In 1995 Javier Sierra introduced in Spain the RE / MAX’s revolutionary business model, the North American real estate company that by then was already triumphing in the United States and Canada. A concept in which the real estate broker works to create the appropriate professional environment in which its agents can develop their own business and grow. After 25 years in our country, RE / MAX consolidates its growth with 150 franchises and 2,200 real estate agents. Last year the total value of real estate (both sale and rent) exceeded 909 million euros.
How has the expansion of RE / MAX been in Spain?
The first years were difficult. It was something revolutionary in Spain and some even thought it was not legal or did not understand anything. The RE / MAX working model was groundbreaking. The most important difficulties or challenges that we had to face had to do, above all, with the great differences existing, at that time, between the way the real estate market worked in Spain versus how it worked in North America, where it was originally and it came from RE / MAX. The business model that it developed did so in a market with a level of professionalization that was many years ahead of ours. Real estate agents only worked with exclusive properties and were self-employed entrepreneurs, owning their own business.
Regarding our evolution, until 2007 we were opening offices, but then the great economic crisis of 2007 arrived and from 130 offices we had 50. But we resisted and came out strengthened; now we exceed 150 offices. All of this was possible thanks to RE / MAX’s own business model, the synergy by which a good salesperson and a good broker, working together, can go further as a team than each would have ever gone on their own. We are the only international real estate franchise that has been in Spain for more than 25 years and that has overcome all the important crises that we have suffered in the last quarter of a century.
Why is it a safe value even in times of crisis like the one we live in?
On the one hand, because of the sector we are dedicated to, which even in the midst of a great crisis did not stop. If you are good, you will do well in the most difficult moments. And on the other hand, it is a franchise model where the workers are self-employed so the fixed costs of the broker are small. And we cannot forget the strength of the brand, the most important in the world in the number of home sales. The RE / MAX brand is always present in people who seek to make one of the most important decisions of their lives, the purchase and sale of a property; and also in those who plan to undertake in the real estate brokerage sector. All this makes it a safe value.
How is it different from other real estate franchises?
We focus on the development of people. The agents themselves develop their own team, they are entrepreneurs. We are a company of entrepreneurs. We have large offices that try to have the best real estate agents. We have the figure of the broker, who is the owner of the agency or franchisee. His job is not to sell houses but to create a real estate industry. We could therefore say that the big difference is that RE / MAX focuses on the agents and not on the properties and has the ultimate goal of becoming the best choice for them. Everything revolves around the figure of the “agent”. This was the original idea of its founder: to create a company designed to “attract and retain the best producers in the sector”.
Do you bet on continuous training for the real estate agent? What kind of training do you offer them and what supports do they have?
I’ve spent years listening to the founder of RE / MAX saying that we should invest in training and technology. The job of a broker is to create a suitable environment. Thus, we have experienced strong impulse and development in recent years in the technological field. We have an IT department focused on the innovation of the tools that we use in our day-to-day life to shape the projects that must serve our agents. And of course, we cannot forget our training institution, the RE / MAX School, where we offer training at all levels in order to meet the needs that the market itself demands from our agents and brokers. There is a training offer for people who lack experience in the sector and for the more experienced. At the moment, all our offer is obviously online, and has been reinforced throughout the period of confinement.
What profile should the real estate broker have?
Many start from scratch but it is not a business for everyone. Those who have a more entrepreneurial character fit in. RE / MAX is above all for people with a company vision beyond the creation of a small self-employment business and who see in this sector the possibility of recruiting and leading large teams of agents that allow them to achieve results well above those from a small traditional agency. To do this, they must possess a good level of social and communication skills or the attitude and capacities to develop them. If you have experience in the sector better, but it is not essential. It is important to know how to manage people and have leadership skills. Creating a team and providing service is essential. We define ourselves as a service company for real estate professionals.
Is the sector more professionalized in Spain?
Yes much more. It is not as good as in the US but it has improved a lot and I think we have contributed to it. At RE / MAX we want to grow the network but also improve the real estate sector in Spain, betting, among other aspects, on exclusive recruitment and on interprofessional collaboration and shared operations.