Paul Wells first entered the real estate industry back in 1986, and during the following three decades of serving as an agent and broker/owner of RE/MAX of Barrington, he has seen the ups and downs of the industry. As we continue through 2016, however, he sees plenty of good times ahead.
“I think it’s important that agents today realize that these are extraordinary times, and they won’t continue forever,” says Wells. “The next four to five years should be outstanding for both buyers and sellers. Interest rates remain low and activity is strong. In the Chicagoland area, we’re seeing progressive movement both in units sold and sales price. The number of sales in the MLS is up over 8 percent from 2014. The median sales price is also up by almost 4 percent from last year. Those are levels that build a strong foundation for sustainable growth.”
Wells admits that things are changing in the industry and, therefore, the firm is doing a bit of restructuring and looking at things a little differently.
“The mindset of agents has changed lately and business has to change with it,” explains Wells. “An innovation that people have been avoiding—me included—is the concept of teams. Many brokers have been running away from teams, but we are now running toward them.”
RE/MAX of Barrington is working on ways to help its teams become stronger. “I am in discussions with staff to best figure out how we can do more for agents so that it allows them to focus on listing and selling,” Wells says. “We want to take things off their plate, whether that’s maintaining their database or updating their social media.”
Agents are also encouraged to attend events every month, many of which are sponsored by the company. Wells is committed to providing the best training available in the industry. The local MLS, MRED, also provides strong tools and additional training to help agents run their businesses.
Another way the firm assists its agents is through a partnership with Apple in which Apple representatives come in regularly to train agents on the latest products and software updates so that they can better serve their clients.
When it comes to technology, Wells is a big believer in pushing the envelope and testing out new things that could help the business get ahead.
“I don’t learn from what I do right, I learn from what I do wrong. There are times I jump on technology way before anyone else,” he says. “I might only hit a home run once out of every four or five times, but that puts us way ahead of the competition.”
According to Wells, the standards of the firm are set high, operating with a philosophy that “if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
“Growth is not just from a financial standpoint or a statistical standpoint, but also from a learning standpoint,” he says. “My job as a broker/owner has changed tremendously over the last couple of years. It used to be just being a manager. It morphed into being a coach as well. Now, I need to be an active part of individual agents’ growth, as well as assist the teams inside my office. It’s an incredible responsibility, and I love it.”
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