Inman News has compiled a list of the 100 most influential people in real estate, reflecting the industry’s best and brightest, as well as outside figures whose actions influence the home buying and selling business. The following 30 people were chosen for the real estate brokerage category.
CEO, Prudential Douglas Elliman
Starting as a financial planner and part-time sales broker, Dorothy “Dottie” Herman today owns and directs a real estate empire that last year generated $200 million in revenues, and $6.5 billion in sales volume. With more than 56 offices stretching from Manhattan to Montauk, Prudential Douglas Elliman is recognized as one of the fastest growing full service residential real estate companies in the United States.
For a full profile of Herman, click here.
Founder, chairman, Keller Williams International Realty
Gary Keller and partner Joe Williams founded Keller Williams in 1983 and the company today has more than 47,000 agents, with an average annual agent growth of 52 percent. Keller was a driving force behind the company’s innovative profit-sharing model, which allows any Keller Williams associate, affiliate broker or employee to participate in company profits they help generate without assuming any financial risks.
President and CEO, Cendant Real Estate Franchise Group
Appointed CEO in 2004, Perriello now oversees Cendant’s massive residential real estate empire including the Century 21, Coldwell Banker and ERA brands. Watch this guy closely as the brands continue to spread and Cendant now enters the online lead generation game with its recent purchase of Lead Router.
Founder, chairman, The Corcoran Group
The self-proclaimed Queen of New York Real Estate is one of the smartest brokers in the country. Corcoran’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude has taken her to the top, where she enjoys the reputation of being the most sought after broker in New York City. In her national bestseller, “Use What You’ve Got and Other Business Lessons I Learned From My Mom,” she attributes her success to her mom’s kitchen table wisdom.
Harley Rouda, Jr.
CEO, Real Living
Harley Rouda, Jr., is CEO and managing partner of Real Living, one of the largest residential real estate firms in the Midwest and in the nation. He also is CEO and general counsel of HER Real Living, the firm’s Columbus operations. Rouda spearheaded the creation of Real Living in February 2002, when HER Realtors of Greater Columbus, Huff Realty of Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and Realty One of Northern Ohio united under one banner.
For a full profile of Rouda, click here.
Co-founder, chairman, RE/MAX International
Dave Liniger, the adventurous co-founder of RE/MAX, is always on the move, and he doesn’t expect the real estate industry to sit still, either.Liniger and his wife, Gail, founded RE/MAX in 1973. It has since ballooned into one of the most dominant brands in the business. Liniger was an early proponent of maximizing agent commissions, implementing the 100 percent commission plan for agents within the RE/MAX network. Though the commission plan has since changed to a 95/5 split, what hasn’t changed is that Liniger continues to be a leader in the industry.
Founder, CEO, Expert Realty
Glenn Cohen is best known for pioneering the 2 percent commission model in the New York and New Jersey housing markets through a company founded as YHD Realty that today is known as Foxtons. Cohen sold his interest in Foxtons in 2004 and this year launched Expert Realty in South Florida, offering commission costs that range from 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent for home sellers who list with the company.
Eric Danziger’s vision of the future is simple: “Change is inevitable; progress is optional.” The chief executive of ZipRealty has roots in the hotel industry where he managed an impressive list of real estate investment deals that helped to grow the hospitality companies he worked for. Danziger takes the consumer-centric business model very seriously and is determined to keep the consumer at the center of the real estate transaction by leading ZipRealty to growth.
Chairman, Realty Executives
Realty Executives is one of the largest real estate franchise companies in the nation. The company’s founder R. Dale Rector is credited as the inventor of the 100 percentcommission concept in real estate brokerage, which later paved the way for brokerage giant RE/MAX – an early adopter of the 100 percent commission model. As chairman of Realty Executives, Richard Rector holds the company’s reins, overseeing nearly 800 franchises in eight countries around the globe.
President, Prudential Real Estate Affiliates
Earl Lee oversees the development, strategy and vision of a real estate network of more than 1,800 offices and 58,000 sales professionals. Under Lee’s leadership, Prudential became the first major real estate franchise to launch an aggressive strategy to capture Internet consumers. Industry observers say that Lee is personally driving this new vision with support from Prudential executives who see the power of the Internet for a real estate franchise. Plus it could differentiate the New Jersey insurance giant from the franchise pack.
For a full profile of Lee, click here.
President, CEO, Century 21 Real Estate Corp.
As the new president and CEO for Century 21 Real Estate Corp., Thomas Kunz will oversee one of the most recognized and rooted brands in the business. The real estate sales organization has more than 118,000 brokers and agents worldwide.
President, Prudential California Realty
Overseeing thousands of real agents that work in some of the hottest real estate markets in the nation is no easy task. But Ed Krafchow still finds time to ensure Prudential California Realty agents have access to the most cutting-edge technologies on the market. Krafchow is a pioneer in online real estate, from eHomeSale and Listing Watch to the company’s proprietary WebTop system. Krafchow, along with Prudential California Chairman Dave Cobo, has lead the company to unparalleled growth, quadrupling assets since taking over in 1991.
CEO, Prudential Fox & Roach
Larry Flick, the majority stockholder of Prudential Fox & Roach, heads up a company that has more than 60 sales locations and 3,200 associates. Through its affiliate, the Trident Group, the company provides one-stop shopping and facilitated services to its clients including mortgage financing and title, property and casualty insurance. Prudential Fox & Roach is one of the largest independently owned and operated brokerage companies in the nation.
CEO, Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy
In the rough-and-tumble world of Manhattan real estate, David Michonski figured there was a place in real-estate world for someone who was “nice and honest.” Since he linked up with Manhattan agents William Hunt and JoAnne Kennedy in 1996, they’ve gone from 26 agents to 300 and reached $1 billion in sales, giving them a good-sized slice of Big Apple real estate.
For a full profile of Michonski, click here.
President, CEO, NRT
Bruce Zipf took over as chief executive of Cendant subsidiary NRT in March 2005, and now oversees one of the largest residential real estate brokerage companies in the United States. NRT has nearly 1,000 offices and 59,000 sales associates, and Zipf’s job is to lead strategic direction of the organization, including the company’s finance, acquisitions, marketing, legal and human resource functions.
Chairman, CEO, Cendant Real Estate Division
Under Richard Smith’s leadership, the Cendant Real Estate Services Division has grown to approximately 20,000 employees. Smith played a leading role in the creation of five new companies during his tenure. He was responsible for the consolidation of three of the relocation industry’s largest players into a single new entity, Cendant Mobility, in 1997-98. In late 1997, he was instrumental in the creation of NRT Incorporated, a joint venture between Cendant and Apollo Management LP, which was acquired by Cendant in April 2002. In addition, Smith was responsible for Cendant Mortgage from 1998 to January 2005, when the company was spun off to become PHH Corp.
CEO, The Corcoran Group
Since 2000, Pamela Liebman has been president and CEO of The Corcoran Group, one of New York City’s top residential real estate empires. Liebman oversees the day-to-day operations of the company, gives direction to Corcoran’s 55 managers and 2,100 employees, and focuses the projects of a corporation that has sales of more than $8 billion annually.
For a full profile of Liebman, click here.
CEO, Prudential California Realty
David Cobo is a 30-year veteran of the real estate industry and has been instrumental in leading Prudential California Realty’s growth to more than 140 offices and $15 billion in annual sales volume for 2004. Cobo has expanded the company to offer a “one-stop-shop” for real estate transactions with its family of services.
Chairman, CEO, Cendant
Henry Silverman is head honcho at Cendant Corp., which employs about 85,000 people and operates in more than 100 countries. Prior to the formation of Cendant in 1998, Silverman was chairman, president and CEO of HFS (Cendant’s predecessor), which he founded in 1990. More than 20 years later, the company has changed names and grown to become a global giant, providing consumer and business services within the travel and residential real estate sectors.
CEO, HomeServices of America
Announcing that Minneapolis-based HomeServices acquired another company is somewhat akin to announcing that the sun rose in the East this morning. After graduate school in 1977, CEO Peltier earned a real estate sales license and went to work for Edina Realty, the base company behind HomeServices, though technically a subsidiary. Within three years he was appointed regional manager. In 1999 Peltier became Edina president and CEO. Despite his mild manner, he has propelled his company through a jaw-dropping number of acquisitions over the years. HomeServices operates in 18 states under a number of brand names including Carol Jones Realtors, CBSHome Real Estate and Champion Realty.
Chief Operating Officer, Prudential CA/NV/TX Realty
Longtime real estate industry mover and shaker Sherry Chris moved to Prudential California in July, assuming the role of COO. Chris previously served as president of Real Living, a large real estate brokerage company, managing expansion of the company. Chris is actively involved in leadership roles throughout the real estate industry. She is currently chairman of the board of the Realty Alliance, serves on a number of industry and non-industry boards and speaks frequently at industry events.
President, Baird & Warner
Despite 150-year-old Baird & Warner’s status as one of the country’s oldest real estate companies, it’s known for innovations such as a snappy Web site and a cutting-edge online lead generation system. Many of these innovations originated with Stephen Baird, the company’s president. Chicago-based, 2,200-employee Baird & Warner put up a Web site in 1996, and the privately held company has continued to pioneer in the online space ever since.
J. Lennox Scott
Chairman & CEO, John L. Scott Real Estate
J. Lennox Scott, the third-generation Scott family chief of John L. Scott Real Estate in the Pacific Northwest, heads up a firm with 128 offices and more than 4,000 sales associates in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. In 2004, John L. Scott Real Estate closed more than 56,000 transactions, grossing over 13 billion dollars in volume sales. Scott, who began his real estate career in 1976, helped guide his company to its phenomenal success and has a 25-year history of affiliation with the National Association of Realtors, serving on its Executive Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and in other capacities.
Chairman, director and shareholder, Intero Real Estate Services
Moles, the former president and CEO of Cendant Corp.’s Real Estate Franchise Group, joined Intero in April 2004 as chairman, director and shareholder. The independently owned and locally operated company has offices throughout California’s Silicon Valley and East Bay areas. The upstart real estate brokerage grew from one office with 40 salespeople when it opened its doors in October 2002 to 14 offices with more than 800 salespeople in April 2004. “As a lifelong student of real estate, I’m impressed by Intero’s unprecedented growth and I look forward to helping guide Intero to even greater accomplishments,” Moles said when he came on board in April.
President, Help-U-Sell Real Estate
Help-U-Sell Real Estate’s fee-for-service model allows sellers to select and pay for only the services they want, making it the middle ground between the “for sale by owner” approach and traditional brokers. Help-U-Sell grew its franchise network by 40 percent in 2004, ending the year with 700 offices nationwide, up from 500 at the beginning of the year. “As consumer-driven alternative models become more user-friendly and the real estate industry becomes more accepting of the idea, the industry will have to change,” O’Neil, the company’s president, has said.
For a full profile of Rick O’Neil, click here.
Mary LaMeres-Pomin and Lyle Martin
Co-owners of Assist-2-Sell
One of the oldest discount models, Reno, Nev.-based Assist-2-Sell was founded in 1987. This July, the company announced it had added 73 owner-operated franchises during the first half of the year, a record 17.2 percent increase for a six-month period. The company, which now has 497 total franchises in its network, offers full brokerage services for a low flat fee. Co-owners Mary LaMeres-Pomin and Lyle Martin recently jointly said, “More than ever, home sellers like the fact we offer all the primary services of traditional real estate companies.”
CEO and president, Home Discovery
Home Discovery is a discounted commission company making waves on the local front. The company now operates in 12 counties in Florida, with a brokerage model with 2 percent and 4 percent total commission plans, and has become a top player in the Tampa-area market. Johnston believes commissions will continue to come down in coming years due to pressure from low-commission alternatives like his company and national players. “More models like ours are popping up around the country,” he said. “When more of these models come on the scene, it validates our business. I believe in the next five years this will be the way of real estate.”
Founder, president, CEO, Chase International
Shari Chase’s motto is to live simple, think big and make a difference. Chase founded Chase International more than 19 years ago, and the company has since become a well-known brand for luxury real estate. Her vision and reputation as a trendsetter influences the way luxury properties are marketed today. As CEO and president of Chase International, Chase’s leadership has attracted some of the finest professionals in the business, and a clientele second to none. The company covers all of Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada and recently opened a new office in Reno, Nev. Chase has five offices in two states, and has an international office in London.
President and CEO, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates
Cendant entered the booming luxury market in 2004 when it purchased the licensing rights to the Sotheby’s real estate brand, acquired the Sotheby’s real estate brokerage operations and announced plans to launch a Sotheby’s real estate franchise. Michael Good heads the Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, which services and develops the Sotheby’s franchise system under Cendant. Good is charged with keeping the Sotheby’s network as the quintessential luxury residential real estate brokerage.
Founder, president and CEO, Michael Saunders & Co.
Michael Saunders founded Michael Saunders & Co. more than 25 years ago with the idea of specializing in marketing fine waterfront properties. The company today ranks among the top 100 independent brokers in the nation by sales volume, is among the top 10 real estate companies in Florida, and is one of the top 500 woman-owned companies in the nation. Saunders also is chairman of RELO, a national network of independent residential real estate firms focusing on relocation.
What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to firstname.lastname@example.org.