Photo by Michelle Wagner-Yeats of MWY Photo Services
The real estate leader bringing back a business philosophy from days-gone-by
while leading one of the fastest-growing boutique firms in Colorado.
The very concept of creating a business so that the employees could prosper is not only unheard of, but almost hard to believe. Yet, that is exactly what Greg Peterson did when he painstakingly structured his real estate firm, Top Dog Properties, to benefit brokers over the business. For anyone who’s ever crossed paths with Greg, this was anything but surprising. He’s never been driven by ego, or money, or status, but by a simple yet profound idea—helping people. And if you think that Greg’s concept for Top Dog Properties was doomed from its inception, think again. This trendsetting team of multicultural, multilingual brokers serve nearly 80% of the Colorado population, specializing in resort areas and the Denver Metro area—and they’re still growing! “Seeing my brokers grow and succeed. This is why I founded the company, and this is what drives me every day,” Greg shares.
In the highly competitive and often predatory market of real estate, you simply will not find another brokerage using a wholly beneficent business model. It doesn’t exist. Perhaps this is why, in just its first few months of operation, Top Dog Properties has already completed nearly a hundred transactions valued at over $30 million, with a company comprised predominantly of new brokers. But amid the buzz of financial success, lies a culture of selflessness, where brokers are rewarded for helping each other and are paid more than the owner. It’s a system that was invented by brokers for brokers, with a collective goal to disrupt industry norms and reinvent the way business is done. “We don’t strive to be ahead of the curve, we create the curve,” Greg says. And he means it. Top Dog Properties has the most dynamic commission structure in the market, and not only are there no monthly fees for brokers, but at the end of every year, Greg divvies up to 25% of his profit as an additional “Thank you” to all his brokers.
With national franchise opportunities and international expansion in the works, there is no doubt that this unicorn of brokerages is not only succeeding, but flourishing—along with every one of Greg’s brokers, to whom he gives all the credit. “We’re a family, more than anything. Without them, there is no company. I’m just another broker out there working.”
We spoke with Greg to learn more about the innovative culture he’s created, his plans for expansion, and his favorite topic, the Top Dog brokers and support team.
Greg, I know most of our readers want to know why on earth you started a company geared more toward the success of others than yourself. How did this idea come about?
When I was a broker with other brokerages, I had many associates who shared the same dissatisfaction and felt the same frustrations as I did. It began as conversations, discussions about the utter lunacy that existed in real estate brokerages but nowhere else, like having to pay the company every month to work there. We started realizing that what existed did not have to continue, so we created new policies as a collective. Whatever we didn’t like, we eliminated. Being charged for leads—gone. Owners cherry-picking the best leads—nope. Small commissions—no more. Then, when we decided to leave the company, the owner said to me in front of members of my team, “You’re a failure of a leader and a failure of a broker, and no one will follow you.” One hundred percent of the team did. Now, at Top Dog Properties, I’m able to enact the clear vision of what my job as owner is: To help my people succeed and build wealth through multiple revenue streams. I also teach a small, intimate real estate licensing course several times each year, and many students have gone on to become absolute superstars, crushing it their first year in the industry with our model.
You’re currently expanding into Mexico. What led to this decision?
I first discovered the real estate opportunities in Mexico when my wife, who owns UMA Fitness Massage and Bodywork, had several clients who had second homes there. Then, last year, when we purchased a condo in Tulum, I noticed the large number of properties being developed. I also realized that this could be an intimidating ordeal for someone who had no experience purchasing in another country. Can you trust an unknown foreign developer? How do you find a realtor? How does the process differ from America? It was a niche that needed to be filled, so that’s what we did. We’ll be opening our corporate office in Playa del Carmen with a bilingual staff to serve both Mexican nationals and American clients. I’m working with two Top Dog Properties brokers who have dual citizenship and we’re all property owners and know the neighborhoods intimately. It’s also a way to create additional revenue streams for our brokers. And we’re purchasing another property in Mexico for our clients to have the opportunity to stay at while we’re helping them view and purchase properties. This is all part of our commitment to keeping our service a step above. Next, we’re planning to incorporate a financial arm, which will eliminate the hassle of finding a lender who will work domestically and internationally. This will also create an additional opportunity for our brokers to earn additional revenue through lending.
We touched on your upcoming franchise plans. Can you elaborate on that a bit?
We plan to launch the franchise model in 2022, but we’ll be doing it in a completely different way. One of our primary goals is make owning a franchise a viable, affordable option for the average broker. Most franchise models are geared toward top producers, and this relates to how the industry model is predicated on the company making money, rather than the people who do the work. Most big companies charge a percentage franchise fee and high buy in fee, so the franchisees have to pay a high price to the company for the “privilege” of using their name. We’re changing all that.
Lastly, Greg, in testament of your commitment to your team, you wanted to include them by name in this profile. Who specifically would you like to mention?
From our Denver Metro team: Angie Serna (broker and COO—TD Luxury Properties Mexico), Jesus Gonzales (broker), Debbie Blanc (broker—Blue Shield team), Bobby Blanc (broker—Blue Shield team), and Jessica Villegas-Lopez (broker). From the Mountain Resorts: Greg Peterson (broker/owner/CEO— TD Luxury Properties Mexico), Cynthia Ebert (broker), Sviatlana Masenzhuk (broker), Veronica Pinela (broker/CFO—TD Luxury Properties Mexico), Emanuel “Manny” Pilas (broker), and Jeanelle Chavez (broker). From our support team: Alejandra Billoni (architect/designer/stager), Patti David (new development specialist), Bob Ebert (appraiser/broker), and Precision Transaction Management (transaction coordinators/compliance).
Top Dog Properties