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Editor’s Note: In 2020, RISMedia’s commemorating our 40th year, and celebrating our incredible milestone with photos, stories and more, in Real Estate magazine and on We extend our gratitude to our partners for their steadfast support, and to you, our readers, for allowing us to continue delivering on our mission. 

In 1985, RISMedia created the National Relocation & Real Estate Magazine, aimed at connecting and educating industry professionals in the relocation sector. For a bargain $2.25, National Relocation & Real Estate, then a quarterly periodical, gave our readers a referral resource, with covers exploring novel roads, such as “Taking Relocation In-House – Good Idea?” and, later, “Changing Industry Standards: Time for Accountability?”

In 2005, the flagship magazine was officially rebranded as RISMedia’s Real Estate. Today, Real Estate is the brokerage business’ foremost resource, with executive insights, interviews and national reporting, along with monthly must-reads including the cover story, Great Spaces, the National Association of REALTORS® Power Broker Roundtable, and, every year, RISMedia’s Power Broker Report, the industry’s longest-running ranking, and RISMedia’s Real Estate Newsmakers, celebrating the who’s-who making news in real estate.

Here, we turn back the clock to the covers of yesteryear, beginning with the early iterations and through to 2019, with color from John Featherston, our founder, and Maria Patterson, our executive editor.

What Happened With IBM?

  • The Changing Industry: The Players, the Trends and the Future (Spring 1986)
  • AmeriNet: The New Network (1987)
  • What Happened With IBM? (1988)
  • Dallas: Corporate America’s No. 1 Relocation Destination (1989)
  • Tarbell Realtors®: The First Family of Real Estate (1990)
  • The Challenge for Industry Standards: Time for Accountability? (1993)
  • The Top 250 Power Brokers of 1997 (1997)

John Featherston: In the formative years, I saw the value of identifying and connecting real estate professionals, mainly brokerage owners of multi-office firms. At the time, there weren’t many. Then there was the growing desire to connect these firms with third-party sources of new business. In this case, it started with corporate relocation and referrals; however, I believed the value would be much greater connecting local and regional real estate leaders with both third-party sources of new business and other real estate professionals. At first, a directory was the “connector”—then, in 1982-1983, we started with a limited magazine section of our annual directory, which ultimately evolved into our magazine in 1985.

A Brand World

  • She’s the One: Margery Marshall Takes Charge at Prudential Relocation (July 2001)
  • Who Is FNIS? (May 2003)
  • The Self-Made Style: EXIT Realty’s Residual-Based Philosophy Leads to Unprecedented Growth (March 2004)
  • A Brand World: Cendant’s Many Signs of Success (June 2004)
  • Future Focused: Bank of America Sets Its Sights on the Future of Homeownership Services (July 2005)
  • Prudential Real Estate: Maintaining the (Online) Edge (May 2006)
  • Changing the Lending Landscape (July 2007)

Maria Patterson: This group of covers takes me back to my early days with RISMedia! They really reflect the industry’s migration further and further into the digital world in the 2000s…and the growing pains that came with it, from the debate over VOWs to navigating the new online arena in which real estate was now happening. These covers also underscore what RISMedia has always done best: spotlight the industry’s movers and shakers. I also love this selection of covers because they say so much about the evolution of the magazine’s design. In this timeframe, we dropped “National Relocation &…” from the title and began experimenting with some fantastic conceptual artwork to tell more of an editorial story. Seems like just yesterday that we worked with Steve Ozonian on the “Future Focused” piece—still one of my favorite cover looks!


  • Bailout: Will It Help Restore Real Estate Consumer Confidence? (Nov. 2008)
  • Staying Strong: Power Brokers Help Mend the Market (April 2009)
  • Real Estate’s ‘RREIN’ Makers (Dec. 2010)
  • Can Investors Bring Real Estate Back? (Sept. 2011)

MP: Well, this selection of covers speaks volumes. We were plunged into the Great Recession right along with so many of our clients and friends. I remember floating the idea by John of eliminating the print magazine and moving strictly to a digital publication—so many publishers went that route during the recession—but his response was an adamant “no!”…and I was thrilled! We persevered with the print magazine, serving as a stable information source for an industry that was rattled to its core, and delivered many important stories to help real estate professionals understand the changing landscape, and find new strategies to stay afloat. This time frame also spawned RISMedia’s role as a B2C content provider, beginning with our RREIN Network. You can’t tell here, but the RREIN cover was actually a really cool tri-fold that showcased our early RREIN members—many of whom are still our loyal partners today. Clearly, we really showed our design chops with these covers. I love that Beatles White Album look on the “Investors” cover!

Stop Chasing Unicorns

  • A New Generation Rocking Real Estate (Feb. 2012)
  • The Face of Urban Luxury (Nov. 2014)
  • Building a David vs. Goliath Strategy: How Plans to ‘Out Better’ the Giants (Nov. 2015)
  • Realogy Presents ZAP! (March 2016)
  • Stop Chasing Unicorns: How HomeSmart Is Positioning Itself to Be the Ideal Brokerage That’s Real (Oct. 2017)
  • RISMedia’s 2019 Real Estate Newsmakers (Dec. 2018)
  • Dream Big. Stay Humble. Realty ONE Group Creates a Legacy for the Future (June 2019)

MP: Looking at these covers from this past decade really makes me smile, and makes me very proud. I think the diversity and the willingness to push the envelope on design so accurately reflects how this industry emerged from the recession—by being creative, taking risks and thinking way outside the box. Each of these covers comes with a story, too. The Better Homes and Gardens “Rolling Stone” cover won a Hermes Creative Award, and Leighton Dees was such a good sport to do all that jumping! The “Urban Luxury” cover was a shot we took at a Halstead listing in a jaw-dropping Manhattan high-rise apartment where we hosted our CEO Exchange reception. Realogy and HomeSmart were so impressively bold to move forward with the “ZAP” and “Unicorns” covers. Of course, our inaugural Newsmakers cover is something I’ll never forget—talk about a bold and creative undertaking! I can’t wait to see where this industry takes us next, and how it will continue to inspire the evolution of our design and our content.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at