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Bill Flemming
CEO/Designated Managing Broker
HomeSmart Connect
Arlington Heights, Ill.

Region served: Chicago
Years in real estate: 34
Number of offices: 6
Number of agents: 526
Best tip for keeping agents motivated: Keep them connected.
Favorite thing about working in real estate: The people.
One thing people don’t know about you: I enjoy a good rehab project where I can get my hands dirty.

Please describe some of the current trends you’re seeing in your market.
While we’ve seen a drastic change in the market in the last 30 – 45 days (at press time), the biggest one centers around the way in which agents are conducting business. I’m amazed that they’re still out there finding creative ways to keep the process moving, but as I mentioned before, it all goes back to keeping agents engaged. If someone comes up with a new way of doing something, they’re sharing it with the rest of the office, and before you know it, we’re hearing success story after success story. Not only are agents doing listing presentations on Zoom, but they’re also using FaceTime for real-time showings. Virtual open houses are yet another tool our agents are marketing on a weekly basis.

How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
Conducting business throughout the pandemic has been an adjustment, but there have been many positive things that have come out of it. Prior to the pandemic, it was a challenge to connect with each and every one of my agents, as a majority of them work virtually. But with the Zoom meetings and Facebook forums we’re now conducting, I feel more connected than ever, and I plan to continue doing many of these same things once this is all over. Our agents are determined to keep their income up, and I’m happy to say that we’ve had a better year-to-date from January to April 2020 than we did in 2019.

As one of the most successful franchise brokers in the HomeSmart system, what would you say is the key to your success over the years?
There are three things I would point to when it comes to the success I’ve experienced. The first is my reputation for treating people fairly and providing the same level of respect for everyone within the organization. My drive is another thing that has contributed to my success. Having lost everything back in 2010 when the commercial market crashed, I’m not necessarily competitive, but I am driven to succeed. Last but not least, I’m always there to help the next one in line, which is my favorite line from Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind.”

What are you doing to address the needs and concerns of today’s clients?
We’re really just trying to be versatile and respect their wishes while making sure we’re being safe. People still want to buy and sell, but it needs to be done safely. We need to step up and be the leaders and be able to explain how exactly we’re going to do that. Real estate professionals and clients alike seem to be more respectful of one another than they were just a few years ago.

What sets HomeSmart Connect apart from other brokerages?
Our fee structure and technology are perhaps the most obvious things that set us apart. I see brokerages beginning to build out new technology systems and interactive programs, while HomeSmart has had these things in place for years now. In addition to it all being proprietary and integrated with the MLS, one single login grants agents access to a free CRM, virtual tours, YouTube videos, brochures, websites, transaction management, etc. It’s all free, and it makes my business really easy.

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