Challenges Aren’t Over, But
There’s Ample Cause to Be
Optimistic Moving Forward
The RE/MAX network completed its 37th year this past weekend and RE/MAX 4000 is entering it’s 25th year. It was a tough year, but in many respects it was one we can and should celebrate. Why? Because so many people within the RE/MAX organization showed their mettle, raised their games and persevered.
From Associates who gained new skills to Broker/Owners who cut costs while increasing value, Affiliates found creative ways to improve. Many are positioned better today than they were a year ago. This is no small achievement, and it provides great reason for optimism looking ahead.
Here are just a few encouraging elements of the past year:
Adaptability. Collectively, our Sales Associates, Broker/Owners and Managers displayed an incredible willingness and ability to adapt to difficult market conditions. The best example is the phenomenal response to the CDPE designation. In less than a year, 10,000 Affiliates spent the money and took the time to educate themselves about Short Sales. Nearly 40% of all RE/MAX 4000 Sales Associates are included in that designation.
Their efforts will pay enormous dividends. With new government guidelines in place, Short Sales will gain momentum this year as a rational response to the massive U.S. foreclosure problem. Our sales force, which accounts for two-thirds of the CDPE total, is already trained and ready to go. We’re far ahead of all competitors on this.
The RE/MAX embrace of CDPE makes a notable statement both inside and outside the real estate industry. It tells everyone about the commitment of our Associates. It reminds potential recruits about our unequaled training system and our ability to deliver the most relevant classes and content quickly. And to consumers, it serves as one more sign that RE/MAX has the most capable agents.
Five years from now, when the market has recovered and we look back at 2009, this could very well represent one of the milestones that kept our network on track.
Brand power. Our dominance in brand marketing has never been clearer. While others cut back or abandoned certain avenues all together, we continued to aggressively promote RE/MAX through a strategic mix of media including TV, radio, print, online, social networking, sponsorships, press exposure and more.
Reducing advertising sharply during a recession is a mistake. We won’t ever give up the competitive advantage of having the No. 1 brand in real estate. All RE/MAX Associates benefit from – and contribute to – the brand’s visibility, familiarity and credibility.
Consumers know what they’ll get with a RE/MAX agent, and our people deliver. It’s a perpetual cycle of establishing and exceeding high expectations.
Our marketing edge is most pronounced on television, which remains far and away the most effective advertising medium. RE/MAX commercials on national TV reach more viewers than all of our competitors’ spots combined.
The Region Owners showed great vision in featuring Margaret Kelly in our national TV ads. The response has been overwhelmingly positive; people are moved by her straightforward message and personal style.
One direct result of advertising is steady traffic at remax.com and a constant stream of Internet leads – with no referral fee paid to RE/MAX International – flowing to Associates. It works; the site drew more than 5 million unique visitors in the fourth quarter alone.
Industry impact. We realized early on that distressed properties, the lower end of the market, first-time buyers and investors would make up a significant part of the business last year. As a result, RE/MAX International senior officers spent a great deal of time talking to housing officials and political leaders about improving the process in those areas.
We supported the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit, as well as its subsequent extension and expansion; both are important steps toward recovery. We agreed with loan modification measures that advanced the concept to some degree. And, perhaps most importantly, we actively pushed for a streamlined Short Sale process, culminating in a personal meeting with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in Washington, D.C., last September. We were glad to see the guidelines released in November, and continue to view Short Sales as a key piece of the recovery puzzle.
New business. We also met with major lenders, the FDIC, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, loss mitigation companies and asset management firms in an effort to get REO listings into the hands of our Broker/Owners and Sales Associates. We’re still making progress in this area, and believe these discussions will lead to a significant amount of business this year and beyond.
Make no mistake: Default-industry professionals are growing increasingly aware of the value offered by RE/MAX Associates. REO business is coming our way, and agents who have training and interest – as indicated on their Web Roster profiles – will ultimately receive it.
International success. Our standing as the most prolific global brand in real estate shouldn’t be lost amid the attention placed on U.S. housing conditions.
For starters, we couldn’t be more proud of the regional leaders, Broker/Owners and Sales Associates in Canada, where RE/MAX has been No. 1 for more than 20 years. This remains one of the greatest success stories in the history of our organization. Despite a slowdown in many parts of Canada last year, our Affiliates increased market share and maintained their position as the top choice for buyers and sellers.
Strong franchise sales in the Czech Republic, Turkey, Israel and Germany helped us have an outstanding year of office growth. Worldwide, we recorded 630 franchise sales during the year, an amazing number under the circumstances.
Our global presence extended into seven more countries, putting us in more than 75 overall. Of special note were rousing regional openings in Brazil and India, two of the most impressive events we’ve ever attended. The quality of the individuals involved, the vision they’ve shown and the rapid growth they’ve already experienced offer tremendous promise for RE/MAX in those nations.
Tenacity. In the U.S., market conditions in 2010 should be a little better than 2009. Unfortunately, high unemployment, deficit spending, tight credit, raging foreclosures, unstable prices and other problems aren’t going away quickly. Until these issues are resolved and consumer confidence returns, housing will be sluggish.
But that shouldn’t stop any of us from seeking and expecting success. After experiencing the past few years, we should know – absolutely know – that we’re up to the challenge.
We just finished the fourth year of a historic U.S. housing downturn that shook economies around the world. You don’t recover from something like that overnight. We think the rebound is starting, but things will still be tough for a while.
At RE/MAX 4000 we are up for the challeges this market offers us, and we are increasingly optimistic the the best years are yet to come. For now, we live and work in the now. What the market is today is what the market is today. We are available to assist our clients and customers with the highest level and prfessional ism. Give us a call at 970-241-4000 or stop by our RE/MAX 4000 Offices at First Street and Patterson Road in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Much of the information supplied was from the co-founder of RE/MAX International, Dave Liniger.