Conventional wisdom says to compete in real estate, you have to stand apart. Real Living Real Estate says it has built a growing business by working with local real estate experts who want to stand apart through a distinct local identity, but also stand together with like-minded innovators across the country to gain the tools, programs and technology that only a national brand can deliver.
Real Living Real Estate was founded in 2002. It is owned by HSF Affiliates LLC, which operates multiple brands across the U.S., and is majority owned by HomeServices of America, Inc.TM, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.
Real Living leaders are proud to be part of a large, well-known organization and emphasize their focus on leveraging their resources to encourage local success. Even as the brand is poised for future growth, it remains steadfast to its vision, which, according to Real Living President Bob McAdams, is “to be the consistent real estate leader in delivering exceptional customer satisfaction, one person, one family, one home at a time.”
Says Gino Blefari, CEO of HSF Affiliates: “Our focus as a multi-brand franchisor is to grow our networks, and we will certainly grow Real Living Real Estate,” he explains. “The brand is flexible, scalable and can flourish anywhere in the U.S.”
A Nationwide Network of Local Real Estate Experts
Growing Real Living’s national presence is fairly clear-cut—target companies that are looking to drive their business forward, while looking to Real Living for the business solutions that will help propel them to success.
According to McAdams, it boils down to living up to Real Living’s promise to provide “The Power of Us. The Freedom to Be You.”, an approach to business in which the company works to deliver the resources that only a national brand can offer, while encouraging the members of its network to be creative in building a local brand identity that is true to themselves and their communities.
“The people in our network are entrepreneurs looking for business solutions, tools and systems,” says Allan Anderson, vice president of Consulting Services, “and that’s where we focus.” In addition to an entrepreneurial outlook, affiliates “are focused on recruiting, driving increased productivity and improving operational efficiencies. They do so by engaging deeply with the brand’s values and offerings.” Most importantly, says Anderson, “they are passionate about the business they are in, the culture that they promote and the service they are providing to their local communities.”
“Giving our network the ability to laser in on exactly what they need from Real Living to accomplish their goals, with the freedom to use any and everything we provide to their advantage, is a key piece of the puzzle,” says Tom Panattoni, vice president of Franchise Sales. Real Living works to ensure that its systems and programs—whether brand marketing materials, recruiting materials or business technology—can be tailored as much as possible to fit the needs of the individual brokers, as well as each agent.
Another key differentiator that sets Real Living apart from other national real estate franchise companies? Its decision to not pursue national consumer advertising campaigns, further solidifying the value they place on encouraging brokers to determine what’s best for them on a hyperlocal level. “Every market, and every place for that matter, is different,” says Matt Kaufman, director of Marketing and Technology, “so it’s important that we give our brokers the opportunity to spend their marketing dollars the way they see fit in order to gain the most leverage in their respective market.”
Consistent Communication, Honest Dialogue
When talking with Real Living brokers, one quickly learns that communication among and across the network is a key aspect of Real Living. While a great deal of informal communication flows freely, the Real Living Broker Advisory Council ensures regular, consistent and organized thought leadership on behalf of the network.
Made up of 10 broker/owners from across the country, the Broker Advisory Council meets monthly to discuss industry and network conditions, share ideas or concerns and review subcommittee initiatives. Subcommittees focused on Technology, Brand Advocacy, Customer Satisfaction and Market Advantage—the brand’s Internet and outbound marketing platform—also meet monthly. According to both Real Living staff and brokers, the meetings are an opportunity for spirited and honest conversation about the things that matter most to the network.
The Advisory Council brokers, whose memberships rotate on an annual basis, bring perspectives from different parts of the country and from different sized operations. What they share in common is their passion for the industry and Real Living, and the effort they put into their roles as council and subcommittee members to consult, review and advise one another and Real Living staff on important initiatives.
“I don’t believe in the boardroom approach where all decisions are made behind closed doors,” says McAdams. “The Real Living Broker Advisory Council is very important as it gives us the opportunity to work directly with the network and make sure the path we’re taking is the right one.”
The Voice of the Network
Real Living broker Cindy Fox, the current chair of the Broker Advisory Council, agrees that the group plays an important role in speaking for the network and appreciates that Real Living leadership listens.
Fox, broker/owner of Real Living Now Real Estate in St. Charles, Mo., notes that Real Living sets itself apart through the accessibility of its corporate leadership. “While the Real Living brand is smaller in comparison to other national franchise brands, it’s much more intimate,” says Fox. “Not only can we always reach members of the leadership team, they’re more willing to listen to our ideas and make changes based on our suggestions.”
In fact, it’s Real Living’s commitment to listening to and working with its brokers, and building the solutions they want and need, that helped the chair members of the Broker Advisory Council decide to affiliate with the brand.
For Tom Stravecky, a tech-savvy broker at Real Living Infinity International in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.—chair of the Technology subcommittee—joining Real Living was an easy decision. “They are the most progressive, tech-savvy and cutting-edge brand when it comes to marketing and technology,” says Stravecky, whose firm has a current customer satisfaction rating of 97 percent. “Any brokerage is going to offer the technology and the tools, but Real Living goes above and beyond to make sure brokers and agents understand how to use these things and leverage them to their advantage.”
Offering a fresh, young and high-tech approach to real estate, Real Living has provided John Martinelli, a broker with Real Living 1st Choice Realty in Coral Springs, Fla., and chair of the Customer Satisfaction subcommittee, with a clean, fresh approach to doing business today. “Real Living agents are focused on providing the traditional level of excellent service to both buyers and sellers, but we approach our advertising and marketing in non-traditional ways,” says Martinelli, whose firm’s current customer satisfaction rating is 98.6 percent.