Consumers Show Preference for Independent Real Estate Brands

CHICAGO – (5/31/17) In a recent survey of more than 3,000 U.S. homeowners, consumers indicated a strong preference for working with sales associates affiliated with local independent brands. More than 88% said they preferred working with an agent with a “well-known, local real estate company,” while   12% preferred those affiliated with a national franchise.

This was one of several responses describing how today’s consumers buy and sell real estate as part of a broad-based, wide-ranging U.S. consumer segmentation study conducted on behalf of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) by McKee Wallwork + Co. and Decision Analyst.

This particular finding on the appeal of independent brokerages is supported by another third-party source, the REAL Trends 500 ranking of the top 500 residential real estate firms in the U.S. The data collected from brokerages around the country indicates that LeadingRE produced 25.7% of the total sales units among the top 500 brokerages in the U.S., outselling any single franchise network, and that has been the case for more than 10 consecutive years. LeadingRE members also represented 14 of the top 25 firms in the U.S. in sales volume for 2016.

In terms of total sales for all brokerages in each network, LeadingRE’s residential real estate firms outperformed their nearest network competitor by $62 billion, producing 1.1 million sales units valued at $368 billion in home sales.

“Year after year, the independent firms that comprise our network demonstrate their market leadership locally and collectively as an international community focused on delivering the most exceptional customer experiences,” said LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor. “This is consistent with the growth in popularity of local restaurants, locally-branded divisions of major hotel franchisors, and other locally-sourced retail goods and services that offer the brand differentiation and community roots that appeal to many of today’s consumers as compared to big box brands of the past.”

Figures for the top 500 firms are verified and published by REAL Trends each April. Figures for total sales of all networks are estimated by using average sales units per agent for each network’s firms in the REAL Trends 500, multiplied across each network’s entire agent population. 

With member firms in 65 countries, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® selects only the highest quality, market-leading independent companies for membership and supports them with its robust referral network, award-winning professional development programs, Luxury Portfolio marketing program, and events providing meaningful connections to people and opportunities worldwide.

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Why Global Matters: Looking Beyond Borders Integral to LeadingRE’s Growth

LeadingRE Chief Economist Marci Rossell, EVP of Global Operations Chris Dietz, and President/CEO Pam O’Connor featured on the cover of RISMedia’s Real Estate Magazine, April 2017. The full article appears below, and the digital magazine can be viewed here.


By Maria Patterson

That timeless belief, “all real estate is local,” is so ingrained in the minds of most practitioners that eyes often glaze over when the topic of global real estate is brought up. But Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has been taking an alternative view since the early 2000s, when it actively began expanding to other countries from its strong U.S. base.

“Real estate isn’t local or global,” says LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor. “It is both. Those who ignore the global piece are missing enormous opportunities.”

Recently, LeadingRE brought on its own chief economist to share insights on the global economy and how it impacts real estate. Dr. Marci Rossell, whose background includes stints with the Federal Reserve Bank, Oppenheimer Funds and as chief economist for CNBC, believes that real estate is only beginning to feel the effects of globalization.

“Globalization is still a strong force in real estate, despite the recent rise of economic nationalism worldwide,” says Rossell. “The factors that drive real estate buyers to one area of the world—things like safe political environments, cultural and family ties, the supply of talent—are still in place. And while a stronger dollar makes U.S. real estate more expensive for foreign buyers, these other forces are a powerful counterbalance to that trend. Globalization may be under threat, but it represents an international integration arising from economic, cultural and political factors. It is here to stay.”

The iPhone has had a lot to do with this. Introduced in June 2007—less than 10 years ago—it has unleashed a new era of innovation, made the internet and global communication accessible to the masses, and further eroded cultural differences. The world population as of August 2016 is 7.4 billion people, and the median age is 30.1 years old. This is the iPhone generation, and we can only expect more global integration in the future as a result.

But if you’re sitting in Omaha or Cincinnati or Atlanta, you may still be asking, “What does this have to do with real estate in my market? We don’t have a lot of international buyers.”

In 2015, NAR reported that foreign buyers purchased 214,885 residential properties from April 2015 to March 2016, a 3 percent increase over the prior year. While most of that has been in coastal markets like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and Miami, many Chinese have purchased in college towns across the country based on where their children are studying. In any market, there is likely more international activity than you think. Individuals from other countries often gravitate to the same real estate agents who have worked with their friends and family or financial advisors and have thus established a foundation of trust. You could be missing out on international business in your town or city simply because you are underestimating the potential business and have not focused on it.

Even if you have few foreign buyers in your market, no one can ignore the changing demographics in this country in virtually every state and region, represented by millions of potential real estate buyers who come from different cultures and ethnicities.

Non-Hispanic whites are now 62 percent of the American population; they will be less than 50 percent by about 2055. Today, about 14 percent of all Americans are foreign-born, versus 5 percent in 1965 (though, ironically, that 14 percent is similar to what it was in the early 20th century). These changes in the composition of our country have major implications for real estate as we usher in a new generation of buyers and sellers from different cultures. If we expect to serve the needs of these potential customers who come from other backgrounds, we must learn those values, customs and needs. All of this bodes enormous opportunity for those who embrace the change and recognize the need to recruit agents from different backgrounds, to customize services for these different cultures, to engage with them online and in the community, and to provide services in different languages.

LeadingRE has jumped into globalization in terms of both coverage and culture. Comprised of 550 strong, independent brokerages with 4,000 offices and nearly 130,000 agents, the network is now operating in 63 countries and expects to hit 70 by fall 2017.

Leading that charge is EVP of Global Operations Christoph (Chris) Dietz, based in London and Frankfurt, Germany. Since joining LeadingRE five years ago, Dietz has expanded the network’s country count by more than triple, but even more significantly, he is continually reinforcing a global mindset that goes beyond coverage.

“In Europe—simply because of geography and other factors—we cross borders all the time and have a sense of the different cultures and practices,” Dietz says. “That is not the case in the U.S., so we are always thinking of the little things…having +1 before U.S. phone numbers for international dialing, scheduling multi-audience calls or webinars involving overseas colleagues at times that make sense, reviewing messaging intended for all members so that it isn’t so U.S.-centric.

“But the best way for that kind of thinking to be natural is to experience other cultures,” he continues. “At LeadingRE, we are very focused on connecting our members, not just having dots on the map. That way, we form trusted relationships based on mutual understanding and respect, and we find that at the end of the day, people are people. If we know each other, we are more likely to do business with each other.”

To foster these cross-border relationships, LeadingRE schedules at least two or three non-U.S. events each year in addition to its annual “Conference Week,” held last month in Miami with members from 25 countries in attendance. In 2016, the network’s annual Global Symposium was held in Amsterdam, and a luxury property event for its Luxury Portfolio division took place in Beijing. Regional networking webinars for members in the Caribbean proved so popular that they are being replicated in Europe and other regions this year. In 2017, in addition to its Global Symposium in Vienna at the end of September, a variation of its highly lauded “Asia Immersion” event in Shanghai in 2014 will be repeated in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with pre- and post-event visits to Singapore and Thailand.

“There is an enormous sense of comfort when gifting a client to a LeadingRE/Luxury Portfolio colleague in another part of the world,” says Lulu Egerton, a partner with London-based Strutt and Parker in the UK. “Even if we haven’t met a particular member, we know that these companies have been carefully vetted and share our values.”

For example, when Egerton’s team identified Turkey as a source of investor buyers coming to London, they reached out to LeadingRE/Luxury Portfolio member AYIKCAN Real Estate there, who organized a dinner with high-net worth Turkish business people during a Strutt & Parker visit to Turkey.

“That kind of thing lays the groundwork for relationships that inevitably lead to business transactions,” says Egerton, “and this simply wouldn’t happen without the connections fostered by LeadingRE and Luxury Portfolio.”

As the frequency and participation in LeadingRE’s global events have grown, so have its cross-border referrals. Member-to-member referrals are a core competency of the network dating back to its roots in the old RELO® network. Last year, members generated over 30,000 “client introductions” to one another with a whopping 50 percent conversion rate. Traditionally, most of that has been within the U.S., but cross-border referrals are doubling each year, and conversion is improving thanks to a “Cross-Border Liaison Team” that assists members with communication, customs, and follow-up required by referrals between different countries.

One recent success came with a referral from Smith & Associates Real Estate in Tampa, Fla., to Stone Real Estate in Sydney, Australia. Smith & Associates Vice President of Business Development and Relocation Jane Gowarty made an introduction on behalf of REALTOR® Amanda Heese, whose godmother had a distinctive property in the Blue Mountains of Australia.

With assistance from LeadingRE’s cross-border team, Heese connected with Reece Coleman, CEO of Stone Realty. “Immediately, I felt confident that Reece saw and appreciated the ‘story’ behind the property and would be a natural at marketing and selling it,” Heese says. The connection between the two companies was further solidified when Gowarty and Coleman met at LeadingRE’s Global Symposium in Amsterdam. A few months later, the property was sold just 10 days after being listed, in a market with an average days-on-market of 360—also setting a new residential price record in the area.

“It was an absolute delight marketing this property and getting to know and work with our LeadingRE colleagues,” says Coleman. “While we are literally on opposite sides of the world, we are aligned by a shared focus on delivering an exceptional experience, and this focus on quality is a universal trait of LeadingRE firms.”

Another globalization focus for LeadingRE is on the corporate relocation side. Its sister relocation management company, RELO Direct®, Inc., works with multi-national clients who relocate talent all over the world. As a result, in Shanghai and Munich, RELO Direct works via two firms that are also members of LeadingRE. These two companies operate both destination service companies (DSPs) to assist international expatriates moving from one country to another and real estate brokerages.

“The organization has synergies for us in both areas,” says Dima Lorenz of Ark Properties in Shanghai. “We work closely with RELO Direct to assist employees relocating to China with RELO Direct client companies, but we also work with fellow LeadingRE colleagues to support individual buyers and sellers.”

LeadingRE is expanding its referral business to also encompass commercial referrals, working with its members who operate dedicated commercial divisions as well as selected commercial-only partners in other cities. Given the growth in commercial investment in the U.S. in recent years, that is yet another way in which LeadingRE plans to extend its global reach.

“While the stock market is hot right now, investors are always looking for ways to diversify,” says Rossell. “Not only are financial advisors considering the real estate portfolio of their clients in addition to equities and other investments, but we’ve also seen growth in global real estate mutual funds and global real estate investment trusts (REITs). Additionally, we see consumers in other countries ‘parking’ their money by buying property in the relatively safe economic environment of the U.S. All of this indicates the fascination with and confidence in real estate from an investment, as well as lifestyle, perspective. As we continue to see an accelerated interest in cross-border real estate purchases, the traditional barriers to these transactions—financing, logistics, and more—will be increasingly minimized, so that buying or selling property in another country becomes nearly as routine as it is in the U.S.”

LeadingRE truly lives its mantra: “We’re Local, We’re Global®.” Its locally-branded independent real estate firms have to be market leaders in order to qualify for membership, whether a mega-brokerage like Howard Hanna or Long & Foster or a one-office firm that dominates the market in its small suburb or town. No matter what a firm’s local profile, having meaningful connections to other quality-focused firms worldwide is a real differentiator in this global economy.

This local “private label” character of LeadingRE’s members is serving them well in the age of the internet and today’s consumer interest in community roots and distinctive business personas. It is no accident that the love affair with local brands is driving many business decisions, whether it is the introduction of boutique-brand divisions by major hotel chains or the decision by HomeServices of America to retain the local brands of independent acquisitions like LeadingRE members Kentwood in Denver and Houlihan Lawrence in Westchester County, rather than moving them into its Berkshire Hathaway franchise network.

“We believe there has never been a better time for local brands,” says LeadingRE’s O’Connor. “Ironically, this translates in the global landscape, as well. In effect, we are able to offer the authenticity and connections of strong local brands around the world. When clients understand that they are accessing the same integrity, competence, and client care in another country that they’re used to at home with one of our members, this becomes a huge factor in bridging cultural, political and economic differences.”

So regardless of where you sit in the real estate world, why should you care about global?

  1. National economies are increasingly intertwined, and when business crosses borders, so do people and the homes they buy and sell. As that happens, the barriers to real estate transactions will fall.
  1. The internet and smartphones have introduced new vistas to consumers everywhere, particularly with younger people, so those who have never thought about buying a home in another country are or will.
  1. You already have a host of cultures in your own backyard, and if you wish to have their business, you need to know them.

Having a global mindset does not mean abandoning love or loyalty to country; it simply recognizes the changing world in which we live and the many reasons—business, practical and personal—to respect and embrace the rich opportunities that diversity brings, just as it has in this country throughout our history.

For more information, please visit

Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas

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How May I Serve You?


This article by LeadingRE Business Development Manager Jeff Kennedy was published in RISMedia’s e-News on April 19, 2017.


Recently I tried to use my corporate American Express card while on a business trip to New York City. I tried to pay for a taxi, but it was declined. I ran it through twice to make sure it wasn’t “operator error.” Although I was positive that the card wasn’t frozen for lack of payment, it was a bit embarrassing, and I could feel the judgmental eyes of the cabbie glaring at me. Of course, being pulled over, with traffic backed up and horns blaring, just added to the intensity of the situation. Thankfully I had cash, paid a larger than deserved tip and hastily made my way out of the cab. That isn’t the end of the story.

I quickly called the toll-free number on the back of the card and spoke with a customer service rep. I wish I had his name, but I didn’t expect to need to remember it later. Rather than being greeted with the DMV-style voice/tone that we’ve come to expect when calling customer service, he was inviting and empathetic… it was actually a bit disarming. He said things like “You are a valued customer” and “How may I serve you?” rather than the standard “Thank you for calling. How may I help you?”

The fact that he used the word “serve” struck a chord—not because I feel the need to be served, but because of what the word infers. There is a reason that the employees at Chick-fil-A are trained to say “How may I serve you?” and “My pleasure.” It’s because words matter.

When a customer service rep offers to help someone, he is agreeing that there is a problem (which was likely caused by the company), and he is implying that the client needs his help to resolve said issue. Neither of those responses is positive.

“How may I serve you?” has a completely different feel to it. It may be semantics, but his word choice changed the tone and trajectory of our conversation. It made me feel that he was on my side, that he wanted to make it right, and that we were going to figure this out together. In that moment, I went from frustrated business traveler to a “valued customer” with a friend on the “inside.”

What is your mentality with your real estate clients? Do you see yourself as helping them? Servicing them? Or truly serving them?

The best way to serve your clients in real estate is to keep your focus on what is right for them.

Here are some examples of service versus help:

Service – Understand that you couldn’t be successful without this client.
Help – Have a mindset that the client couldn’t do this without you.

Service – Welcome questions, as that shows engagement.
Help – Have a set idea of how long a conversation should be or how many questions a client should ask.

Service – Think of only what is best for your client. Period. Your client doesn’t care that you are getting a bonus for selling that house. They want a house that is a perfect fit for their needs, not yours. Think of the old police adage “To Protect and Serve.”
Help – Think about the quickest way to get the transaction closed.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) is a service organization first. Our clients are the top independent real estate brokerages in the world. While we offer a referral network, vendor relationships and proprietary platforms, service to our members always comes first, and we are guided by our mantra of Making the Best Brokerages BetterSM.

We vet and hire the right people, but we also invest resources in the ongoing development of our employees. We never lose sight of the fact that serving our members is our reason for existing as company.

The next time you go to meet a client for the first time, try a service mentality, and maybe even go as far as saying the words out loud: “How may I serve you?” You’ll experience positive results and will be glad that you did.


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Global Real Estate Network Selects OutboundEngine as Preferred Marketing Solution

CHICAGO (4/25/17) – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has named OutboundEngine as a preferred provider through its Solutions Group program, which identifies select business resources for its global community of more than 550 real estate firms.

OutboundEngine combines automated marketing technology with professional design and relevant content so that sales associates and brokerages can continuously engage their networks through effective email and social media campaigns. The company also offers a strategy for brokers to stay in front of potential agent recruits to support recruiting efforts. Their customizable online chat service, ReadyChat, compliments their comprehensive suite of products.

“The challenge of staying in touch with past clients and being top-of-mind with prospective clients is a common concern in the industry,” Robin LaSure, LeadingRE vice president of corporate marketing said. “OutboundEngine helps solve this problem with an easy-to-use program that offers targeted home-related content based on the consumer’s interests, while reinforcing company and agent branding.”

OutboundEngine, which also has an established presence in other industries like insurance, mortgage and financial services, looks to strengthen its connections in the real estate industry through the relationship with LeadingRE.

“We know that LeadingRE’s brokerages are some of the most successful in the business, with outstanding sales associates who work with exceptional properties in markets across the world. At OutboundEngine, our goal is to help these associates save time and sell more homes with our strategic automated marketing platform. We’re excited to help some of the world’s best real estate professionals become even stronger,” said Branndon Stewart, OutboundEngine founder & CEO.

To learn more about OutboundEngine, visit To learn more about Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, visit


About Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® ( is a selective global community of the highest quality independent real estate companies, with over 550 companies and 130,000 sales associates spanning six continents. Network members generate over 1.2 million transactions annually. LeadingRE exists to make its members better by connecting them to opportunities and people around the globe, supporting them with an international referral network, professional development programs, unique events and connections to people and opportunities worldwide.


About OutboundEngine

OutboundEngine is an Austin, TX-based marketing technology company that helps real estate agents and brokers grow their business by making online marketing simple. The company’s SaaS platform automates email marketing, social media posting, online review collection and more for over 10,000 customers. Founded in 2012, OutboundEngine is ranked No. 95 on the Inc. 5000 and has been consistently named a top workplace in Austin. Through its acquisition of ReadyChat in 2015, OutboundEngine also offers a customizable, done-for-you chat service with a proven ability to increase highly qualified leads. For more information, please visit


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Mortgage Applications And Housing Starts Are Up Big-Time

LeadingRE Chief Economist Dr. Marci Rossell is quoted in this article by , published April 20, 2017 on TheStreet.

Then there’s the all-important mortgage application benchmark, a key and real-time indicator of the U.S. real estate market’s health. In March, the figure was fit as a fiddle, as new home purchase applications rose by 6.7% on a year-to-year basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Application Survey data for March 2017.

The MBA data states that mortgage applications for new home purchases not only rose 6.7% compared to March 2016, “compared to February 2017, applications increased by 23% relative to the previous month.”

That growth represents a five-year high.

“Mortgage applications for new homes accelerated in March, with the Builder Application Survey Index reaching its highest point since the series began in August 2012,” states Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics.

Creativity by industry companies is a big reason for the rise in. seasonal mortgage apps, Fisher notes.

“The pick up from a fairly modest February showing suggests that developers are finding ways to bring new product on line to help supplement otherwise low inventories of existing homes for sale in the U.S.,” Fisher says. “About two-thirds of applications for new homes in our survey have loan sizes between $200,000 and $400,000,” she adds.

The MBA also reports that new single-family home sales “were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 670,000 units in March 2017.” That’s up 14.3% from February, where the sales number stood at 586,000 units.

Larger economic trends are also in play, and the burgeoning U.S. employment sector is first up at bat.

“When you look at the economic factors that people consider when they are buying or selling a house today, one of the most important is the jobs market,” states Dr. Marci Rossell, chief economist for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. “When we look at the unemployment rate in the U.S., which peaked at 10% during the throes of the recession of 2009 to 2010, that unemployment rate has come down to less than 5%. What that means is that people have jobs, people have opportunities and they are willing to take them.”

“That leads to a much more thriving real estate market than when the jobs market wasn’t as healthy,” she adds.

Other financial experts point to rising consumer sentiment, after years of relative apathy from Americans, as a key factor in real estate sales going forward.

“America’s resilient middle-class is back, landing jobs and chasing the dream of homeownership,” states Ray Duran, regional sales manager of Quontic Bank in Miami, a Member FDIC bank

Duran says that middle-class Americans were “beat up” by the 2008 to 2009 financial crisis and the effects of globalization, which left them without work and swamped with unforgiving credit card bills. “But today, more and more middle-class Americans are finding work–actually full-time, white collar jobs–and are fixing their credit scores that got screwed up during the recession,” he explains.

Now, middle-class Americans who “got hosed” by the Great Recession and globalization are bouncing back, finding jobs and fixing their credit, Duran states. “Middle-class Americans that bought homes they couldn’t afford leading up the crash were ultimately foreclosed on and forced to rent,” Duran says. “For years, the rental market was red-hot. But now that the middle-class has found work and fixed their credit, all of those people who were renting are now buying.”

The end result? The resilient middle-class is driving the housing market, Duran says.

“The economy is turning up,” Duran says. “The housing market is coming back. I think we’re going to be busy from now through July. It’s going to be a strong spring selling season and strong summer overall for real estate and housing in general.”


Read the article on TheStreet.

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Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Names New Advisory Council Officers, Members

Pam Metzger

Pam Metzger, WK Real Estate


CHICAGO, IL – (03/14/17) – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has announced new officers and members for its Advisory Council, a leadership group comprised of business development and relocation professionals who provide guidance on key initiatives for the global real estate community comprised of 550 market-leading firms spanning six continents.

Pam Metzger, director of relocation and corporate services for WK Real Estate in Boulder, Colo., has been named chairperson and will serve a one-year term. Allison Rybarczyk, relocation director, associate broker for Arizona Best Real Estate in Scottsdale, Ariz., has been elected vice chairperson and will assume the position of chairperson next year.

Newly-elected Advisory Council members include Kimberly Barkoff, Halstead Real Estate, N.Y.; Andrea Bowles, Blanchard & Calhoun Real Estate, Augusta, Ga.; Jo Lay, Baird & Warner, Chicago, Ill.; and Catharine Pappas, Dickens Mitchener, Charlotte, N.C.

These professionals join current Advisory Council members, Kirsten Abney, Heritage Texas Properties, Houston, TX; Ryan Carrell, Carpenter Realtors, Indianapolis, Ind.; Rachael Joyner, Joyner Fine Properties, Richmond, Va.; Diana McGrogan, Intero Real Estate Services, Cupertino, Calif.; Frank Morrice Arias, Siuma Realty, Panama; Kim Mullins, HUFF Realty, Cincinnati, Ohio; and Dawn Stevens, Jack Conway & Co., Norwell, MA.

Concluding their service on the council are Jane Gowarty, Smith & Associates Real Estate, Tampa, Fla.; Liz Nunan, Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate, Rye Brook, N.Y.; and Denise Talboy, The Keyes Company, Miami, Fla.

The Advisory Council works closely with the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® management team on strategic network initiatives. Council members also mentor other affiliates and serve as ambassadors for the organization’s extensive programs. Members are elected by fellow council members to serve a three-year term and are chosen based on the merits of their professional experience and reputation and their willingness to share their expertise for the benefit of the network.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have such talented, experienced council members providing guidance on vital programs that impact our members around the world, particularly those that relate to business development, lead generation and relocation,” said LeadingRE Director of Member Services Brent Williams who serves as the staff liaison to the group.

LeadingRE connects its members to opportunities and people around the globe, supporting them with an international referral network, professional development programs, unique events and connections to people and opportunities worldwide. For more information, visit


About Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World ( is a selective global community of the highest quality independent real estate companies, with over 550 companies and 130,000 sales associates spanning six continents. Network members generate over 1.2 million transactions annually. LeadingRE exists to make its members better by connecting them to opportunities and people around the globe, supporting them with an international referral network, professional development programs, unique events and connections to people and opportunities worldwide.

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Shorewest’s Horning Named Chairman of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World Board

Joe Horning

Joe Horning, Shorewest Realtors


CHICAGO, IL – (03/13/17) – Joe Horning, president of Shorewest Realtors, has been elected to a two-year term as chairman of the board of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a selective global community of over 550 independent real estate firms. Mr. Horning is a third-generation leader of the Shorewest Family of Companies, which includes Wisconsin’s largest real estate company, Shorewest Realtors.

He succeeded his father as president of the company in 2002. After graduating from Marquette University with a degree in Business Administration, he joined Shorewest on a full-time basis and later pioneered the company’s IT division. Under the leadership of Joe Horning and his brother John, who serves as executive vice president, the company has grown to 1000 sales professionals, 300 staff members and 23 locations throughout Wisconsin.

An articulate industry spokesperson and innovator on critical online issues, Mr. Horning is LeadingRE’s youngest chairman to date. He also serves on the boards for Upstream, the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors, Wisconsin Homeowners Alliance and the Wisconsin Real Estate Exchange, as well as participating in the NAR MLS Consolidation Resources Work Group. He has also chaired the MLS Policy Forum for the National Association of Realtors and The Realty Alliance.

“It’s an incredible honor to serve as chairman of the LeadingRE board, working alongside some of the best brokers in the business on behalf of all of our member companies worldwide,” Horning said. “I look forward to building on the exceptional offerings we have to support our members in all areas of their operations.”

LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor comments, “We are so fortunate to have Joe move into the role of chairman. His passion for the industry, his focus on innovation and his deliberate approach to business will be incredibly valuable to us as we continue to expand the ways in which we support our members’ success.”

Other LeadingRE board officers include Immediate Past Chairman Pat Riley Allen Tate Company, Charlotte, N.C.; Vice Chairman Diane M. Ramirez, Halstead Real Estate, New York, N.Y.; Secretary Howard W. (Hoby) Hanna IV, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Cleveland, Ohio; and Treasurer Rob Sibcy, Sibcy Cline, Realtors, Cincinnati, Ohio. Also serving on the distinguished board are Carol Bulman, Jack Conway & Company, Norwell, Mass.; Harold Crye, Crye-Leike Inc-Nashville, Memphis, Tenn.; Jeffrey Detwiler, Long & Foster Companies, Chantilly, Va.; Mike Pappas, The Keyes Company, Miami, Fla.; Ron Peltier, HomeServices of America, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.; Patrick M. Shea, Lyon Real Estate, Sacramento, Calif.; Ron Stader, CIR REALTY, Calgary, Alb. Canada; and William Watson, Jr., Watson Realty Corporation, Jacksonville, Fla.

For more information on Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, visit


About Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® ( is a selective global community of the highest quality independent real estate companies, with over 550 companies and 130,000 sales associates spanning six continents. Network members generate over 1.2 million transactions annually. LeadingRE exists to make its members better by connecting them to opportunities and people around the globe, supporting them with an international referral network, professional development programs, unique events and connections to people and opportunities worldwide.

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Global Real Estate Event Draws 2,000 Attendees, Recognizes Industry Leaders

CHICAGO – (March 9, 2017) – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® hosted its annual Conference Week February 27-March 5 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The event attracted 2,000 real estate professionals from 25 countries, with distinct conferences held for brokers, senior managers and relocation professionals; sales associates; luxury specialists; sales managers; and marketing and technology professionals. The events were open to members and guests of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a selective global real estate community spanning six continents.

Sessions focused on a wide range of topics impacting the real estate market, including the global economy, changing consumer demographics, evolving technologies and marketing strategies, and home and lifestyle trends.

Keynote speakers included John Foley, former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels; Josh Linkner, New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and national columnist; Brett Culp, acclaimed filmmaker; Brad Meltzer, New York Times bestselling author; NBA superstar Shane Battier; Mel Robbins, one of CNN’s most popular on-air commentators and opinion writers; and LeadingRE Chief Economist Marci Rossell, Ph.D. Also featured were an accomplished group of industry thought leaders, strategists, innovators and practitioners.

“As we continue to expand our network around the world, there is incredible value in coming together as a community, as we explore global real estate trends and learn alongside the remarkable professionals who comprise our network,” said LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor. “Celebrating our members’ achievements is equally important, and we are honored to recognize so many outstanding firms and individuals for their exemplary performance.”

Throughout the week, entertainment and networking events were held, giving participants the opportunity to connect with fellow members from around the world. A highlight was the Awards Gala, where top members were recognized. Watson Realty Corp. (Jacksonville, FL) was presented with the Diamond Award for the fifth time in the award’s 15-year history. As LeadingRE’s highest honor, the Diamond Award acknowledges outstanding performance and engagement in all of LeadingRE’s business programs.

Howard W. “Hoddy” Hanna, III (Howard Hanna Company, Pittsburgh, PA) was presented with the prestigious Leadership Award, which celebrates a member broker whose leadership skills and achievements have drawn the attention and admiration of others.

Howard Hanna Company also received the Customer Experience of the Year Award, and The Keyes Company (Miami, FL) earned the Referral of the Year Award.

Among the top marketing awards were the Best Overall Website, presented to @properties (Chicago, IL), and the Most Innovative Brokerage Award, recognizing Halstead Property, LLC (New York, NY) and Seven Gables Real Estate (Tustin, CA). Most Innovative Office Design was awarded to Kentwood Real Estate (Greenwood Village, CO) and Realty Concepts, Ltd. (Fresno, CA).

The Crown of Excellence referral awards were given in seven company size categories to Allen Tate Company (Charlotte, NC); Lyon Real Estate (Sacramento, CA); Beverly-Hanks & Associates (Asheville, NC); Cottingham Chalk Hayes, Realtors (Charlotte, NC); WK Real Estate (Boulder, CO); Marx-Bensdorf Realtors (Memphis, TN); and Tina Bilazarian, Inc., REALTORS® (Shrewsbury, MA).

The Million Dollar Award for Highest Valued Outgoing Closings went to Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. (Chantilly, VA). The Global Alliance Award for Most Outgoing International Referral Closings was presented to CIR REALTY (Calgary, Canada).

Earning honors for having the Top 5 Most Outgoing Closings, in order of volume, were: WEICHERT, REALTORS® (Morris Plains, NJ), Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., (Chantilly, VA); Howard Hanna Company (Pittsburgh, PA); Allen Tate Company (Charlotte, NC); and Intero Real Estate Services, Inc. (Cupertino, CA).

The Pinnacle Award recognizing the most outgoing revenue-generating referrals was presented to: Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. (Chantilly, VA); Lyon Real Estate (Sacramento, CA); Kentwood Real Estate (Greenwood Village, CO); John Daugherty Realtors (Houston, TX); WK Real Estate (Boulder, CO); Premier Estate Properties, Inc. (Boca Raton, FL); and CamTaylor Realtors (Columbus, OH).

Earning recognition with the Fast Tracker Award were PorchLight Real Estate Group (Denver, CO) and Stone Real Estate (Sydney, Australia), given to select companies that generated significant outgoing referral performance in their first full calendar year as an affiliate of the network.

Additional awards recognized expertise in the luxury market. Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate (Rye Brook, NY) won the Top Luxury Portfolio Brokerage Award, while LX Costa Rica (San Jose, Costa Rica) earned the Top Global Luxury Portfolio Brokerage Award. Earning the Luxury Portfolio Best Newcomer Award was Kentwood Real Estate (Greenwood Village, CO), and Unique Estates Ltd. (Sofia, Bulgaria) was awarded the Luxury Portfolio Spirit Award.

For more information on LeadingRE, visit



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LeadingRE Estate Companies of the World Names Spacio Preferred Business Solution

CHICAGO – (2/23/17) – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has selected Spacio as a preferred provider through its Solutions Group program, a collection of select business tools offered to its global real estate community of more than 550 real estate firms.

Spacio is an intelligent visitor registration solution that helps agents maximize open house lead generation opportunities by automating lead capture and follow-up. Spacio is the first company to apply data analytics to open houses, giving brokerages real-time visibility over company-wide open house activities, agent and office productivity, and foot traffic to makes more effective sales, marketing, and training decisions.

“Spacio’s strategic approach to helping sales associates capture meaningful data from open houses with a modern, easy-to-use interface creates a very compelling tool for our members,” comments Robin LaSure, vice president of corporate marketing for LeadingRE. “The fact that it also reinforces the brokerage’s brand while providing valuable analytics for managers makes it especially powerful.”

Spacio Co-founder and CEO Melissa Kwan notes that the relationship with LeadingRE presents an opportunity to work with highly progressive firms. “LeadingRE represents some of the best, most forward thinking brokerages in the world; we have great respect for their dedication to continuously bring best-of-class solutions and best practices to their network. We are proud to be part of LeadingRE’s Solutions Group, and look forward to elevating the open house experience for all their members.”

To learn more about Spacio, visit


About Spacio
Spacio is an intelligent visitor registration solution that helps agents maximize open house lead generation opportunities by automating lead capture and follow-up. Spacio is headquartered in Vancouver, BC, with an office in New York. For more information, please visit:

About Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® ( is a selective global community of the highest quality independent real estate companies, with over 550 companies and 128,000 sales associates in over 60 countries. The network generates 1.2 million transactions annually. LeadingRE exists to make its members better by connecting them to opportunities and people around the globe, supporting them with an international referral network, professional development programs, unique events and connections to people and opportunities worldwide.

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LeadingRE Rises to 3rd in Training Magazine’s Elite Top 125 Ranking

LeadingRE Institute Top 125 Winner

CHICAGO – (February 6, 2017) – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) was ranked third on Training Magazine’s prestigious “Top 125,” which recognizes companies with the most successful learning and development programs in the world, rising rapidly from its ninth place ranking in 2016 and 64th in 2015.

The award was presented in recognition of LeadingRE’s comprehensive development programs, which include the Institute 24/7 online learning platform for real estate sales associates, managers and staff; specialized programs like the MAESTRO Leadership Certification; and numerous custom-audience conferences and events held in the U.S. and around the world.

Other companies ranking in the Top 125 include Best Buy, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Western Union Company, Paychex, Edward Jones, Mastercard, CarMax, Mohawk Industries and Shaw Industries, Inc. LeadingRE was one of only two residential brokerage companies recognized.

“As an organization, the value we place on learning cannot be overstated, so achieving this ranking in just a few years of participating is incredibly gratifying,” said LeadingRE President and CEO Pam O’Connor. “Each year we develop new programs that raise the standard of excellence for our 550+ brokerage firms and their 128,000 sales associates, as well as our own corporate team in Chicago, London, Singapore and field offices around the world.”

LeadingRE’s learning programs are led by Vice President of Talent Development Barbara Wichman and Executive Director of Institute Content Cecelia Chott, as well as Chief Learning Officer Mike Staver.

Now in its 17th year, the Training Top 125 is the only report that ranks companies unsurpassed in harnessing human capital. The Top 125 ranking is determined by assessing a range of qualitative and quantitative factors, including financial investment in learning and development, the scope of development programs, and how closely such development efforts are linked to business goals and objectives.

LeadingRE will host its premier professional development event, Conference Week, February 27 – March 5 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, which is expected to draw 2,500 industry professionals.

To learn more about Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, visit To learn more about the Top 125, visit

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