A year ago, in March 2020, on the heels of an active January/February that set the year up as a strong one for home sales, the reality of COVID-19 hit the U.S. consciousness like a prize fighter’s uppercut. The blow essentially knocked the housing market to the canvas.
At RE/MAX®, where spirits were high after an extremely successful convention in February, that bewildering moment could have triggered a total retreat. And indeed, many competitors began cutting back on staff and services almost immediately, apparently intent on hunkering down and riding out the storm.
RE/MAX leaders went the other direction. They doubled down, actually increasing the level of services provided to the network.
“Our leadership team has experienced market downturns and challenges before, so we knew we wanted to do more for our agents and brokers—not less. From the start, we did all we could to help them stay visible and connected to their communities,” recalls Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. “Our advice was for them to reach out to people with kindness and a helping hand—not a sales pitch. And we ramped up our services to support their efforts.”
Staying Visible and Connected
Additional services rolled out immediately. RE/MAX launched daily live webinars covering technology, video, social media, digital marketing and conducting business virtually. They arranged for free Zoom Pro accounts for RE/MAX brokerages around the world—with affiliates logging over 25 million minutes of video conferencing. They worked with vendors to create discounts and other special programs. They created timely new marketing resources so affiliates could share messages of hope and empathy in their communities. They distilled and distributed vital government assistance materials. They developed new shows for Facebook Live. They popped into hundreds of virtual office meetings to offer insights and assurance. And they worked with brokers and agents to relieve some of the financial pressure caused by the market’s pause.
In other words, they leapt into action and helped RE/MAX affiliates navigate through the early, dark days of the pandemic—with no furloughs or layoffs of the, by-now, all-remote headquarters staff. The result was a cascade of confidence, as brokers were better prepared to support agents, and agents, in turn, were better able to serve their buyers and sellers.
Fortunately, the real estate pause was short-lived. Activity came roaring back in July, and an exceptional second half pushed 2020 to a U.S. total of 5.64 million existing-home sales, a 5.9% increase over 2019 and the highest mark since 2006, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
“RE/MAX agents and brokers didn’t furlough themselves last spring and summer. They stayed in the game and were ready to go when buyers and sellers needed them most,” says RE/MAX Chief Customer Officer Nick Bailey. “We’re a network of professionals who take our roles seriously and never, ever quit. If anything, our affiliates supported each other at every turn; the network really came together when times were tough.”
A Modern Innovator
Now, a year after the initial shock of the pandemic, both the RE/MAX corporate team and the global network of over 135,000 agents are rolling at full speed. RE/MAX is moving forward as an ambitious modern innovator—teaming a start-up mentality with decades of experience and industry-leading success.
“We’re never satisfied with the status quo, and we’re always exploring new and better ways of getting things done,” says Contos, who hosts thought leaders from multiple industries on his Start With a Win podcast, which surpassed the 100-episode milestone late last year. “We focus on helping productive agents save time, close sales and deliver an excellent customer experience. RE/MAX is a business that builds businesses, and it starts with attracting the right people and giving them the best in tools and support.”
To that end, RE/MAX has introduced a number of innovations in technology, artificial intelligence, digital marketing and data science over the past few years. The advancements have come through a combination of acquisitions, expansions, strategic partnerships and in-house development. In fact, the RE/MAX technology team has grown to more than 200 full-time employees.
“Our investments in technology, data and digital marketing enable us to create even more competitive advantages for RE/MAX agents and brokers,” says Chief Operating Officer Serene Smith. “We believe real estate is a relationship business built on human connections, and our technology helps our affiliates establish and strengthen those connections—in faster, easier ways.”
Exclusive to RE/MAX
One of the more recent technology moves was the December 2019 acquisition of First®, a North Carolina firm blazing new trails in AI and machine learning. The First app, now a RE/MAX exclusive for U.S. agents, uses predictive analytics to evaluate an agent’s contacts and identify those most likely to sell in the near future. The app, essentially an intelligent coaching platform, then prescribes a strategic action plan for the agent to reach out, fortify the connection and be top-of-mind before the homeowner even considers a move.
First has been recognized for its industry innovations, and its flagship app has been acclaimed since its launch in 2015. Introduced to the RE/MAX membership at the 2020 R4® convention, First has become a go-to resource for thousands of agents across the country.
“When I started my real estate career, I was one of those people taking spaghetti and throwing it at the wall to see what would stick,” says Brandy Liss of RE/MAX 1st Class in League City, Texas, who credits the First app for multiple sales. “I threw money at every shiny new object that hit the market, and much of it was a waste. But I use First every day. It’s a great resource and tool.”
Culture of Productivity
The point of RE/MAX innovation is helping agents in the world’s most productive real estate network get even better at what they do. And despite all the noise in the industry, nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX, in terms of residential transaction sides. The biggest reason: productive agents.
“RE/MAX is the best brand for agents who want to own a real estate sales business and work with buyers and sellers,” says Matt van Winkle, broker/owner of RE/MAX Integrity and RE/MAX Northwest, a 650-plus agent multi-office operation in the Pacific Northwest. “Other models want agents to act like brokers and spend their time recruiting, but RE/MAX agents are in the business of helping consumers and closing sales.”
And they do it exceptionally well. In the 2020 RISMedia Power Broker Report, which analyzed 2019 sales data from the top 1,000 U.S. brokerages with the highest sales volume, RE/MAX agents averaged 14.8 transaction sides each. That was more than double the figure (6.9) for all non-RE/MAX agents in the study. RE/MAX agents also averaged nearly $4.9 million in sales volume, topping the competitor average of $2.6 million by 84%.
To Bailey, the two-to-one edge in per-agent production speaks volumes about RE/MAX in 2021.
“RE/MAX was built by and for entrepreneurial agents who are passionate about closing sales and growing their business,” Bailey says. “Our model isn’t about downlines, gimmicks or being the absolute cheapest option in town. It’s about providing value, and about bringing agents into an environment where they can be more productive. It’s really as simple as that.
“We’re moving fast and breaking new ground every day. It’s a great time to be with RE/MAX.”
For more information, please visit www.remax.com.