a 100% commission plan.”

In April 2010, the first Simply Vegas opened in Summerlin. Meanwhile, John was busy at work at Keller Williams growing the company by leaps and bounds. By the end of 2011, the company had grown to two offices with nearly 200 agents. However, despite having all those agents, the profitability wasn’t growing, and regardless of how hard John worked, the payoff just wasn’t there.

Simply Vegas, on the other hand, seemed to be pulling in one top producer after another. John, after observing this with disbelief, asked Gavin out to lunch. Gavin said something that would change John’s course. Gavin said “We run our business like a private club. We only accept the most productive agents we want to work with.”

John immediately saw his mistake. By focusing on the quality of the agents, instead of the quantity of them, productivity could be much higher with much less effort. John immediately decided to sell his stake in his offices and buy into Simply Vegas.

In January 2012, all parties amicably agreed. Then, in February 2012, Simply Vegas Green Valley opened its doors. Since that time, Simply Vegas has slowly grown to over 320 agents but, more importantly, ranks number three in total listing volume. Only Berkshire Hathaway, with 900 agents, and Realty One, with over 1200 agents, have higher total listing volume. We are proud to say that we are the highest grossing boutique luxury firm in the state of Nevada.

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