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8Transcending Barriers: How Technology is Enabling Global Real Estate – Page 40

September 2013 $6.95

Dave Liniger, Chairman and Co-founder of RE/MAX

: STRONGER THAN EVER RE/MAX Helps Agents Stay Ahead in a Changing Market

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Dave Liniger, Chairman and Co-founder of RE/MAX

66 September 2013 RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE


STRONGER THAN EVER RE/MAX Helps Agents Stay Ahead in a Changing Market by Maria Patterson

R

eal

estate

agents

want

to

align

themselves with an organization that can help them stay ahead in an ever-

evolving market. With 40 years of success and continuous leadership behind it, RE/MAX is a perfect ft for many of them. Leadership. Guts. Passion. Drive. Heart. Agents with these qualities know how to get the job done, especially as the real estate market continues to improve. These agents get results for their clients. They like being in the driver’s seat and in control of their success. And they’re exactly the kind of entrepreneurs Dave Liniger, RE/MAX chairman and co-founder, wants—and has—in his organization. For 40 years, Liniger and his wife, Gail, have built a real estate empire on the simple notion that agents should be in business for themselves but not by themselves. The Linigers’ leadership has inspired legions of real estate professionals to look for opportunities amid the challenges. That’s why RE/MAX, a force of more than 90,000

agents in more than 90 countries, is so well positioned to help professional, productive real estate agents elevate their careers and capitalize on the positive momentum in today’s real estate market. Inspiration to All The RE/MAX story can’t be told without mentioning the leadership of Dave Liniger, one of the most vocal advocates on matters that improve the industry for professionals and consumers. After working as hard as anyone to help agents, brokers and distressed buyers and sellers through the diffcult days of the economic downturn, Liniger entered 2012 on an optimistic high note. He knew the recovery was beginning to gain steam. What he didn’t know was that he’d soon be fghting for his life. In February 2012, a life-threatening staph infection nearly killed him; on Valentine’s Day, he actually fat-lined for a short time. He endured months of hospitalization and multiple surgeries, partially paralyzed for much of the time. Told he might never walk again, the extremely active and tough RE/MAX leader fell into despair. Liniger ultimately leaned on the optimistic, goal-oriented mindset that had guided his own success, and that of RE/MAX. He knew he couldn’t give up, and shouldn’t give up, so he decided he wouldn’t give up.

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From that point on, Liniger focused completely on recovery. He attacked physical therapy with his trademark tenacity. He set benchmarks and goals: If he could walk 10 steps, he could walk 100—and then 1,000. He struggled along the way, but kept moving toward self-suffciency. Finally, with limited mobility despite months of rehabilitation, he returned to work in July 2012. Fast-forward to the RE/MAX R4 Convention in February 2013 and an unforgettable Opening General Session. Liniger, who a year earlier had missed the convention for the frst time ever, appeared on stage and shared his story with a crowd of more than 7,000 RE/MAX Associates from around the world. When he fnished his emotional address, he stood up from his motorized wheelchair and, with only a cane, walked off the stage to a thunderous ovation—an electrifying moment in RE/MAX history. The overwhelming support for the RE/MAX leader at R4 confrmed that his struggle, detailed in his New York Times best-selling book, “My Next Step: An Extraordinary Journey of

Dave Liniger signing a copy of his New York Times best-selling book, “My Next Step: An Extraordinary Journey of Healing and Hope.”

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Healing and Hope,” was well worth the battle. “We all have moments in our lives when we have to choose whether to give up and admit defeat or press on. It could be a medical problem, the loss of a loved one, or a professional situation like the real estate downturn we all went through,” Liniger says. “The thing to always remember is that you can get through it. It’s not easy, but with the right attitude, determination and people around you, you can reach any achievable goal you set for yourself. “During the worst housing market in decades, our agents chose to get training on distressed properties and return to the basics that helped make them successful in the frst place. And they made it through. That’s one of the main things I love about RE/MAX people—they never, ever give up. They always fnd a way.” That top-down resiliency permeates the RE/MAX organization. A can-do confdence has always been a RE/MAX strongpoint, and it shows in the performance of the sales force, which has kept RE/MAX No. 1 in the United States since 1997 and No. 1 in Canada since 1987. The 2013 RISMedia Power Broker Report of the 1,200 largest U.S. brokerages that chose to participate provides a good snapshot of current trends. RE/MAX agents in the report averaged 16.8 transaction sides in 2012, more than double the 8.1 average of all others. No other national franchise topped 11. What’s more, when the 1,200 frms are ranked by transaction sides per agent, 90 of the top 100 are with RE/MAX. 40 Years of Success, Evolution In addition to the return of Dave Liniger, the 2013 R4 gathering also marked the 40th anniversary of RE/MAX. Other networks have come and gone over the past four

decades, but RE/MAX has pushed forward while staying true to its roots. “Our company is built on the strength of individual entrepreneurship and innovation,” he says. “Gail and I realized in the beginning that we would succeed only if our agents succeeded. A lot has changed in 40 years, and we’ve evolved with shifts in the industry, but what hasn’t changed is our core principle: attracting the best agents, and then supporting them, so they can deliver outstanding results to their clients.”

“I really don’t think an agent can thrive without a brand like RE/MAX behind them. We have so much excitement, energy and synergy in this company; I’d never consider leaving.” - Susan Coveny, RE/MAX Prestige, Long Grove, Ill. That principle drew Susan Coveny to RE/MAX more than two decades ago, when she was already a successful agent with more than 15 years of experience. Over the past 23 years, she has earned more than $20 million at RE/MAX Prestige in Long Grove, Ill., qualifying her for the RE/MAX Luminary of Distinction career award. During the downturn, Coveny went from about 24 closings per month to just two or three. But she didn’t give up. “It was my job to keep things going and get us through the hard times so we could be on top of the game when the market came back. And here we


helped RE/MAX lead the industry in professional designations and certifcations for many years, launched a revolutionary eLearning platform called MyRU in 2012. It delivers an interactive, multiplatform learning experience to RE/MAX agents on a 24/7 basis and further solidifes the network’s commitment to education. “The competitive advantages RE/MAX offers simply can’t be matched,” Kelly says. “The best part is that RE/MAX agents use them to build their personal business.”

Margaret Kelly, CEO RE/MAX

are,” says Coveny, who’s now felding more leads and business than ever. “I really don’t think an agent can thrive without a brand like RE/MAX behind them. We have so much excitement, energy and synergy in this company; I’d never consider leaving.” Innovation Leads to More Productivity With home sales and prices on a steady rise, the U.S. housing market has regained its glow, shifting from a buyer’s market to a distinct seller’s market. RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly, who appears regularly on national news programs to discuss housing trends and the market’s positive momentum, says it’s no surprise RE/MAX added agents in 2012 and even more in the frst half of 2013. “The agents who join us want the support, the brand name visibility and the credibility of the RE/MAX brand behind their business,” Kelly says. “Part of the reason RE/MAX appeals to so many entrepreneurs is because we’re always looking for ways—through technology, education, resources, advertising and more—to help them stand out and increase their business.” Innovations are the norm at RE/MAX. In the past 20 months, RE/MAX has rolled out three gamechanging websites: www.theremax-

collection.com, a luxury-home search site; www.global.remax.com, for international property searches using local languages and currencies; and www.remaxcommercial.com, the RE/MAX commercial property search portal. The new sites fortify an already vibrant web presence centered on remax.com, which attracts about 50 million visits each year and was ranked by Hitwise as the industry’s top franchise site in terms of annual traffc in 2012. Since 2006, the site has delivered more than 12 million—and counting—referral-fee-free leads to RE/MAX agents. National advertising is another longtime RE/MAX strength that benefts every agent. As competitors have cut back or eliminated national advertising, RE/MAX keeps investing in it—and the results are telling. In a recent MMR Strategy Group survey that asked U.S. and Canadian homebuyers and sellers to name a real estate brand, RE/MAX was mentioned more than any competitor—and named frst more than any other company. That brand awareness is powerful. When people see a RE/MAX ad, they think of the local RE/MAX agent they know or have heard of. Education provides a different kind of edge. The award-winning RE/MAX University, which has

Forging Their Destinies Many RE/MAX agents embrace the resources and transform them into more business, more profts and, most importantly, more happy clients. Georges Bardagi is a perfect example. Bardagi, a Team Leader with RE/MAX du Cartier in Montreal, Quebec, has been an elite producer for two decades. He started his career at RE/MAX in 1991 and kept fnding new reasons to stay. Over the years, Bardagi has succeeded in great markets and in bad ones. Right now, Montreal is riddled with for-sale-by-owner listings, all organized on a regional website that poses a unique challenge to his business. When Bardagi approaches those sellers, who are often

“RE/MAX has 40 years of support and results behind it, and nothing beats that. I never have to sell the brand; I only have to sell my team’s abilities.” - Georges Bardagi, RE/MAX du Cartier, Montreal, Quebec RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE September 2013 69


“What I love about RE/MAX is that you’re in charge of your own value proposition.” - Ryan O’Neill, RE/MAX Advantage Plus, Lakeville, Minn. frustrated after months of no activity, he’s backed by the brand locals know and trust. “RE/MAX has 40 years of support and results behind it, and nothing beats that,” Bardagi says. “I never have to sell the brand; I only have to sell my team’s abilities.” That’s not a problem for Bardagi, whose team has closed more than $70 million in sales so far this year. “At the end of the day, if you have a great brand but the agents don’t provide great service, business will suffer,” Bardagi says. “RE/MAX agents are the best. People know they can trust us to do a great job.” That’s wisdom Ryan O’Neill can agree with. In 2012, he was the RE/MAX system’s No. 1 Team Leader worldwide for transaction sides. O’Neill, 38, represents the next generation of RE/MAX agents: young, tech-savvy, and as driven and passionate as their predecessors. Like Bardagi, Coveny and thousands of other RE/MAX top producers, O’Neill uses the tools—remax.com, LeadStreet (a management system for free remax.com leads), RE/MAX University, etc.—and forges his own destiny. “What I love about RE/MAX is that you’re in charge of your own value proposition,” says O’Neill, who leads the 50-agent real estate team with RE/MAX Advantage Plus in Lakeville, Minn. “I offer an environment that fosters happiness, rewarding work,

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and the ability to generate new leads and business. The market is always evolving, so we have to work hard to stay ahead of what’s going on.” O’Neill’s market didn’t experience the crash other metro areas did across the U.S., but low inventory and strong buyer demand is creating a different kind of challenge for his team members. Being with RE/MAX reinforces their credibility with consumers and instills confdence in their ability to overcome

any obstacle. It’s really no secret why agents like O’Neill are successful at RE/MAX. They have the drive to go the extra mile, and they’re willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to make their clients happy. At RE/MAX, they’re in control of their results—and that’s just the way they like it. RE For more information, please visit www.remax.com.

RE/MAX Balloon Celebrates 35th Anniversary It’s one of the most recognized corporate symbols on the planet, and understandably so. At seven stories tall, the RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon grabs attention wherever it fies. In October, RE/MAX will mark the 35th anniversary of its iconic balloon. First introduced at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in 1978, the balloon perfectly represented the RE/MAX network’s “Above the Crowd” commitment to quality. Today, the nearly 120 RE/MAX Hot Air Balloons in operation comprise the largest feet in the world.


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