Why I Decided to Leave Compass Real Estate

The Drawbacks of Compass’s Lavish Incentives

Compass Real Estate has long been known for its ability to attract agents from other brokerages with its extravagant incentives. However, as the company struggles to turn a profit and its investor cash dwindles, many brokers have started to rethink their loyalty. They are returning to the firms they previously worked for, with Douglas Elliman witnessing a significant influx of agents, including some of the industry’s top performers.

A Wave of Prodigal Agents

Prominent agents and teams, such as the Assouline Team and Stanton Hoch, have recently made their way back to Douglas Elliman. These are highly successful professionals who have made a name for themselves in the real estate market. Their decision to leave Compass signifies a shift in the industry’s landscape.

The Revolving Door

Michelle Griffith and McKenzie Ryan, both former Corcoran agents who joined Compass, have now moved on to Douglas Elliman. They were enticed by the opportunities and advantages offered by the well-established brokerage. Erin Boisson Aries, who left Christie’s for Compass, has also found a new home at Douglas Elliman. The trend is not limited to New York City—agents from Miami Beach and major Texas brokers have also joined the Douglas Elliman ranks.

Speculations on Compass’s Downsizing

Douglas Elliman agents have noticed the influx of their former Compass colleagues. It is speculated that Compass’s financial struggles have led to cost-cutting measures, such as reduced marketing budgets and support staff, which are crucial for top-performing agents. This has created an opportunity for Douglas Elliman to attract experienced and successful professionals back into their fold.

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Compass’s Counterclaims

Compass, however, denies any significant exodus and argues that they have actually recruited more agents from Douglas Elliman. They assert that only the agents mentioned in this article have left Compass, and that they have added 242 principals and agents from Elliman, accounting for a sales volume of $1.7 billion in 2021 and 2022. It’s important to note that Compass has a much larger agent network and a broader market presence compared to Douglas Elliman.

The Reasons Behind the Departures

There are several reasons why agents are choosing to leave Compass. According to agents who previously worked at the company, Compass stopped covering even minor expenses like DocuSign and Adobe prior to going public. Additionally, the rapid growth of the company has resulted in a stretched support staff, even during more prosperous times. Moreover, recent decisions to discontinue equity and cash incentives for new agents, coupled with anticipated layoffs, have raised concerns among brokers aiming to expand their teams.

The Opposite Trajectory: Douglas Elliman’s Success

In contrast to Compass’s financial struggles, Douglas Elliman went public at the end of last year and achieved a modest profit of $10.2 million in the second quarter of this year. This success has allowed them to offer stock-based compensation to employees and access capital markets for potential acquisitions. With mounting pressure to attract and retain top talent, Douglas Elliman has managed to entice agents with higher commission splits on early deals and increased marketing budgets.

The Benefits of Joining Douglas Elliman

Since joining Douglas Elliman, agents have reported positive experiences. The Assoulines, for example, expressed their excitement about expanding their team and finding exceptional agents to join them. McKenzie Ryan, who made the move in February, has already added several agents to her team and even landed a TV show opportunity. She praises the company’s PR department for constantly promoting listings and generating media coverage. Other agents have also highlighted the robust support staff, effective marketing strategies, and overall positive work environment provided by Douglas Elliman.

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Agents’ Shifting Loyalties

Agents who have chosen to join Douglas Elliman have cited various reasons for their decision. The Assoulines see great opportunities aligning with their team’s strategy. Kristen Jordan simply felt that it was a perfect move for her. Julian Cohen from Caldwell believed it was the right time to explore new horizons. Ultimately, agents often switch brokerages in pursuit of better deals and opportunities, which is precisely what Douglas Elliman is currently offering.


As Compass faces financial challenges and trims its operations, Douglas Elliman has emerged as an attractive alternative for agents seeking stability, support, and favorable incentives. The exodus from Compass to Douglas Elliman is a testament to the changing dynamics within the real estate industry. With its solid financial footing and a focus on agent satisfaction, it’s no wonder that agents are finding a new home at Douglas Elliman.

*This article was written by Garrity Traina, an expert in the real estate industry.