Editor’s Note: The RREIN Broker Spotlight Series offers industry insights from members of RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN), an elite network of leading real estate companies united behind the belief that Information Share Equals Market Share. In this interview, featured in the October 2010 issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine, RE/MAX of Boulder Managing Broker D.B. Wilson, shares his insights on adapting and succeeding in a changing marketplace.
RE/MAX of Boulder
Stephanie Andre: How did you get your start in real estate?
D.B. Wilson: I started working in real estate right after graduating from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1976. My father was in construction, but I liked the idea of working in a different area of real estate. I started selling and was good at it, and in 1981, I started in management. I quickly became a partner, in 1982, at a local real estate company called Benchmark VII.
Shortly thereafter, we saw a significant downturn in the market in Colorado due to the oil shale industry going under. The largest employer in Boulder County filed for bankruptcy. But, we made it through, and then, in 1990, we merged with RE/MAX of Boulder. I’ve been the managing broker ever since.
SA: Today, how would you characterize the firm’s positioning in the marketplace?
DBW: We have been the market leader since 1991. We have been the number one RE/MAX in all of the Mountain states since 1991 (as ranked by RE/MAX Mountain States).
SA: What’s the key factor in maintaining such an impressive position?
DBW: We really believe it comes down to great people. People aspire to be at RE/MAX of Boulder. Both Tom [Kalinski, broker/owner and founder] and I work hard to do everything to foster an environment that lends itself to what sales associates need to do most: list and sell. We have an extremely high level of loyalty from our agents. Our average agent has been with the company for 12 years.
SA: Because there’s such a standard for your agents, how do you handle recruiting?
DBW: Instead of saying we want “experienced agents,” we say we want “experienced producers.” We really put a great deal of importance on attitude and the positive experiences that our REALTORS® might have had in the past with potential new employees. When it comes to recruiting, we rely on our agents to give us referrals on who they did transactions with, the level of professionalism with which the agent handled his/herself, and how knowledgeable he/she was, overall.
SA: What are your consumers most concerned with in today’s market?
DBW: They’re concerned about value. Unfortunately, they all read the national media reports and see what the news outlets are reporting about declining values. However, during everyone else’s run-up in prices, we experienced only 2% to 4% appreciation rates. We just started to recover when the national economic problems hit. So now, for us, it’s an education process…one consumer at a time.
SA: How do you equip your agents to succeed?
DBW: By offering buyers and sellers as much information as possible. We are arming our agents with education and information, but they are also doing a lot of work themselves these days. Our job is to find out what our clients’ real interests and priorities are and then make sure we can fit those needs.
SA: How are you retaining top-producing agents?
DBW: By providing the right environment and exceeding goals. From raising families to travel, we try to support them and show them that they are genuinely cared for. We keep our agents informed and up to speed, which shows them that we are a team.
SA: How has your technology evolved to meet the demands of agents and consumers?
DBW: Being able to use Web and mobile applications in the field is helpful for consumers and for our agents, and they are embracing them. We have moved to paperless transactions as well. We just signed an agreement with DocuSign and the vast majority of our agents are already using it. For documents, we are using SureClose. It makes the entire transaction transparent, available 24/7 and accessible worldwide—literally.
SA: What are your plans for continuing to grow the company?
DBW: Well, again, it’s a matter of being selective. We wouldn’t want a top agent if he or she wasn’t a pleasant person or someone who didn’t want to give great customer service. For us, it’s not about numbers. We are happy with relying on our present agents and would only bring in additional agents if it would truly be worthwhile.
We’re not just looking for experienced, top producers; we might also keep our eye on a young-in-spirit agent who doesn’t have a ton of experience but has infectious enthusiasm.
We take the viewpoint that we’d rather have a more narrow focus and do what we do well than spread ourselves too thin.
For more information, visit www.boulderco.com.