As a lifelong resident of the San Fernando Valley and founder of SRM Real Estate Group, Scott Morris offers more than 30 years of experience in the real estate and mortgage brokerage industry, with transaction volume exceeding $1 billion. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) advocacy and assisting in the efforts to find a cure became one of Scott’s personal missions after his son’s diagnosis. To align this individual passion with his work, Scott was inspired to transform his business model to one that includes social purpose. Scott sits on the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Los Angeles Chapter and is a cycling coach in their Ride-to-Cure program. When he’s not working, Scott enjoys spending time with his wife, Kelly, and children, Ryan and Katie.
How did SRM Real Estate Group evolve into a company with a social purpose?
“It began as part of my commitment to advocate on behalf of the T1D community. As I shared my family’s T1D story, I was surprised to discover how many people were willing to share their own story about the causes and charities they support. In many cases, people I had known for years were sharing their struggles with me for the first time. I became convinced that businesses of all sizes can play a role in addressing social needs, and I was determined to find a way for my company to contribute.”
So what did you do?
“I decided to emphasize purpose over profits. My focus became how to deliver a better and more affordable way to find, buy, finance and sell homes. I moved away from the traditional, one-size-fits-all commission model in favor of flat fee pricing and buyer rebates. Our core strategy shifted to saving our clients tens of thousands of dollars and saving them valuable time, so together we can make a social impact. Our clients can use their savings to fund things that matter to them, including the charity of their choice. Additionally, SRM Real Estate Group makes a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and to whichever charity our client chooses. In those cases where our client does not have a preference, we introduce them to nonprofits doing meaningful work in our community.”
Can you share some of the charities that have benefitted from your model?
“Recent beneficiaries include: weSPARK Cancer Support Center, Journey House, Alzheimer’s Association, Best Friends Animal Society, The Michael J. Fox Foundation and Union Rescue Mission.”
What trends define the real estate industry today?
“The industry is in the midst of a significant shift. New business models fueled by enormous amounts of capital and game-changing technology are challenging the traditional residential real estate brokerage model that has dominated the industry for decades. Ultimately, I believe everyone will win because innovation and dynamic change that benefits the consumer is good for our industry.”
What do you think the real estate industry will look like in the coming years?
“Firms will need to evolve. They must examine the value proposition they offer to ensure it is relevant to today’s more informed and connected consumer. Consumers will drive the change and ultimately determine what the industry looks like because they will choose to do business with the brands that offer the most value at a fair price while delivering a higher quality consumer experience. We may arrive at a sort of hybrid model that will not be one-size-fits-all. Tiered-pricing solutions, flat fees and a suite of value-added services—such as mortgage brokerage and planning services for buyers—will likely become more prevalent.”
What’s on the horizon for SRM Real Estate Group?
“As a team we will continue to emphasize purpose over profits with a focus on creating partnerships that promote social good. My hope is that we will be known as the leading social impact real estate brokerage and mortgage planning firm in the communities we serve.
Our primary success metrics will be how much money we are saving our clients and how much money we are directing to our charitable partners. In this way we will fulfill our firm’s value proposition: When you partner with SRM Real Estate Group, you will save money, save time, and together we can save lives.”