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Name: Bret Snyder

Title: License Partner / Operations / Business Development

Experience: Twenty-four years experience as a real estate salesperson, broker, marketing director, owner, founder, COO and business development.

Location:  Southwest Montana 

Brokerage name: Engel & Völkers Bozeman / Butte / Livingston & Paradise Valley / Big Sky / Ennis


  • Fourth in Southwest Montana relative to dollar per transaction 
  • Fifth in our market relative to market share at 4.75 percent

Team size: Across our five licensed shops in Bozeman, Big Sky, Livingston, Ennis and Butte, we have a total of 39 team members

Transaction sides: 304 (2023) and 307 (2022)

Sales volume: $262,674,548 (2023) and $327,386,208 (2022)

What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?

This is a hard business — not complex in a nuclear physics sense, but rather hard in a tenacity, fortitude, and overcoming failures and down-days sense. If you are fortunate enough to latch on to a successful mentor, keep doing what they coach you to do; they are successful for a reason.

There are very few successful brokers: In our MLS, 79 percent of the business is controlled by the top 25 producers, 25 of over 1000 licensees or 2.5 percent of the licensees. You get there by emulating and actually doing what successful brokers do.

What’s your top tip for freshly licensed brokers?

Since you now own your own business — even though it may reside within a brokerage firm, you are still an independent contractor — do not think that just having the license is going to make you successful. This is a business where you can easily spend a dime for every nine cents you make. 

You will probably recognize yourself as good at some aspects of the business, but probably not all of them. Do what you do best and surround yourself with support for the areas you like less or are not as good at handling: A mentor, a brokerage firm that has support staff, peers who are willing to share their successes and failures, and good at-home support that recognizes you may work when other people do not, to name a few. 

Everyone seems to be able to multiply by 2 percent or 3 percent who enter the business, and if they do not recognize the other aspects of brokering, they will fail soon.

Name 3 people you admire

My mentor, John Veytia: John took my wife, PollyAnna, and me on in 2000 when he did not have to. I have a few funny stories about this, and in the end, he shaped our characteristics in the industry, our potential for success, and taught us how real estate should be worked (in our eyes).  Everyone should have a mentor.

My wife and partner, PollyAnna Snyder: Her ability to know people, know the contract, qualify needs, and subtly help and direct clients is simply amazing. She is so very “gray” and that lends itself to being flexible on behalf of her clients and peers. 

I do not know if there is a more liked and respected broker in our market. She is both a “client’s broker” and a “broker’s broker,” just an amazing trait and skill.

Andrew Ellett: He shows me by example how to be a good servant and has taken a neighboring Engel & Völkers franchise to new heights based on good business practices, caring for his advisers (good servitude), and being open to new ideas and learning. 

He is an excellent husband and father as well, and these are things we promote within our organization; your family are the most important people in your lives.

What makes a good leader?

The ability to be a servant and at the same time set an example which includes strength, tenacity, fortitude and openness to learning.

The ability to admit they are wrong and to move away from a course that is detrimental to the transaction, team, firm or brand.

A dedication to continual learning. The landscape of most business, and definitely the landscape of the real estate industry, is ever-changing. A good leader will keep up with these changes and learn about the “why” of any change and then create scenarios that adapt and adjust.

Like a good hitter or pitcher in baseball, we must adjust to our deficiencies and then practice new applications in order to lead successfully.

What’s one thing you wish every agent knew?

The contract! I coached baseball for more than 30 years and I knew the rule book inside and out. I can tell you, that basic quality won many, many games and days for my teams. 

Nowadays, there are so many brokers and agents who don’t know their contract well and that hurts all of us.  Also, it will help your negotiating stance (and therefore your client) if you know the contract better than the other agent.

Other than this, I would say to know how to hook onto a great mentor somewhere. Search one out as if your life and goals depended on it; they very well may do just that.

Know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Broker Spotlight? Nominations, please, to

Email Christy Murdock

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