The real estate agent and interior design pro said he was making the move because of The Agency’s boutique culture. He has closed more than $300 million in sales volume during his career.

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HGTV star Carmine Sabatella has joined The Agency from Compass, The Real Deal first reported.

Sabatella, who is an agent, interior designer and co-host of HGTV’s Inside Out, has a background in interior design and landscape architecture and has been working full-time in the real estate industry for nearly 10 years. During that time, he has closed more than $300 million in sales volume across his market, which encompasses the LA Basin.

In an emailed comment, Sabatella told Inman that he decided to change brokerages because he preferred The Agency’s more intimate feel to Compass’ more expansive presence across California.

Carmine Sabatella | The Agency

“Compass is growing rapidly,” Sabatella said. “I don’t want to be one of a few hundred agents in the Pasadena area, for example. I want to have a platform where I’m maybe one of 100 agents in an office. I love the cachet The Agency carries. It feels more boutique. They are a very successful company, but it feels grassroots.”

For about the last five years, Sabatella was affiliated with Compass. Prior to that, he had stints as an agent at Sotheby’s International Realty and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Sabatella got a swift start to his career, ranking in the top 1 percent of agents in the country during his first year as an agent.

Before Sabatella transitioned into real estate, he had a 20-year career in restaurant management while fostering his love of design on the side with various independent gigs.

Despite Sabatella’s departure from Compass, the brokerage pointed out in a statement emailed to Inman that it has seen some of its highest retention rates in recent quarters. CEO Robert Reffkin also pointed out at the brokerage’s recent RETREAT that many agents had “boomeranged” back to Compass in recent months, after having departed for other brokerages.

“At a time when many agents are leaving the industry, Compass reached its second-highest retention rate since going public in Q3,” a Compass rep told Inman in an email. “A big reason for this success is because the average Compass agent sells nearly two-and-a-half as much as the average agent in the industry, and those agents who do leave Compass, often make their way back.”

Inside Out premiered on HGTV in 2021 and now has aired for two seasons. On the show, Sabatella, who handles a project’s interior design, competes with his co-host Mike Pyle, a landscape designer, for who has the best design for a renovation. Whoever gets the client’s vote for best design receives a larger share of the overall renovation budget, and then it’s off to the races with both of them carrying out their designs for the client to completion.

Next spring, Sabatella will also appear on a reboot of HGTV’s House Hunters, in which he will serve as a consultant on remodeling homes, TRD reported.

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Email Lillian Dickerson

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