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Second Century Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the National Association of REALTORS®, recently announced the 10 companies selected for its 2022 REACH Canada program. These firms operate within a diverse range of market segments and specializations, from empowering agents and brokers through the elegant use of data and content, to developing tools that enhance the efficiency and transparency of the real estate transaction.
“The REACH program has a proven track record of bringing cutting-edge technology to the forefront of the real estate landscape,” said NAR CEO and SCV President Bob Goldberg in a statement. “From the beginning, our goal has been to help propel emerging firms into the global market, which in turn will help thousands of small businesses, millions of REALTORS® and consumers everywhere. The addition of these companies will help bolster SCV’s and NAR’s efforts to drive innovation in our industry.”
Second Century Ventures is the most active global venture fund in real estate technology, with over 150 portfolio companies worldwide, according to the company. SCV operates the global REACH scale-up program in five major markets—U.S. Residential, U.S. Commercial, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. The award-winning REACH program helps high growth-potential companies scale across the real estate, financial services, banking, home services and insurance industries.
Leveraging SCV’s rapidly expanding global presence, the 2022 REACH Canada cohort represents firms from around the globe and across the entire real estate ecosystem, each delivering value-added solutions to homeowners and REALTORS® alike.
Collectively, companies accepted to the 2022 REACH Canada program have raised over $51 million USD in capital and represent a market capitalization of more than $140 million. Companies joining the 2022 program are broadly categorized within four verticals: Financial Efficiency and Transparency, Homeownership Accessibility, Broker and Agent Tools and Environmental Sustainability.
“The 2022 Canada cohort offers an impressive range of diverse solutions, demonstrating that technology truly has no borders,” said Lynette Keyowski, managing partner of REACH Canada. “When making the final selection, we felt the need to focus on technology and founding teams that are quality dominant. Through this lens, the resulting 2022 Canada Cohort—which comprises solutions from Israel, Australia, Canada and the United States, led by both men and women founders representing multiple cultures and diverse ideologies—is poised to deliver exponential value to the global real estate ecosystem, enhancing the consumers’ experience via the REALTOR® community, today and well into the future.”
The 10 companies selected for REACH Canada 2022 are as follows:
Financial Efficiency and Transparency
Perch – An analytics platform that reportedly helps optimize a prospective buyer’s path to homeownership alongside the real estate professional, from first purchase and beyond.
Simplicity Global Solutions – Automates and digitizes workflows for the North American mortgage lending ecosystem.
Rental Beast – A database of national rental listings, and proprietary technology for matching the right properties to the right tenants.
Openn – Digital sales process and platform allowing real estate professionals to facilitate more transparent property sales.
Broker and Agent Tools
Urbanimmersive – A 3D marketing platform that delivers full visual content creation and increased productivity for real estate professionals
SmartAlto – Integrated lead qualification solution that allows agents to schedule five times more appointments.
Loft47 – Automated commission management platform that provides complete, compliant financial functionality.
Roomvu – AI-powered automated video marketing for real estate professionals that produces and publishes unique video content to an agent’s social media channels.
Rise – Leading resource platform in sustainable home improvement offering knowledge-based, unbiased resources to support the procurement of sustainable products.
Watrix – Fully-autonomous water leak detector that delivers detection, monitoring and mitigation to lower environmental impact.
“We are excited to welcome the REACH Canada Class of 2022 to our rapidly expanding global portfolio,” said Dave Garland, SCV’s managing partner. “These 10 companies are poised to make a significant impact on real estate in North America and well beyond. We are eager to accelerate their growth and share their unique and progressive solutions with REALTORS® around the world.”
For more information, please visit www.narreach.ca.
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Last Friday was Oct. 1 and we just finished up the third quarter. Why is that important? Well, the significance of Oct. 1 in real estate is that it’s the actual start of our new year. Here’s why:
In real estate, we operate on a 90-day cycle. All the prospecting, lead generation and planning we do now is going to pay off three months from now. It’s why our new year doesn’t begin when the clock strikes midnight on Jan.1. No, our new year starts Oct.1.
Each new “real estate” year requires a new business plan. To get you started on yours, access Business Planning Essentials by clicking HERE.
Creating a business plan now will help you avoid a Q1 slump. Understandably, when the Q4 holidays arrive, people get off schedule. But if you skip ahead 90 days, your holiday lag will show up in January and February, just as you’re kicking off Q1. During my 30-plus years in the real estate business—as an agent, a manager and an owner of a company—I’ve found that there’s always a cash flow problem in the months of January and February. This applies as much to agents as it does to brokerage owners.
A business plan allows you to plan for what’s ahead, and it ensures that the busy holiday season won’t stop you. Remember, business planning isn’t all about business; one important aspect of a business plan is your schedule, which you should complete for the entire year. The first thing to schedule are the most critical business meetings that you can’t miss. Knowing when those occur will help you plan when you need to work and when you can take days off. The next thing you do before you schedule anything else is put in whatever gives you balance, like your vacations and days off. This will ensure that you take the time off you need to recharge and you won’t schedule meetings or calls during the time you’ve blocked off for rest and relaxation. Once you have done that, never make a commitment with your time without checking your schedule first.
Here are a few more reasons why your business needs a plan:
– To establish goals and milestones.
– To take time to examine your competition as you outline your own competitive advantages and the areas of your business you need to focus on and improve.
– To deal with economic conditions effectively. When you look at your business model from a planning perspective (and not while in the midst of a heated obstacle), you have a more objective view of how it can be adapted during times of challenge and change.
– To discover new opportunities for revenue and growth. As you plan, you’re taking time to critically examine your client base and business model, which may help you discover new ways you can grow your business.
So, what’s the message? Over the years, I’ve been tuned into the cash flow problem of agents and brokerage owners during the months of January and February; but with a business plan, you can avoid those issues. This post is your reminder of the importance of a business plan, which will allow you to start the official new year with momentum and a solid plan for sustainable growth.
This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.
Water damage is caused by storms, flooding, roof leaks, damaged pipes, leaking washing machines and more. If not addressed, water damage can eventually cause structural damage, which can mean significant costs to repair and can negatively affect a home’s value.
Prevention is the first line of defense against water damage in the home. Here are some basics on preventing water damage and its effects:
1. Water supply lines to and from washing machines and dishwashers should be regularly inspected for cracks and leaks. Both the hoses themselves and the connections should be examined. Even a small leak can cause water damage over time, so it’s best to just replace these hoses every five years or so. Steel-reinforced auto-shutoff hoses are available that sense the pressure change when a leak occurs and will stop the flow of water automatically.
2. Tank-style water heaters are prone to failure, especially as they age. Over time, the bottom of the tank can rust out and release the entire contents of the tank. Most plumbing codes require an overflow valve that will conduct leaking water to a pipe that drains either to the outside or to an appropriate interior drain. Homeowners should check with a plumber who is familiar with local codes for this type of overflow pipe.
3. Another common source of water leaks is the icemaker supply line; this should be regularly checked as well. For added peace of mind, homeowners should shut off the icemaker and the supply line if leaving home for more than a few days.
4. Be aware that pipes slowly leaking inside the walls or ceiling may be impossible to detect visually before damage has already occurred.
5. Check gutters and downspouts to ensure that water drains freely and flows away from the home’s foundation. Make any adjustments, and check the flow again using water from a garden hose.
6. Leak detectors can be installed at floor level near water heaters, washing machines and interior air conditioning units. Simple, inexpensive wireless models are widely available and will sound an alarm when water is detected on the floor near these appliances. These are a good option for homeowners who run these appliances only while they’re at home, which is highly recommended. “Smart” water alarms can also alert homeowners via an app that a problem has occurred.
Some home inspectors can use moisture detectors to check for damp conditions not visible. This tool helps detect possible trouble spots in walls, ceilings and floors.
These tips can help homeowners avoid the often expensive and intrusive damage water leaks can cause if not prevented or repaired.
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is committed to ensuring confident home ownership. To learn more about how Pillar To Post Home Inspectors can help your clients, visit pillartopost.com.
Realogy Holdings Corp. recently announced an agreement to form a Title Insurance Underwriter joint venture with an investment from funds affiliated with Centerbridge Partners, L.P., a private investment management firm.
As part of the agreement, Centerbridge funds will purchase a controlling 70% interest in Title Resources Guaranty Company, Realogy’s insurance underwriter, for $210 million in cash, subject to closing adjustments, valuing the asset at $300 million. Realogy will maintain a 30% equity interest in Closing Parent Holdco, L.P., a newly formed limited partnership joint venture that will own the Title Insurance Underwriter. The transaction is expected to close in first quarter of 2022, subject to required regulatory clearances and approvals and other closing conditions.
“Realogy continues to demonstrate momentum on our journey to reimagine an integrated real estate transaction,” said Ryan Schneider, Realogy’s chief executive officer and president, in a statement. “While we really like our Title Insurance Underwriter, this agreement enables us to be even more laser-focused on Realogy’s core businesses, including critical consumer-facing transaction services in franchise, brokerage, title settlement and escrow, and mortgage.”
“We believe a standalone venture guided by Centerbridge’s proven asset growth and management expertise can fully unleash the underwriter’s growth potential, which is why Realogy has committed to maintaining a material ownership stake,” added Schneider. “Future growth upside from the underwriter venture, combined with our ability to unlock capital to further invest in Realogy’s strategic priorities, can help us generate additional value for both the company and our shareholders.”
“We are excited to partner with Realogy on this important strategic transaction. We are eager to support CEO Scott McCall and the talented team at the Title Insurance Underwriter to realize their vision. The Title Insurance Underwriter is one of the fastest growing companies in the sector, delivering an approximately 15% CAGR in gross title premiums since June 2010,” said Kevin Mahony, managing director at Centerbridge Partner. “We believe we can accelerate this growth even further by investing in new geographies, expanding title products and services, continuing the development of technology, and delivering value to all stakeholders, including agents and employees.”
Upon close, Centerbridge funds will purchase a 70% equity interest in the title underwriting joint venture in preferred units. Realogy’s portion of future minority interest earnings from its 30% common equity stake will be reported within the company’s Realogy Title Group segment, which includes the company’s title, escrow, and settlement services business and mortgage origination joint venture.
Realogy will continue to own and operate its national scale title settlement and escrow services that helped agents and consumers close 214,000 transactions in 2020.
Realogy’s title and escrow services operate across 43 states under 45 different brand names and in 2020, represented the majority of Operating EBITDA generated by the Realogy Title Group segment, excluding equity earnings from the company’s mortgage origination joint venture.
Consistent with Realogy’s current capital allocation priorities, the company intends to use the cash proceeds after taxes and transaction-related costs to continue to invest in its business and de-lever.
For more information, please visit www.realogy.com.
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CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite recently made enhancements to expand reach and nurture inclusion. These upgrades include ADA functionality across its flagship platform, and offering Spanish reporting options so that users can better assist their Spanish-speaking clients.
“Our team embarked on an important journey with various experts and partners to help ensure that these upgrades are thorough and effective,” said Matt Casey, CRS Data’s CEO and president, in a statement. “These improvements are one part of our ongoing commitment to consistently enhancing and improving our platform so that all users can benefit from our expansive property tax data, maps and reports.”
ADA improvements will help the company service those with disabilities by meeting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. These changes include deepening and adjusting color contrast, and enriching visual design to ensure optimization for viewers and readers.
On the bilingual front, the team selected to offer reports throughout the platform in Spanish to support an expanding Spanish-speaking clientele across the U.S. and Canada. CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite reports are extensive, including neighborhood data, facts and figures, and charts and graphs that show area statistics and deep area insights.
A video is available about the improvement process and the new functionality. Viewers can click on the “CC” tab at the bottom of the video player to select English or Spanish captions.
For more information, please visit www.crsdata.com/mls-tax-suite.
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MooveGuru has announced YourHomeHub, which will be the first consumer portal that is “Everything Home,” according to the company. The platform, which will launch in mid-November, will allow homeowners to manage both the financial details and physical elements of their home. The consumer can monitor extensive information about their home and local market conditions, store important documents, generate estimates for home repairs and find a local contractor for over 1,000 different home service categories.
The platform will be provided by real estate professionals at no cost to consumers.
This is packaged into a franchise opportunity for existing MooveGuru partners, which include real estate brokerages, lenders, title and MLS’s. Nine states have been sold with 14-unit franchises pending.
Scott Oakley, CEO and founder of MooveGuru said, “We are garnering a lot of interest from our broker and lender relationships. Three of our first franchisees all own multiple businesses in the real estate space and are looking for another ancillary revenue stream.”
One of the first regional developers is Unique Realty Services, which is headed by 35-year industry veteran Dave Collins and former COO of the ERA brand.
Collins said, “I reconnected with Scott after a precipitous LinkedIn message. We met in Atlanta a couple weeks later and I immediately knew they had a winning strategy that we needed to be part of.”
Kathleen Kuhn, a 35-year veteran of the home services franchise sector, and EVP of Strategy and Franchising for MooveGuru, said, “We knew our platform was needed and that industry leaders would appreciate what a game changer it is, but we did not anticipate we would close so many territories before we made any official announcement.”
For more information, please visit yourhomehub.com.
Democrats and Republicans reached a temporary debt ceiling deal today to extend the government’s borrowing limit and avoid a federal default. If Congress had not raised the debt ceiling, the amount of debt the U.S. federal government can have outstanding, a default period could have led to disastrous consequences for real estate, leading to furloughed federal employees or even requests that staff keep working unpaid, with a large IOU looming over their heads, according to some scholars.
In order to avoid a U.S. credit default, Congress had until Oct. 18 to decide how much the debt limit should be increased. A Senate aide told news outlets they will be temporarily expanding the debt ceiling by $480 billion—the level the Treasury Department says it needs to get the government through to Dec. 3
Another hurdle could pose further challenges in just a few months. Lawmakers will need to consider further government funding actions by December before adjourning for the holidays or risk a shutdown.
According to Florida REALTORS®, a government shutdown could have devastating impacts on the industry, including:
– Delays in approving National Flood Insurance Program policies, making it difficult for those purchasing homes in flood zones to close on their home.
– In past shutdowns, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) employees have been furloughed. This could lead to staff shortages at the FHA, delaying loan approvals and funding.
– Rural housing loans could also be put at risk, with potential shutdowns for the U.S. Department of Agriculture delaying or outright halting new rural housing Direct Loans or Guaranteed Loans.
– The Internal Revenue Services could shutdown as well, delaying homebuyers and lenders who need tax-return transcripts in order to close deals.
– The Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) would likely resume as normal during a government shutdown as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t rely on appropriated funds. However, lenders would still likely need federal verification of Social Security numbers and IRS tax transcripts in order to purchase the loans.
Following a meeting at the White House with President Biden to talk about the debt ceiling, the National Association of REALTORS® said it was optimistic about the potential deal on Wednesday, releasing the following statement from President Charlie Oppler:
“NAR is encouraged by reports Congressional leaders are working on a short-term debt ceiling extension following our meeting. With more than $8 trillion in mortgage debt backed by the federal government, the real estate sector is highly susceptible to market instability,” said Oppler. “A debt default would unleash unnecessary and unknown harm on the economy and our 1.5 million members, most of whom are small business owners. And rising interest rates would serve a devastating blow to the homeownership dreams of countless American families. We encourage Congress to keep working on a long-term debt ceiling solution to maintain stability and faith in the American economy.”
This is a developing story. Stay tuned to RISMedia for updates.
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to email@example.com.
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Apple picking, Halloween, pumpkin spice lattes and home-buying are, in fact, all things that go very well together, according to a new report from ATTOM® Data Solutions, which found that October is the best month to get a good deal on a home as buyers paid significantly less than those who bought in the summer.
Analyzing data over a seven-year period from 2013 to 2020, the report found that in October, people paid an average of 2.9% over the median automated appraisal price of a given home. That pales in comparison to May, the most expensive month, when buyers paid an average of 11.5% over the computer-determined appraisal.
Generally, data supported the conventional wisdom, showing that colder months are better for buyers—with December and November averaging under 4% higher purchase price compared to the computer-generated appraisal—with spring and summer the ideal time for sellers, as April through July all topped 7% over valuation.
Total home sales followed the same pattern as price, according to the report, with colder months seeing more than a 30% drop compared to summer months. February had the least number of sales, averaging below 2 million, with July seeing the most sales at just over 3.3 million. Sales began to decline in September before rebounding in March, the report showed.
The report also broke down data by region, as well as individual days. Unsurprisingly, colder climates saw a much larger seasonal drop in price, as Delaware, Tennessee, New Jersey, Maryland and Ohio saw homes sell for between 4.8% and 7.9% less than the computer valuation model during the winter.
Nationally, the best day to buy a home is Dec. 5, according to the report—a date where buyers only paid 1.6% above the appraisal. The most expensive days are May 23 and 27, both of which saw buyers pay 17.4% more than the home’s value.
Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mortgage rates have decreased slightly, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 2.99%, according to the latest data from Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey®.
– 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.99% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Oct.7, 2021, down slightly from last week when it averaged 3.01%. Last year, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.87%.
– 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.23%with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.28%. Last year, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.37%.
– 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.52% with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.48%. Last year, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.89%.
“Mortgage rates continue to hover at around 3% again this week due to rising economic and financial market uncertainties,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a statement. “Unfortunately, with the expectation that both mortgage rates and home prices will continue to rise, competition remains high and housing affordability is declining.”
“Investor worries about the debt ceiling standoff in Congress outweighed the stronger-than-expected ADP private employment report, declining jobless claims and solid gains in factory orders,” said realtor.com® Manager of Economic Research George Ratiu in a statement. “While this drop is good news for buyers planning to lock-in favorable rates this week, we expect rates to continue on an upward trajectory over the next few months, as economic indicators point toward continued expansion and financial markets take into account expected monetary tightening.”
Leadership at United Real Estate North Jersey Discusses Why Selecting the Right Brokerage Makes All the Difference
United Real Estate North Jersey
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Regions served: Northern and Central New Jersey as well as New York
Years in real estate: Jeff: 23; Todd: 23; Anthony: 38
Number of offices: 5, soon to be 6
Number of agents: Nearly 500
Paige Tepping: What attracted you to United Real Estate, and why was United the best fit for you?
Jeff Bailey: When looking for a brokerage in 2014, we wanted something different and new to the area. After meeting with CEO Dan Duffy and the leadership, we knew it was going to be a good fit. United was head and shoulders above the competition, specifically when it came to their technology, support and leadership.
PT: What value does United bring to your business?
Anthony Laurita: As with anything in life, you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. One of the things we have going for us is United’s leadership on all different levels. The leadership and home office team have provided the tools and support we need to run our business, and they make us feel like we are part of something larger. United brings value to us, and we, in turn, bring a lot of value to our agents.
PT: Tell us about your growth as a company since joining United.
AL: We believe very strongly that we have the best company and the best tools to offer agents. United Real Estate is a blend of old and new, and from a broker standpoint, we need to be in that space to attract as many agents as we can. Regardless of what anyone may think about technology and the internet, it’s still a people business, so you need to be able to relate to people. That said, United’s proprietary technology platform competes with or exceeds any of our competitors’, yet we still maintain a traditional brokerage feel that provides agents a level of comfort knowing that they’re dealing with top-quality people.
PT: What attracts agents to United?
JB: People have come to realize that if they want to make more and there is less business out there, they can do that at United New Jersey. They are right to be questioning what exactly their broker provides. United’s flat-fee, 100% commission model, proprietary technology and full-service broker support are proof that no box was left unchecked. Agents are making thousands more than they would at other companies, and that’s a big attractor. They don’t have to compromise on anything they are currently receiving from their broker. Anthony and I personally conduct 99% of the interviews that take place here, and the agents are able to meet the owners at the first interview, which is a truly unique experience. United is rock-solid in my opinion, and they keep rolling out new offerings.
PT: How is United New Jersey unique among its competitors?
JB: We’re ranked within the Top 1% of brokerages in the U.S., and agents like to talk about that. One of our biggest concerns when we first got started was that no one knew who United was, but our accomplishments locally, nationally and globally have changed the narrative. Today, 95% of our agents come to us via referral, and one of the ways we reward them is through our revenue sharing program.
PT: As business partners, what’s your personal philosophy about working harmoniously together?
AL: We respect each other’s strengths and know our own weaknesses. When we focus on our roles in the office, it creates a complementary and collaborative environment.
PT: What have been the keys to your brokerage business’ success?
AL: It’s important to note that we don’t compete with our agents. It’s widely known that we’re here to build our business by focusing 100% on growing our agents’ success. Our agents get a great opportunity and a fair shake when they come work with us.
Todd Bailey: The beauty of our business is that we can adjust our sails on a dime, and this was seen during the pandemic when we switched to a remote operation without skipping a beat. We’re also committed to paying our agents within 24 – 48 hours of closing a transaction.
PT: United Real Estate’s mission is to help change the financial trajectory of agents’ and brokers’ careers and sometimes their lives. Do you have any specific stories your agents have experienced?
AL: One example is Marco Suarez, a top producer from RE/MAX, who came to United after three years of contemplation. Having kept his finger on the pulse of the company, he watched us grow until he was ready to make the leap as a partner. Today, he helps us run our Clifton office. I don’t know many other brokerages offering this same type of open-door policy and opportunities.
For more information, please visit www.GrowWithUnited.com.
Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to email@example.com.
Prominent New York, regional, national and international real estate thought leaders convened, both in person and virtually on Sept. 30 to discuss challenges facing the industry and to share strategies for seizing opportunities in the global marketplace as part of the Global Real Estate Summit 2021.
The event, now in its 15th year, was presented by eight regional REALTOR® associations: the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS®, Greater Bergen REALTORS®, North Central Jersey Association of REALTORS®, Staten Island Board of REALTORS®, Brooklyn Board of REALTORS® and MLS, Greenwich Association of REALTORS®, Liberty Board of REALTORS® and Long Island Board of REALTORS®.
Real estate leaders participated in presentations and panel discussions to address different facets of global real estate, including economic forecasts, emerging trends in design and architecture, international negotiations, urbanism and technology, 3D-printed homes and using cryptocurrency in real estate.
“We’re so pleased to join our colleagues and hear from industry leaders about the many opportunities for succeeding in the global marketplace,” said Richard Haggerty, CEO of the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS® and president and chief strategic growth officer of OneKey® MLS, in a statement. “It is precisely this critical insight and collective innovation that is needed as we move forward in a changing landscape.”
While global real estate acquisition is more accessible than ever—thanks in large part to the mobile and digital age, and pandemic-imposed reliance on technology—Brown Harris Stevens Associate Broker Susan Merdinger Greenfield said it takes more than just sales and global reach to be successful. “My international relationships around the world have brought me my business and made me a success because I keep working my network. Relationships bring a buyer.”
Dr. Ivan Shumkov, architect and entrepreneur, echoed this sentiment and noted the increased importance of “community” building, given the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. “Communities are what makes us resilient. As designers, we have to think how people actually live—not just by themselves, but how they live in the community. By designing certain spaces, we can incentivize this communal aspect that cities can have.”
Shumkov also talked about the importance of sustainable development. “Think about re-generation. We can create cities that give back to the planet, instead of taking from the planet. There’s a trend in many places to remove concrete beds of rivers and return them to their natural state, as you may have seen in LA or Seoul or Hong Kong or Beijing—where people are returning to what was there before. By using these technologies and these new ways of building, living, and using property, we can create a healthier environment for inhabitants.”
Additional speakers included: Gay Cororaton, senior economist and director of housing and commercial research, National Association of REALTORS®; Eugenia C. Foxworth, owner, Foxworth Realty and president, FIABCI-USA, the U.S. Chapter of the International Real Estate Federation; and Dean Foster, principal at Dean Foster Global Cultures.
For more information, please visit www.hgar.com.
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United® Real Estate announced it has recently been named a Top 100 technology company by banking group, D.A. Davidson. Its annual ”The Herd” highlights 100 of the top private technology companies in the United States. United Real Estate was one of only two real estate brokerages selected for inclusion; this year’s list reflects a diverse group of businesses across cloud, collaboration, fin-tech, human capital management, infrastructure, sales and marketing, security and vertical software.
According to D.A. Davidson, the Top 100 U.S. companies are from many industries and sectors and range from rising startups to late-stage funded giants who “stand out for their exciting innovation, growth and market positioning. Selection is based upon growth rate, market awareness, scale, capitalization and other proprietary analytics.”
This year’s class boasts a median and average post-money valuation of $2.8 billion and $4.8 billion, respectively.
“We are thrilled to be recognized by D.A. Davidson as a Top 100 technology company. Our technology-first strategy and the focused development of our proprietary technology platform has resulted in a highly scalable foundation for us to continue our explosive growth into the future. United’s proprietary Bullseye Cloud-Based Productivity Platform was designed around the unique needs of real estate agents. Our core focus is to have a tech-enabled business services model that provides the agent with a simple, unparalleled user experience from start to finish. We ensure the agent has powerful branding, SEO, mobile, leads, marketing, CRM and transaction support throughout the entire lifecycle,” said David Dickey, chief technology officer, in a statement.
To learn more about United Real Estate, please visit www.unitedrealestate.com.
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How William Raveis Real Estate Responds to Market Needs in Real Time
As one of the industry’s most iconic firms, William Raveis Real Estate’s (WRRE) origin story is a classic tale of entrepreneurial moxie. Started above a Fairfield, Connecticut, grocery store by Bill Raveis in 1974, the firm now comprises 136 offices in eight states, and is home to 4,300 sales associates. In RISMedia’s 2021 Power Broker Report, WRRE ranked No. 7, reporting more than $16 billion in sales volume in 2020.
Today, Bill and the next generation of the Raveis family—brothers and co-presidents Chris and Ryan—share leadership responsibility for increasing revenue and expanding WRRE’s footprint in the coming years and beyond. In this exclusive interview, the pair explains how operating as a family-run business provides the firm with two critical characteristics necessary for growth: cultural agility to turn on a dime to innovate; and consistent leadership with an unmatched level of pride, passion and strategic vision.
“No matter how much we evolve, this is not just a business for us—it’s a family,” says CEO and Chairman Bill Raveis. “At our core, family values drive every decision we make. From the very beginning, I said our agents are our customers, and 47 years later, we continue to provide the tools, technology and mentoring to empower their success.”
Here, Ryan and Chris Raveis share what’s enabled the company’s extensive growth over the years, along with how they’re helping agents and clients maximize value and experience outstanding customer service in any market.
Maria Patterson: William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance is the No. 1 family-owned real estate company in the Northeast, and your father views the entire firm as family. Please share a bit about how you and your brother came on board.
Ryan Raveis: Growing up, Chris and I saw all those yard signs and wondered why our name was in front of everyone’s homes!
We definitely had an affinity for the company and saw what Dad was doing and how hard he was working. But as we grew up, Chris and I wanted to spread our wings a bit, like most young, post-college graduates. I decided to pursue management consulting and Chris worked in commercial real estate. Then, in our late 20s, we were offered the opportunity to join the family business, but with a very clear understanding. Dad sat us down and told us there were two conditions: You have to grow the company; and you can never sell it.
MP: I take it you’re happy with your decision?
RR: I have worked in a large public company and so has Chris. While every industry has its excitement in some way, shape or form, there’s nothing I’d rather do than work with my Dad and brother and continue to drive our goals of a family-owned real estate, mortgage and insurance powerhouse.
MP: What are some of the biggest advantages of being a family firm?
RR: The biggest advantage is the consistency in leadership. This is a family business, and our name is on the door. We take our reputation, professionalism and the way we support our agents very seriously, to the point where being a family business is part of our identity. We plan on passing the company down to our children, so we want to leave it in a position where it’s thriving in each of its markets and each of its businesses. The only way we do that is by delivering superior service for our clients and agents.
MP: William Raveis Inc. is one of the only privately held firms to offer mortgage and insurance services under one roof. What role have these firms played in your growth over the years?
RR: I don’t look at our mortgage and insurance companies as businesses under the real estate umbrella. Each of those companies was purposefully built with the ability to stand on its own. Granted, they service our real estate clients, but they also partner with clients who used another real estate brokerage prior to doing business with the mortgage and insurance companies. We strategically built these companies to a substantial level to support the overall entity, and this helps when we’re looking to expand into new markets.
MP: Does having an established mortgage and insurance business play a more significant role in today’s real estate climate?
RR: I think it does. In today’s market, we see plenty of large private equity and public companies that are trying to find their way. They’re struggling to figure out how to make a profit, and it’s not that easy. We’ve been running William Raveis Mortgage and William Raveis Insurance since the ’80s, and both have well-established operations and excellent reputations.
MP: How would you describe market conditions in your regions?
Chris Raveis: If I’m a home seller, I’ve seen my value increase by 30% in all the markets we serve. If I’m a buyer, I’m looking for solutions to help me find a home in this market. Overall, the market has been excellent for real estate brokers and agents, and that will continue through the end of the year, particularly in Florida, where we just had some of the largest sales in our company history—$80 million and $50 million in Palm Beach and Naples, respectively. The luxury market has taken off in those areas.
MP: WRRE serves luxury buyers in many of your markets. What role does the luxury market play in the company’s success?
CR: The luxury market is essential to our identity. We’re recognized by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® as the globe’s top luxury broker. We serve some of the highest-end markets in the U.S.—Naples, Florida; Fairfield County, Connecticut; Nantucket—and we have many of the finest agents in the world serving those markets. Their local knowledge and real estate expertise enable them to best connect with affluent clients, which is a priority audience for us.
That said, we have a large audience base and serve other segments as well. Best practices honed by selling luxury properties are completely transferrable. We’ve fully embraced superior customer service at every point in the home-selling and -buying journeys, and consequently, invented new products and processes to support our agents. When we look at the level of service we strive to provide, we’re looking to emulate brands like The Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons.
MP: Tell us about some of the ways you’re supporting agents…
CR: Ryan, Bill, our senior management team and I are constantly in the field, constantly listening to agents. As a family business, we make decisions very quickly. Plus, we have the resources to compete with anybody.
Each branch has a full-time manager, and we have multiple layers of admin and marketing support for agents. We are the only company that provides personalized branding for our sales associates because we believe each one is an entrepreneur who cannot be fit into a single, specific mold. Every manager is extensively trained through our career development department to become a certified coach and mentor to our sales associates. And we also bring in world-renowned business coaches, like Tom Ferry and Mike Staver.
On the tech side, we’re well ahead of the market, particularly with automation. We have a completely automated listing launch platform, where in 30 seconds, an agent can get a listing launched, one that is personally branded with the agent’s name. Even better, we have integrated performance tracking, giving our agents and clients customized and immediate insights with real-time analytics.
MP: This year, you quickly rolled out products to help buyers and sellers navigate the unique challenges of the market. Tell us a bit about them.
RR: We truly walk the talk on exceptional customer service throughout the buying and selling journey. For the seller who has their home listed but can’t financially move or can’t get the equity out, we provide a bridge loan through William Raveis Mortgage.
Another option we offer is Raveis Purchase, where sellers benefit from the speed of getting out of their home and unlocking their equity to make a non-contingent offer on a new home. With this program, we buy the home from them and use Raveis Refresh to help prepare and stage the home with our certified network of designers and installation teams. And here’s the best part: When we sell the refreshed home at a higher price point on the open market, the client keeps the upside, which is different than any other model out there. We’ve moved a couple dozen customers in the 90 days since we launched this innovative offering (at press time), and the traction has been incredible. We have hundreds in the pipeline.
We also just launched the Raveis CashBid program where we buy the home from the seller—on behalf of the buyer—and take title to the home. Then we help those pre-approved buyers get a mortgage and repurchase the home from us. This creates opportunities for those buyers losing out on offers, as well as first-time homebuyers who can’t put down an all-cash bid. These are just a few examples of how we are empowering our agents to take care of their clients during a competitive market. We are always thinking outside the box and partnering for success. It’s all really exciting.
MP: Were programs like this borne out of the pandemic?
RR: 100%. When the pandemic hit, we knew that listing inventory was going to be slim, absorption rates would be fast, and that we needed to come up with solutions.
MP: It seems like only a company of your scope and size, with in-house mortgage services, could make programs like these work…
RR: Yes, it wouldn’t happen without the mortgage company. When the agent understands the 360-degree view of the consumer, it makes them a better agent.
We have the resources—the luxury, mortgage and insurance products—but being able to execute and help thousands of agents put those resources to use is another thing. With the breadth of our offerings and our investment in career development, our agents are better trained than anyone else in the industry.
MP: Do such programs represent the future of real estate, or are they temporary solutions to market conditions sparked by the pandemic?
RR: If a company’s business model is banking on programs that buy homes and resell them, that company will have a tough time in a downturn.
You have to be good at recognizing the tenor of the market and actively develop the right programs because each year has different needs. We constantly listen to our agents and innovate to serve their market needs. This was true in 1974, and it remains the same today.
MP: What other evolutions—to your company and to the market—do you foresee taking place in the next year or so?
CR: The market will remain challenging. The fourth quarter won’t be like last year, but it will be better than we thought at the beginning of the year. We are continuing to grow—having just expanded in Sarasota, Florida. Our footprint will encompass new areas in the Northeast and down the eastern seaboard as well.
MP: Finally, if you had to point to just a few keys to success that have been instrumental to the firm’s longevity and growth over the years, what would they be?
CR: You have to love the business; it has to be part of your soul. If you do, there’s a palpable energy that continually motivates you. And being a family business lends a lot to that—people are proud to associate themselves with real people as opposed to a large public or private equity firm. We thrive off each other and our larger business family. Our success is truly a collective team effort all around.
For more information, please visit www.raveis.com.
Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Depending on the size of your brokerage, you may or may not already have an internal learning platform for training new and experienced agents. Even if you do, that training may be through a national corporate site, so it may not address local training needs specific to your office.
A solution for local and franchise brokers is to provide a customized learning platform that is specifically branded and customized to your company. Through Sherri Johnson Academy, we have been offering this to brokers ranging in size from ten agents to a thousand agents to help them accomplish the following:
New Agent Training: The platform will include videos, tools and activities specifically designed to help new agents launch their careers and create an immediate sales pipeline.
Experienced Agent Training: Additional training courses are designed to drive growth for your current agents, from prospecting and sales systems to honing sales skills, adding staff and/or growing a team. All of this is accessible online or through a mobile application.
Broker/Office Specific Training: As the broker, you will have the ability to easily add videos or other training material to your platform that are specific to your office and/or market. For instance, by sharing videos about company history, management and company culture, new agents will consistently learn valuable information about your company outside of any formal in-person training that you provide.
Company-Wide Discussions: You can host Zoom webinars or meetings within your branded platform, and you can optionally enable “chat” functionality, with the ability for all company agents and managers to exchange ideas and materials (e.g., marketing ideas, email templates, etc.). This creates a shared-success dynamic, elevating sales activity and effectiveness across all your agents.
Additional Management Features and Training: Managers can assign courses and view agent progress in any assigned training materials, which is especially helpful with new agents. There are also multiple other useful features, as well as management training courses to drive recruiting, retention, culture and profitability.
Broker learning platforms are fully customizable and can be scaled based upon your needs. Also, as the platform is branded and exclusive to your company, it is extremely useful both in your recruiting efforts and as a tool for retention. Best of all, platforms are affordable for brokers of all sizes, and the return on investment is outstanding.
To set yourself apart from other brokers, drive more sales, and increase company loyalty and culture, consider adding a branded learning platform to your company or office. You and your team will benefit greatly from this incredible value-added feature, and you can learn more about how it can be implemented into your business by setting up a time to speak with us here.
Set up your FREE 30-minute strategy call to see how our broker and management consulting and coaching can increase your bottom line click here.
Sherri Johnson is CEO and founder of Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting. With 25 years of experience in real estate as an agent, broker, and executive, she has both sold home herself and increased annual sales by over $1 billion annually for the 750-agent region that she led. Sherri now offers coaching, consulting and keynote speaking services nationwide. She is a national speaker for the Homes.com Secrets of Top Selling Agents tour and is the Official Real Estate Coach for McKissock Learning and Real Estate Express. Sherri has also been named a RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker in 2020 and 2021 as an Industry Influencer and Thought Leader. Sign up for a free 30-minute coaching strategy session or visit www.sherrijohnson.com for more information.
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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices recently announced that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ann Prewitt GulfCoast Realty will now be operating as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Panoramic Properties with the leadership of seasoned real estate veteran, Jacqueline Ready, continuing to service the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hattiesburg and the surrounding cities.
Jacqueline Ready is a designated Military Relocation Professional as well as Certified Home Marketing Expert.
“Though the name Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Panoramic Properties is new to the real estate world, our broker and agents are not,” said Jacqueline Ready, president, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Panoramic Properties, in a statement. “Together as a team, we represent more than 70 years of real estate experience. Being part of a global brand provides an opportunity to be part of something larger than our immediate community, to reach clients worldwide.”
“We are delighted to have such an elite team part of our network,” said Christy Budnick, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, in a statement. “With remarkable leadership from Jacqueline and the support of our global leadership, they are connected to more than 50,000 real estate professionals around the globe, their legacy is just beginning.”
“Jacqueline Ready is the ideal person to lead this brokerage and team to success,” said Ann Prewitt, previous owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ann Prewitt GulfCoast Realty, in a statement. “With a team focused on building lifelong relationships with their clients, she will not only represent the Real Estate’s Forever Brand effortlessly but also develop sustainable careers for each member of the team.”
For more information, please visit www.bhhs.com.
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Corcoran Group, LLC recently announced its continued global expansion by adding its third Caribbean affiliate, and entrance into the Bahamas, with Corcoran CA Christie Bahamas.
“I am thrilled to continue such an exciting global trajectory into the Bahamas,” said Pamela Liebman, president and CEO of The Corcoran Group, in a statement. “Not only are we expanding our network in a stunning part of the world, but we’re welcoming a group of incredibly talented real estate professionals in yet another key second-home market, creating even more opportunity for all of our affiliated agents and clients.”
Corcoran CA Christie Bahamas is led by broker and CEO Charles Christie and operations lead, Gavin Christie. Located in the capital of Nassau, the firm serves a variety of areas in the Bahamas, including Albany, Old Fort Bay, Lyford Cay and Harbour Island. Currently representing 105 exclusive listings, the firm formerly known as CA Christie Real Estate was founded in 1973 and specializes in high-end home sales, property development, vacation and beachfront properties, and private islands. The firm also offers a full selection of rental properties, and in 2020, brokered one of the largest sales transactions ever recorded in Bahamian history, according to the company.
“Corcoran’s newest area code is in the Bahamas, and I couldn’t be happier that we’ve joined such a successful, established brand,” said Christie in a statement. “We have lofty goals to increase our agent productivity and expand our footprint in the Bahamas, and we cannot wait to get started on bringing our business and name to the next level.”
For more information, please visit www.corcoran.com.
This month’s National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Power Broker Roundtable provides a long-term outlook for the real estate industry and brokerages.
Cindy Ariosa, Senior Vice President, Regional Manager, Long & Foster Real Estate, Chantilly, Va., Liaison for Large Firms and Industry Relations, National Association of REALTORS®
James D’Amico, CEO and President, Century 21 North East, Danvers, Massachusetts
Joan Docktor, President, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach REALTORS®, Devon. Pennsylvania
Craig McClelland, Vice President, COO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers, Atlanta
Bess Freedman, CEO, Brown Harris Stevens Real Estate, New York
Cindy Ariosa: The last 18 months, despite, or because of, the impact of a global pandemic, have been overwhelmingly busy for REALTORS®. But while agents today are deservedly thriving, brokers, by and large, have been looking at shrinking margins, increased expenses, and shifts in the industry that call for attention and resourcefulness. Some of us are rethinking traditional business models, evaluating our ancillary services, even the space in which we work. Others are looking at expanding their outreach, exploring new ways to work, or finding avenues for more closely collaborating with agents. We welcome a panel today with diverse interests. Jim, what’s your business focus of late?
Jim D’Amico: Property management, for one thing. It’s relatively new for us, and it’s a labor-intensive effort—lots of budget meetings, HOA meetings, documentation. We’ve hired 24 people with industry experience to manage it. But it’s a natural channel for the real estate sector, and perhaps one of the most recession-proof. There’s been no shortage of challenge integrating it into our business, but it’s stabilizing and productive now, and we predict a bright future ahead.
Joan Docktor: Ancillary services continue to add value, and it’s certainly the wave of the future. We’ve actually doubled down on property management, which we’ve been doing for a while, but we’re also getting more into moving services. We see that as another natural channel for us, and one with respectable profit margins.
Craig McClelland: The focus for us has been agent support—specifically, developing ways to stream more business to them. Over the past three years, we’ve developed a concierge system for incubating leads, which is now responsible now for a third of our closings—and we’ve consolidated relocation, client services and new licensees in a Company General Business department that is growing exponentially.
Bess Freedman: The rental business is exploding for us now, as New Yorkers who fled the city during COVID are flocking back in droves. So, while sales remain the core of our revenue, some 70% of our current business is in rentals. Our agents are extraordinarily busy, and one of our core principles has always been that when you focus on your people, performance happens. So, our money, too, is on building rapport and relationships with our agents and providing them with the tools and marketing they need to do what they do better than anyone else in the business.
CA: For some time now, the money for brokers has been squarely in ancillary services. Has COVID changed the ways in which we reach out to consumers?
JD’A: Yes, I think so. Our call center, for example, is fully staffed and makes about 1,000 calls a month. It’s been a boon for cross-business—real estate, property management, and the like—and it works because COVID got so many people accustomed to doing business remotely.
CM: We’ve been in the iBuyer space since 2019, but we’re always on the lookout for new things to bring to the table that are acceptable and appreciated by consumers. Of late, we’re invested in offering expanded financing options. In today’s market, customers appreciate having money upfront to buy before they sell, for example, or renovate to increase the value of their home before they list it—and helping them do that ensures they do business with us.
CA: The pandemic had many brokers looking at changes to the physical space. Are we still reimagining that?
JD: We want to be sure our producers and top teams have all the space they need. But as leases have come up for renewal, we’ve done some strategic consolidation based on usage—maybe 20 to 30% overall. We’d rather spend some of that money that’s going for excess office space on cutting-edge tools and technology.
BF: Our agents love the office culture—and they’re so glad to be back. If anything, we’re looking for larger spaces these days.
CM: With sales up 50% year-over-year, we’ve not shut down any offices. In fact, we just opened three offices in Florida and we’re looking to expand our footprint.
JD’A: This is the time to look for opportunity, I think we’d all agree to that.
CA: Strategic thinking. Auxiliary business channels. It’s a time when creativity pays.
The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by NAR and Cindy Ariosa, NAR’s liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.
For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.
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Matthew Feldman has been named Chairman of the Board of Managers at Common Securitization Solutions (CSS) on an interim basis. The move will assist in a transition to “better align the corporate governance structure with its core mission of supporting the infrastructure for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities issuance,” according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
“I am honored to have been appointed by Acting Director Thompson as the chairman of the CSS Board of Managers,” said CSS Chairman Matthew Feldman in a statement. “I look forward to working with the board during this transition and am committed to ensuring CSS is focused on supporting the enterprises’ mortgage securitization activities in a safe and sound manner.”
In early 2020, FHFA looked to serve a broader market by expanding the role of CSS. But after a nearly two-year review period, FHFA stated that CSS should instead focus on “maintaining the resiliency” of Fannie and Freddie mortgage-backed securities platform, allowing CSS to focus “on the safety and soundness of the housing finance market and reduce unnecessary expenses as the enterprises rebuild capital.”
Anthony Renzi will remain as the chief executive officer of CSS and member of the Board, but several independent members that were hired as part of the expansion project have left the board.
“I am fully confident that Matt Feldman will be vigilant in overseeing this transition and in ensuring that CSS focuses first and foremost on supporting the securities platform and serving its owners, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” said Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson in a statement. “I am also pleased that Tony Renzi will remain as CEO given his strong leadership over CSS operations.”
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Technologies continue to evolve just as the real estate markets continuously shift. In order to adapt to new trends in the way we communicate and close transactions, real estate practitioners must be open to implementing new tech tools. But how are the newest platforms and resources being used? A new report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) “2021 Real Estate in a Digital Age,” sheds light on how the real estate industry is leveraging technology.
How are homes being found?
– While real estate agents remain at the core of transactions, 97% of all homebuyers used the internet throughout their home search
– There are generational differences in the devices being used, with younger millennials conducting 65% of their search on a mobile device while older baby boomers conducted 75% of their search on a desktop or laptop
– The silent generation is the most likely to have found their home first from a real estate agent, while the other generational groups most likely purchased the home they found online
What tools are today’s agents leveraging?
– 96% of REALTORS® use a smartphone daily, while 95% of REALTORS® use e-mail and 57% use social media apps every day
– 69% of NAR members have a website, and one that is typically five years old
– REALTORS® prefer to communicate with clients via text messaging (93%), followed by telephone (90%) and email (89%)
– REALTORS®’ top three tools are social media (52%), CRMs (31%) and MLS sites (28%)
– Members believe they will use eSignature the most in the next 12 months (73%), followed by social media (53%), and local MLS apps and technology (47%)
– The most desired tech tool not currently offered by brokerages is cyber security, followed by lead generation and eNotary
How do social platforms fit in?
– 90% of REALTORS® use Facebook, followed by 52% on Instagram and 48% on LinkedIn
– Almost three-fifths of brokerages have social media guidelines for agents, but only one-third apply to both personal and professional accounts
“We realize that technology is a part of our daily lives and plays a vital role in the ever-evolving real estate industry. There is a wealth of information related to tech tools and trends, so we created this report to combine much of our technology-related data in one place,” said NAR Research Analyst Matt Christopherson in a Q&A for the association. “We created a one-stop shop on an overview of tech use by REALTORS®, firms and homebuyers, as well as trends looking forward.”
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to email@example.com.
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Luxury Portfolio International® (LPI), the luxury marketing division of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, recently announced that it has added six new members to its acclaimed network of residential real estate firms.
The new brokerages span the globe, and include:
– Bonne Apart (Dubai)
– Cervera Real Estate (Miami)
– Charter One Realty (North Carolina)
– Colliers (Dublin)
– FGP | Swiss Alps (Switzerland)
– Vanguard Properties (San Francisco).
While these brokerages are based in the U.S., their services emphasize LPI’s global approach, with clients worldwide.
Bonne Apart and Colliers are now the first brokerages in the LPI network based in Dubai and Ireland, respectively.
“Luxury Portfolio International takes pride in its global approach to premium, luxury real estate,” said Mickey Alam Khan, president of LPI, in a statement. “Adding these new partners allows us to further the reach of all our members, providing opportunities in regions and even countries in which we did not previously have a presence. We are pleased to engage with these new companies, sharing our expertise and affording them access to the plethora of resources we have to offer.”
For more information, please visit www.luxuryportfolio.com.