LeadingRE Appoints New Vice President of Performance Excellence


CHICAGO (October 20, 2017) – Chicago-based Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) has expanded its leadership team with the addition of Dan Nelson in the role of vice president of Performance Excellence. In this role, Mr. Nelson will oversee all online and offline learning and development initiatives for LeadingRE members and staff, with a focus on performance and results.

Bringing more than a decade of experience delivering online and offline learning initiatives in a cross section of industries, Nelson specializes in presenting complex concepts in relevant terms that align with specific objectives, in a variety of formats suitable for adult learners. Most recently as director, product management for the largest textbook and learning company in the U.S., he drove the online product roadmap for learning technology. Additional experience in the real estate space includes serving as product director for a company specializing in restoring turn of the century homes.

Among his core responsibilities will be managing Institute, LeadingRE’s award-winning online learning platform for members. Nelson will oversee instructional design, content development, financial management and technology for the program, which currently has a library of over 350 proprietary courses and recently marked its one millionth course enrollment.

Nelson will also participate in managing content for the network’s extensive conference offerings, including its flagship event, LeadingRE Conference Week for brokers, agents and sales managers, as well as marketing, technology and relocation professionals. Other events include regional Forums, specialized-audience workshops and LeadingRE’s Global Symposium.

“Dan has a proven record of tying learning to performance results, with a deep understanding of how adults absorb and retain information in a way that makes it relevant to specific business goals, current market trends and personal learning styles,” said LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor. “We are thrilled to have him on our team to support not only our member real estate professionals in 65 countries, but also our 110-person corporate staff.”

Nelson is based in LeadingRE’s Chicago headquarters. For more information on LeadingRE, please visit www.LeadingRE.com.

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Jack Conway & Company Recognized with Prestigious RELO Quality Certification

Front row, left to right: Tammy Vlah, Watson Realty Corp.; Liz Messier, Residential Properties Ltd.; and Ilona Robbins and Carol Bulman, Jack Conway & Co. Back row, left to right: Marie Battles, Jack Conway & Co.; Jana Coleman, LeadingRE; and Lauren Poremski and Susan Babb, Jack Conway & Co.

Chicago, IL(10/19/17) – Jack Conway & Company, Inc. has been awarded the prestigious RELO® Quality Certification from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), a selective global network of the highest quality real estate firms. The only program of its kind, the RELO® Quality Certification (RQC) quantifies and qualifies true relocation service excellence. Modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, it was created by LeadingRE to provide measurable standards for the pursuit of relocation excellence.

To receive the certification, Jack Conway & Company’s relocation department completed a rigorous and lengthy application process, overseen by a committee of leading industry professionals. Virtually every aspect of the company’s relocation operation was reviewed thoroughly, using specific criteria to evaluate performance and production, staffing, training and continuing education, quality and scope of service for relocation clients, program marketing, customer satisfaction, technology resources, office facilities, and more.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome Jack Conway to the esteemed group of firms that have been awarded the RQC,” said LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor. “Their relocation department has distinguished itself by going beyond expected quality service, demonstrating industry leadership and continuously focusing on customers and results.”

“We are so proud to have earned this highly-esteemed certification,” said Conway CEO/President Carol Conway Bulman. “As far back as my father’s involvement in helping found Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® , Conway has been committed to providing the highest level of service for all of our clients, whether they are moving next door or across the globe. I am so grateful for the members of our Relocation team who are committed to being outstanding in every way.”

A family-owned Massachusetts-based firm with 30 offices and more than 700 agents, Jack Conway & Company serves the North Shore to Boston, Metrowest, Cape Cod and the South Coast, extending its reach globally to 65 countries through its affiliation with LeadingRE.

To see a full list of RQC companies, visit LeadingRE.com/aboutus/membercredentials.

For more information about Jack Conway & Company’s relocation services, contact Global Relocation & Corporate Services Director Ilona Robbins at 781-616-6857 or irobbins@jackconway.com.

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LeadingRE Selects Studeo as a Preferred Technology Solution

Rosenbaum Financial

CHICAGO – (October 9, 2017/17) – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has named Studeo as a preferred provider through its Solutions Group program, which identifies business resources for its global community of 565 residential real estate firms.

Studeo offers a comprehensive program that combines a storytelling strategy, cutting-edge marketing techniques and unique interactive technology in a way that strengthens a brokerage’s brand, provides impactful marketing that attracts sales associates, boosts agent performance and creates new revenue streams.

“Listings with a storybook presentation have been shown to engage viewers for 10 times longer than a standard digital presentation,” said Robin LaSure, LeadingRE vice president, corporate marketing. “By making it so easy to create these compelling interactive storybooks, Studeo gives brokers and sales associates a powerful way to stand apart from the competition – whether they are showcasing a listing, promoting the brokerage or highlighting a specific neighborhood or development.”

“Studeo is all about showcasing the stories behind listings, neighborhoods and the expertise of the agent,” said Studeo co-founder Rebecca Rose. “We have brought a unique, compelling and incredibly shareable product to the marketplace that allows the consumer to engage with real estate content like never before. LeadingRE is a real estate system that encourages independence and a thirst for new ideas. We are meeting so many quality brokerages who want to compete on different levels, and so many people in the tech space have encouraged us to align with LeadingRE. We are thrilled with their advice.”

Learn more about Studeo at studeohq.com. Learn more about Leading Real Estate Companies of the Worldd® at LeadingRE.com.


About Studeo
Studeo, the world’s first interactive storytelling platform for real estate, was founded in 2013 by Rebecca Rose and Nir Betan. It received first place in the women’s Ignite Capital startup competition and was recognized as one of the top three emerging technologies by RESAAS. More than 4,000 agents are currently on the platform in the U.S. and Canada. The company is based in Toronto. For more information visit www.studeohq.com or call 647-352-3591.

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Leading Real Estate Companies of the World Presents Global Achievement Awards


– Members recognized at network’s Global Symposium in Vienna, Austria. –

CHICAGO (October 4, 2017) – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) presented member achievement awards during its Global Symposium, held in Vienna, Austria from September 24-26. The awards recognized member companies and individuals who have contributed significantly to the global growth of LeadingRE, home of the world’s market-leading independent residential brokerages in over 65 countries.

This year marks the first time formal awards were presented in the event’s 10-year history. “The strength and engagement of our global members have grown so much that we felt it was time to incorporate recognition of those who have been so instrumental in our development,” said LeadingRE COO Paul Boomsma, who presented the awards with LeadingRE Chairman of the Board Joe Horning of Shorewest Realtors, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the U.S., and LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor.

Seven individuals were presented with the Global Ambassador Award for extraordinary commitment to LeadingRE around the world, participating actively on many levels, promoting the network, and serving as role models for other members.

“These members are truly passionate about Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, and they never hesitate to mentor other members, work with our team to recruit quality prospective members, serve as speakers at conferences, and demonstrate their leadership in so many other ways,” said LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor.

Global Ambassador Award recipients include:

  • Benedetta Vigano of Giorgio Vigano Real Estate in Milan, Italy
  • Jeremy Hurst from IRG – International Realty Group Ltd. in the Cayman Islands
  • Michael Saunders of Michael Saunders and Company in Sarasota, Florida, U.S.
  • Wendy Alexander and Peter Thompson from Barfoot & Thompson in Auckland, New Zealand
  • Charles Marie Jottras and Marie-Helene Lundgreen from Daniel Feau Conseil Immobilier and Belles Demeures de France in Paris, France

Earning the Global Leadership Award was Ron Stader from CIR Realty in Calgary, Canada, in recognition of his generosity of time and commitment in supporting LeadingRE in his role as the chairman of LeadingRE’s Global Advisory Board and on the Board of Directors.

The Rising Star Award was given to Unique Estates Limited from Sofia, Bulgaria, for their early adoption of LeadingRE branding and programs as a new member.

Chas Everitt International Property Group, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, was presented the Luxury Trendsetter Award for leadership in the affluent real estate space and engagement with Luxury Portfolio International®, LeadingRE’s luxury marketing program.

The Referral Service Excellence Award was given to Carratelli Real Estate from Pienza, Italy, for above-and-beyond service and professionalism in handling a challenging cross-border referral.

Von Poll Immobilien, based in Frankfurt, Germany, received the Referral Accelerator Award for their  commitment to sending cross-border referrals to fellow members – placing five outgoing referrals in one day alone this past year.

Earning the Long Distance Referral Award for collaborating on the referral that traveled the greatest distance to be transacted – nearly 13,000 kilometers, or 8,000 miles – were Ark Properties from Shanghai, China and Stone Real Estate from Sydney, Australia.

Receiving the Global Referral Production Award for sending the most outgoing referrals this year among companies outside of North America was Ginesta Immobilien from Zurich, Switzerland.

The awards were a highlight of the Global Symposium, which attracted top-tier professionals from 22 countries. Next year’s Global Symposium will take place in Barcelona, Spain in September 2018. LeadingRE’s next major event is its annual Conference Week, taking place January 29-February 2, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

To learn more about Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, visit www.LeadingRE.com.

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LeadingRE Hosts Global Symposium in Vienna, Austria

The Preeminent Industry Conference From September 24-26 Brought Together Expert Global Real Estate Leaders from Around the World


NEW YORK – (September 26, 2017) – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), home of the world’s market-leading independent residential brokerages in over 65 countries, hosted the 2017 Global Symposium conference from September 24-26, 2017 at the Grand Hotel Wien in Vienna, Austria.

The conference offered top-tier industry professionals the opportunity to gain insights into the global marketplace and discuss new strategies on growing a business, along with the opportunity to explore the many historical treasures of Vienna, Austria’s capital. The event brought together attendees from around the globe, including United Kingdom, Denmark, China, Aruba, Italy, Switzerland, New Zealand, and South Africa.

The symposium included expert panelist Matthew Ferrara, dean of innovation for LeadingRE Institute, who discussed the role of artificial intelligence in completely rewriting the rules of marketing. Marci Rossell, chief economist for LeadingRE, shared insights about population shifts, demographic changes and political influences that are affecting the global economy.

Attendees heard from Pam O’Connor, president/CEO of LeadingRE, who discussed how the opportunities for assisting globally-focused clients is driving the growth of the company’s network by combining trusted relationships with technological progress. Paul Boomsma, president of Luxury Portfolio International®, spoke about growth statistics for global real estate, where the greatest opportunities are, and how LeadingRE is leveraging its scope and membership expertise to take advantage of those opportunities. Additional LeadingRE and Luxury Portfolio International staff speakers included:

  • Chris Dietz, Executive Vice President Global Operations, LeadingRE
  • Stephanie Pfeffer Anton, Executive Vice President, Luxury Portfolio International

Participants also received first-hand reports on select markets around the world from member speakers and heard from keynote presenters including:

  • Geoff Ramm, creator and author of ‘Celebrity Service’, ‘OMG Marketing’ & ‘OMG Strikes Back’
  • Debra Searle, entrepreneur, adventurer and motivational speaker

“With all the recent shifts and exponential growth in key world markets, this well-attended event brought together leading experts from real estate communities across the globe to discuss pertinent trends and opportunities in various sectors,” said Pam O’Connor, president/CEO of LeadingRE.

For more information about the conference, please visit: symposium.leadingreresources.com.

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LeadingRE Names Rosenbaum Financial as Preferred Provider


Rosenbaum Financial


– Company offers income protection insurance for real estate agents. –

CHICAGO – (09/26/17) – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has named Rosenbaum Financial as a preferred provider through its Solutions Group program, a collection of select business resources for the global community of 565 real estate firms.

Rosenbaum Financial designs customized group insurance plans that protect agents and owners against unexpected financial loss at a cost that is usually 40-50% less than comparable individual insurance plans. Their approach to group insurance means that agents are eligible for coverage regardless of their medical conditions and without financial underwriting. Through the Solutions Group relationship, LeadingRE members also qualify for an additional discount on group insurance premiums.

“Our brokers are always looking for ways to drive value to their sales associates,” Robin LaSure, LeadingRE vice president of corporate marketing said. “By sponsoring a program like this, our brokers can help agents protect their income at times when illness or an accident may prevent them from working. It’s an incredible benefit that reflects their concern for the financial wellbeing of their agents, with little to no expense for the brokerage.”

Rosenbaum Financial already works with several LeadingRE members and is looking forward to extending its services throughout the network.

“Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® attracts the best of the best – members whose integrity, professionalism, and dedication to their clients and communities set them apart. These are attributes that directly align with our core values, and we have been exceedingly impressed with everyone we’ve met who’s affiliated with LeadingRE – from agents, to brokers, to staff! We are thrilled to further develop our relationship with LeadingRE by becoming part of the Solutions Group program,” said Vice President Kelly Christopherson.

To learn more about Rosenbaum Financial, visit RosenbaumFinancial.com. To learn more about Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, visit LeadingRE.com.


About Rosenbaum Financial
Rosenbaum Financial was built on the drive and desire to make a difference in people’s lives. While they have been an integrated financial management firm for decades, their roots began in insurance. Today, they continue this legacy by offering specialized income protection products to organizations that are not typically eligible for group insurance. For over 25 years, they have been offering these products to brokerages across the country to help provide independent contractors and employees with top quality financial protection.

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LeadingRE Appoints Director, Business Development APAC


– New position focuses on growth in the Asia Pacific region and India. –

CHICAGO, Ill., USA – (September 14, 2017) Chicago-based Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) announced today that it has named Parikshat Chawla to serve as Director, Business Development APAC. In this role, Mr. Chawla will lead efforts to recruit the best real estate firms in the Asia Pacific region, including India, for LeadingRE, a selective real estate community of more than 565 firms across six continents.

In addition to engaging top real estate agencies, Mr. Chawla will work with other members of LeadingRE’s global team to enhance the value proposition of LeadingRE outside the United States and Canada by improving and adding programs relevant to members, especially in the booming APAC region. He will also play an important role in creating and managing a Developer Program in the region to support the area’s burgeoning growth, which is being driven by ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Economic Integration, where ASEAN becomes a borderless economy.

Mr. Chawla brings a diverse background in international property marketing, project management and business development in banking and financial services, as well as in real estate. Working with banking clients in the USA, Europe and Australia, he consulted on business transitions, solutions design, operations and financial analysis. Since 2009, he has specialized in the real estate industry, most recently heading up project marketing and sales for Knight Frank Malaysia, a global multi-disciplinary residential and commercial property firm.

“We are thrilled to have Parikshat join our team to help us continue our expansion in the world’s number one growth region. He has spent much of his career helping businesses achieve their goals, just as we help our member firms become even more successful by connecting them to opportunities and people worldwide,” said Chris Dietz, LeadingRE Executive Vice President, Global Operations. “Having such an accomplished and regionally experienced person based in Southeast Asia will make us that much more accessible to both our existing and prospective network members in the APAC region.”

Mr. Chawla earned his MBA in marketing and management from Johnson & Wales University (USA) and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Delhi (India), among other professional certifications. He is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where LeadingRE will hold its ASEAN Immersion Conference in May 2018 to give members from around the world a greater understanding of the region and an opportunity to experience its unique culture and history.

To learn more about LeadingRE, please visit www.LeadingRE.com.

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Leading Real Estate Companies of the World’s Board of Directors Market Pulse Shows Continued Strong Market

– Industry leaders cite rising prices and are bullish on ongoing investment –


CHICAGO, IL – (08/01/2017) – At the recent Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) Board of Directors meeting in Chicago, the industry leadership team shared their thoughts on their local markets and the overall health of the market.

Across the board, 92% of these leaders have seen higher prices continue to dominate the marketplace. The percentage of increase varied by market but ranged from 2% to 15%. Overall, 77% of the 13 directors, each of whom represents one of the top brokerages in their market and who collectively represent over $100 billion in annual sales, reported sales increases ranging between 2% to 20%.

“Our global community of brokerages have a wealth of local knowledge,” said Pam O’Connor, president and CEO of LeadingRE. “While every market is different, overall our members are feeling bullish about this year’s real estate numbers.”

When it comes to the demands of today’s buyers, walkability ranks highly. The preference for new or updated homes is very strong among today’s buyers – particularly millennials – who are not interested in doing significant renovations. The directors cited open floor plans and high-end kitchens and bathrooms as top amenities along with outdoor kitchens and three-car garages.

“These preferences dovetail with what we see in our recent Consumer Insights survey, indicating that millennial buyers are less likely to prefer an older home,” added O’Connor.

While most of the brokers noted that the international buyer flow has slowed, that could change with the 9% decline in the value of the dollar this year, since the favorable U.S. exchange rate has made American properties more expensive in recent years for offshore buyers.

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.



About Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® 
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (www.LeadingRE.com) 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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Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International Announce the Winners of the HGTV Ultimate House Hunt

Annual contest receives over 1.1 million votes

CHICAGO, July 19, 2017 – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and Luxury Portfolio International® are proud to announce the winners of the 2017 HGTV Ultimate House Hunt, a month-long online promotion held on HGTV.com each year. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and Luxury Portfolio International® are HGTV’s exclusive real estate partners for the contest, which ended on July 18.

The contest highlighted exceptional homes from across the globe in eight categories, represented by members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and Luxury Portfolio International®. Consumers voted for their favorites in each category, including the highly coveted overall fan favorite award, which was awarded to Turks & Caicos Property, which also won the Waterfront Homes category for its stunning beachfront estate.

Winners in the other categories are Pinnacle Estate Properties, Inc. for Curb Appeal, Willis Allen Real Estate for Great Estates, Wetag Consulting for International Homes, Weichert REALTORS Coastal Properties for Kitchen + Dining, Alain Pinel Realtors for Living Large in Small Spaces, Sibarth Real Estate for Modern Masterpieces, and Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers for Outdoor Retreats.

“The Ultimate House Hunt is very popular with our audience,” said Rich Lacy, vice president, Digital Brand Creative & Food.com for Scripps Networks. “Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and Luxury Portfolio International® represent the most beautiful homes throughout the world, and it is always exciting to see which properties resonate most with our voters.”

In addition to bragging rights, the winning homes receive additional editorial exposure on HGTV.com.

“Each year we are excited to discover which of our members’ desirable properties will capture the hearts and minds of the HGTV audience,” said Paul Boomsma, COO of LeadingRE and president of Luxury Portfolio International®. “This year we saw international press coverage of this contest, proving that the love of fantastic real estate is truly universal.”

To view the Ultimate House Hunt winners, visit hgtv.com/househunt.


About HGTV
America’s leading home and lifestyle brand, HGTV features a top-rated cable network that is distributed to more than 99 million U.S. households and the HGTV website, HGTV.com, the nation’s leading online home-and-garden destination. The brand also includes the HGTV HOME consumer products line which showcases exclusive collections of paint, flooring, soft goods and other home-oriented products, as well as HGTV Magazine, a new home and lifestyle publication published in partnership with Hearst Magazines.

About Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (www.LeadingRE.com) is a selective global community of the highest quality independent real estate companies, with over 565 companies and 130,000 sales associates in 65 countries. Network members generate over 1.1 million transactions annually, with $368 billion in home sales. 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 Luxury Portfolio International®
Luxury Portfolio International® (www.LuxuryPortfolio.com) is the luxury face of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, the largest global network of premier locally branded companies dominated by many of the world’s most powerful independent luxury brokerages. Luxury Portfolio International® attracts a global audience of visitors from over 200 countries/territories every month and marketed over 50,000 luxury homes to over three million high-net-worth visitors last year.

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Inman News Feature: Inside LeadingRE, an exclusive network of indie brokers

Download a PDF of this article here, or, if you are an Inman News subscriber, view online here.

The experiences, the connections, the education, the networking – but mostly, the referrals – fuel the bond between these real estate firms


Key Takeaways

• Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE) is a community for independent brokerages that seek national and international referrals, an annual conference and a bigger network.
• The organization has an almost 50 percent referral conversion rate compared to the industry standard of 25 percent.

Agents looking to hitch their wagon to the right brokerage might ask about culture, mentorship, educational resources and tech tools — all elements that many independent brokerages have found ways to offer at the same (or even greater) level than their franchise counterparts.

But what about the networking, the cross-country connections and — most importantly — the referrals? Franchises with branches across the nation are naturally equipped to refer leads to one another, a particular advantage when it comes to clients who are relocating.

That’s where Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE) comes in, an organization that describes itself as a selective global community of the highest quality independent real estate companies with over 572 network members worldwide and 130,000 sales associates across 65 countries.

Since it formed in 1997 as the result 50 large brokerages departing from a relocation organization and a merger with the Genesis network (then a referral network made up of indie brokerages), the organization has been filling in that benefit which franchises enjoy as a built-in perk: power in numbers.

There’s a catch, however, and it’s one that strengthens LeadingRE: Not just any indie brokerage can join. Members must rank among the top five independents in their market (and be in the top 10 overall) in either units or volume, and there is often more than one member company in the most populated markets.

How does this intricate web of companies operate, what’s next for this immense organization and who controls it? Here’s a look inside.

Brokers seeking to control their own destiny

The founding 50 brokerages of LeadingRE aimed to control their own destiny and create a network made up of “only the best” locally and regionally branded firms focused on raising the bar in real estate.

The Chicago-based organization is held by 33 shareholder companies today, including Allen Tate, Long & Foster, Howard Hanna, Alain Pinel, Edina Realty, John L. Scott, Michael Saunders, Shorewest and Real Estate One.

Of the 572 network members worldwide, 466 are in the U.S. and Canada, the total generating over 1.1 million transactions annually, with $368 billion in home sales.

LeadingRE connects members with opportunities and people around the globe, supporting them with an international referral network, professional development programs, networking events and connections to people and opportunities worldwide.

The organization’s referral program has an enviable 50 percent conversion rate, compared to the industry standard of closer to 25 percent.

LeadingRE president Pam O’Connor says 14 out of the top 25 Real Trends’ brokerages are LeadingRE members. Members range from companies as big as Howard Hanna, Windermere Real Estate and Edina Realty and as small as a one-office luxury brokerages such as Hilton & Highland in Beverly Hills, California.

Networking opportunities and collaboration happen in the flesh at the organization’s annual U.S. conference, which normally attracts around 2,000 attendees. There are also CEO forums, regional events and a big international get together for those outside the U.S.

Direct competitors willing to share intel

Membership costs come in tiers — expenses range from $3,000 to $4,000 a year for a small market up to the $70,000 to $80,000 range for firms with a number of markets and ZIP codes, as in the case of Long & Foster and Howard Hanna, for instance.

LeadingRE chair Joe Horning, president of Shorewest Realtors, a third generation independent brokerage based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, likes to describe LeadingRE as the “non-franchise for independents” and says it’s interesting to see former franchise companies he has acquired contrast their experience with LeadingRE at Shorewest.

“With my own firm, we have acquired several companies that were franchises and they all had sour opinions on the franchise model,” he said. “Once they’d become part of this company and experienced LeadingRE, they said it was like night and day. They see all the tools. LeadingRE acts like a real partner — an advocate — not someone just trying to get a commission.”

Horning gets asked all the time in his marketplace to join a franchise, but his thinking is: “You are not growing or expanding; why would I want to be telling your story?” Because they have skin in the game, LeadingRE members are very active participants, willing to share knowledge even if they are direct competitors, said Horning.

What comes with a LeadingRE membership?

Members can attend conferences where brokers passionate about tech tools meet, give guidance and share ideas about marketing and technology.

LeadingRE’s Marketing Technology Advisory Council (MTAC) reviews all programs, provides input for conference content and the vendor partner program, and raises topics for staff to address. The results and findings are shared with the membership at large. They look over vendors to help guide members, attempt to identify the best ones and promote the ones that seem to be the cream of the crop, said Horning.

Many members access the preferred providers promoted at conferences and through the “Solutions Group” vendor partner program, often with preferred pricing or other benefits not available if they ordered on their own.

Former LeadingRE member Liz Nunan has just joined the organization as executive vice president of member services, to be located in Chicago, where close to 100 staff members are based. She was vice president of global business development at New York firm Houlihan Lawrence, which was acquired by HomeServices of America in January this year.

As Houlihan Lawrence is retaining its brand name, it will be able to maintain its membership with LeadingRE as other HomeServices companies have done. Nunan is a big fan of the LeadingRE learning management platform, Institute, which gives members access to a number of educational and agent development opportunities.

All members get access to the online courses, which include continuing education, a library and webinars. About a third of the 300-plus proprietary LeadingRE-produced courses are free, and the others have iTunes-like pricing of $7.99 each.

For an extra fee, brokerages can opt for the annual enterprise subscription, which gives their agents access to all at no cost. In many cases, franchises — where relocation referrals flow more abundantly — are better equipped for relocation work than independents. LeadingRE sister company RELO Direct aims to level the playing field as a tool for independent brokerage members, said Nunan, who has a background in corporate relocation.

“At Houlihan Lawrence, if I had a lead with a corporate client that wanted home buyouts, for instance, I could partner with RELO Direct which would help win the business,” said Nunan.

The new EVP sees her role to push more referrals through the network, which has always been the driving force of the network’s foundations.

Next month, LeadingRE will run a referral and relocation forum in Chicago, where all the relocation directors and coordinators will come together to generate more referral business.

Building up international links

With LeadingRE’s U.S. market fairly saturated, building up the international members is a key focus for O’Connor, who is working with staff based in Europe and Asia to identify firms for potential membership and to bolster international referrals.

“Internationally, it is a lot more challenging,” she said. “We have a lot of data to look at in the U.S. to look at performance, whereas overseas it tends to be by recommendation and you have to do due diligence in every market.”

Some opportunities will still pop up in the U.S. for new members. LeadingRE has a year-long contract with each of its members. “Anybody can leave with 90 days’ notice,” said O’Connor.

“We have to perform; they have to perform. We don’t renew probably 15 to 20 companies every year,” she said. “It’s not that they are not good — but they are just not engaged, they don’t come to events, they don’t send referrals.”

Referrals are the bread and butter when it comes to member brokerage ROI, with 35,000 referrals generated a year through the network.

On her part, she says: “We want to continue to be relevant and to meet a need in the market over 20 years that is not being met by franchises. Brokerages want to be independent to be on top of tech, [to be able to face challenges] from Zillow to Opendoor and want to grow the global part of the business.”

The organization has done sessions on succession planning because it is such a big issue with members, she added.

“I think it’s a really good time for independents,” she said. “They have a lot more flexibility, they can take the dollars where they are needed, rather than going to the franchise company for permission.”

LeadingRE’s luxury division: For the $1M and over club

Luxury Portfolio International, LeadingRE’s luxury division, is another major cog in the machine. Set up in 2005 at the urging of its members, it’s headed by Paul Boomsma, Leading RE’s COO who previously managed marketing for a Sotheby’s affiliate. Half of LeadingRE’s members are also Luxury Portfolio members. Brokerages in this niche should be selling properties of $1 million and over, he said.

Luxury members, who already have a presence in the luxury real estate space, gain access to global markets through Luxury Portfolio’s website, advertising programs and global audience.

“Wherever they are looking to market, we have resources,” Boomsma said. “It’s not impossible to do on your own, but it’s incredibly costly.”

By pooling resources, Luxury Portfolio can secure good placements in print and online advertising. Boomsma knows that no one in the luxury field has to buy a home, so the promotion has to tell a story and have impact.

Through surveys and white papers,the luxury division also offers education on what’s going on with today’s affluent buyers and sellers; their wants, needs and concerns, and networking and connections.

Boomsma and the management team recently ran a series of seven broker forums around the country.

“The idea was to bring brokers in to discuss their top concerns and how are they dealing with them, how can we assist. Everything from being recruited against, different technologies, the challenges of low inventory, where they should be focusing their dollars,” Boomsma said.

“Most of our companies — they have charismatic, smart leaders at the helm. It’s not easy times for any of them but they are resourceful.”

Boomsma welcomed the arrival of chief economist Marci Rossell to LeadingRE earlier this year. Rossell is the former chief economist for CNBC and is bringing an understanding of monetary policy and political climates to the organization and its members, and how they affect real estate markets.

Dispatch from Canada

With members all over Europe and in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, Ron Stader, owner of CIR Realty, based in Calgary, Canada, is chair of LeadingRE’s global advisory board and is also on the main board of LeadingRE.

According to Stader, CIR is the largest brokerage among independents and franchises in Alberta with a sales volume of CA$2.54 billion in 2016. It became a LeadingRE member nine years ago and is also a Luxury Portfolio member.

“Instead of 720 Realtors today, I would say if not for nine years with LeadingRE, we would be 520 realtors and that’s not an exaggeration,” said Stader.

“CIR was big before it became a part of LeadingRE, but when interviewing Realtors about joining us, their reservation was that we weren’t part of something else. What would we do with a referral to Vancouver; what conferences did we have for new ideas? “Those reservations all went away when we became part of LeadingRE. On the flip side, Realtors that used to leave us because they wanted to join a franchise don’t have to leave us anymore. They feel like they are not losing anything.”

Stader also believes the maverick spirit of independents makes their conferences — where you get “unique perspectives on the industry” — more interesting than other industry conferences.


Article image credited to AJ Canaria from PlanOmatic

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