RISMEDIA, March 5, 2010—Despite the changes in the real estate industry and the economic despair that accompanied 2009, Realty Executives International, Inc. has maintained a steadfast approach in its commitment to supporting its “Executives” (real estate agents) in their success.
Contrary to the consumer-focused approach of most real estate companies, Realty Executives’ Owner and Executive Chairman Rich Rector believes that consumers reap the benefits of agents distinguished in their marketplace for productivity, entrepreneurial business approach and expert real estate knowledge.
That is why, early on, Realty Executives drew a distinction between the Executive level of productivity and professionalism versus that of the average licensed agent. “By supporting our Executives’ productivity and success, the consumer then experiences us as the most professional in their marketplace,” says Rector.
Abilities and perseverance were tested during the economic crisis of the past year. Some companies may have put their head in the sand and retreated in the face of such dramatic change. Realty Executives did not.
Rector, along with CEO Glenn Melton, hit the pavement and dedicated a great deal of time in the field to understand the needs of its brokers and agents. The company ramped up its internal communications programs, including social media forums like Facebook, Twitter and Rector’s personal blog (http://richrector.activerain.com/), an aggressive technology initiative has been launched and agent support was adapted to ensure that agents received relevant, efficient and cost-effective training, education and marketing tools. The company also focused on fostering a strong collaborative cultural mindset and cohesion.
Loyal Brand Ambassadors
As a testament to the fact that Realty Executives’ agent commitment is indeed flourishing, 33% percent of brokers and agents have been with the company for more than five years.
Realty Executives Knoxville Broker/Owner Steve Fogarty of Knoxville, Tennessee, has been with Realty Executives for nearly 10 years because he says the company offers his 480 agents the type of continued education that sets them apart as leaders in their market. Fogarty comments that there are many new intricacies in the real estate industry today about which agents must stay informed —from government subsidies to short sale processes.
“The only way our Executives will continue to thrive in their careers is if they adapt with the changing times,” Fogarty says. “Realty Executives makes it their responsibility to ensure they can.”
Realty Executives of St. Louis Broker/Owner Todd Matoushek who has been with the company for seven years, says Realty Executives’ value proposition was its strength during the mortgage meltdown. It helped his company endure the tough market and, through aggressive recruiting efforts, ensured he had a team of focused, productive agents.
“We must invest in our people,” says Melton. “We always strive to be the best at providing authentic content and value for our Executives and brokers.”
From the looks of the company’s franchise growth in 2009, the investment paid off. From January 2009 through January 2010, Realty Executives awarded franchising rights to 52 franchises, welcoming 2,429 agents.
Around the world, new regions have been added to the company’s portfolio, including the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Turkey, Belize and, most recently, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait. In the United States, New Jersey and Grand Rapids, Michigan, are the newest regions, and California and the Southern region (Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia) experienced the most franchise sales.
Affiliated Brokerages Flock to Stability
The region seeing the greatest growth for Realty Executives this past year has also been one of the hardest hit Sunbelt states—California. The company has added 13 new franchises to their roster since June 2009. Realty Executives California credits the state’s rebounding market and the company’s brand reputation, tools and support for its increased franchise growth.
Realty Executives Pacific Gold, in Solana Beach, California, joined the company from a competitor because it was looking for a brand that had all of the tools, systems and support that would allow them to recruit the top-producing agents in their market, according to Broker/Owner Carolyn Cohen.
Echoing Cohen, Broker/Owner Kevin Payne in the Kentucky and Ohio regions left his previous brand to open a franchise with Realty Executives this past November for the same reason: to attract top-producing agents to expand his 18-agent operation.
This past September, Broker/Owners Gary Howard and Rich Lopez of Realty Executives Select, formerly RE/MAX Select, in Cerritos, California, joined Realty Executives for the tools as well as the overall “family feel” of the company that they say steers away from bureaucratic processes. Realty Executives has found that, as a privately owned company with zero outside debt service, it is very attractive to many prospects because of the company’s internally controlled financial soundness and stability.
“We have no underlying motivation to satisfy Wall Street or achieve an Initial Public Stock Offering (IPO),” states Melton. “We don’t make top-down decisions using externally driven, stringent protocols to guide our management. Rather, we avoid bureaucratic structure, which enables us to capture opportunities, solve problems and achieve results that best serve our Executives.”
According to California Regional Developer Mark Vost, the majority of Realty Executives’ broker/owners in the state are experiencing increased sales volume and agent recruitment. Some have even expanded their operations by purchasing new territories, like Broker/Owner John Lewis of Realty Executives Temecula Valley.
“Setting Realty Executives apart from other real estate franchisors is the fact that it offers true protected territories so I can grow without predatory competition from our own network of Realty Executives,” Lewis comments. “This should be a given, yet few other companies I know of offer it.”
Adds Melton: “The most destructive thing other real estate companies have done is to reduce territories so the inherent value of the investment is diminished or eliminated.”
Other real estate franchise companies, he says, may award a territory and then shrink it to grant additional franchises in the same area. As a result, markets become too saturated and franchises subsequently compete against one another for the same agents and customers.
Realty Executives Elite, Ltd. Broker/Owners Costa Poulopolous and Mary Johnson of London, Ontario, Canada, have been with the company since 2008. Formerly with Century 21, one of the driving forces in their decision to join Realty Executives was also the promise of protected territories. That promise held true as they expanded their office from two Executives to over 50 this past year.
Independent Brokerages Align with Real Estate Ally
Today’s new normal in real estate has also brought a resurgence of independent brokerages that find compelling value in affiliating with a strong international brand. Often, unaffiliated brokerages started solo because they valued the ability to call the shots.
“Realty Executives allows us the freedom to run our business as we see fit,” says New Jersey Regional Developer and Realty Executives Exceptional Realtors Broker/Owner Doug Radford. “Therefore, we get both the best of what we have to offer the best of what Realty Executives has provided since 1965.”
Radford, along with his business partner, Kyle Poskitt, converted their 140-agent, seven-office brokerage to a Realty Executives franchise last August. They opened their eighth office in November and have aggressive plans to expand the franchise throughout New Jersey as part of their dual roles as both brokers and regional developers.
“While most real estate companies and franchises were scaling back, reducing services and closing doors, we had tripled the size of our company,” states Poskitt. “We saw the need for systems and tools along with the economies-of-scale and name recognition of an international brand to support our growth. We had talked with other franchisors and Realty Executives is the only one that didn’t try to change us.”
When Realty Executives was founded in 1965 by the late R. Dale Rector, a Realtor, his mission for the company was to support entrepreneurialism for the productive real estate professional. Today, Dale’s son, Rich Rector, continues the tradition of seeing the business through Realtors’ eyes by maintaining his real estate broker’s license. Rector is highly involved in daily operations to ensure Realty Executives upholds the founding value proposition worldwide.
Last September, an unaffiliated brokerage in Grand Rapids, Michigan, now called Realty Executives Platinum Group, decided it, too, needed a larger reach and stronger reputation that an international brand afforded. Realty Executives Platinum Group Founder and President Craig Van Assen says he receives advanced marketing, education and networking platforms, while also sustaining his current operations, infrastructure and core business values.
Jason Van Assen, vice president and designated broker for Realty Executives Platinum Group, adds that this has been a time of change for Realtors, requiring them to shift their real estate knowledge and practice to meet the dynamic needs of today’s buyers and sellers. And Realty Executives provides the training, coaching, research, tools and resources that this continued adaption requires.
International Franchises Instantly Reputable
Beyond its North American focus, Realty Executives is one of the fastest-growing real estate franchises with nearly 700 brokerage offices and 11,000 sales associates in countries around the world. The company offers a global network for its Executives to tap into and leverage. And that collaborative network is one of the major reasons why they have seen a great deal of international expansion this past year.
Since 2009, Realty Executives awarded franchising rights to 10 countries. These are in addition to the company’s existing international portfolio of the United States, Africa, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Honduras, Israel, Mexico, Panama, Poland, Romania, and Spain.
“The fastest way to tap into the U.S. market is to affiliate with a U.S. brand,” says Scott Hurlock, vice president of franchise development for Realty Executives International. Primary, second- or third-home buyers from the United States are looking to Central America, for example, to escape to sunny, tropical regions. For that reason, for years now, developers of vacation properties and condominium homes in other countries market to Americans. According to Hurlock, Realty Executives’ network of 11,000 Executives is the fastest and least expensive way to connect these buyers and sellers.
Hurlock adds, “The common thread amongst Western-friendly countries is the stamp of approval offered by the U.S. brand, which is a compelling reason to affiliate. Strong brand recognition will drive consumers because of familiarity and trust in reputation.”
As Founder R. Dale Rector had intended, Realty Executives continues to have a brand reputation built around the principle of fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in the real estate profession.
“Our business model is compelling and stable through every market cycle and this has positioned us well now and for the future,” states Rich Rector. “As we head into the next decade, we look forward to preserving the strength of our purpose and focus, which is to support and empower real estate professionals in their achievement of success.”
For more information, visit www.realtyexecutives.com.