Re/Max CEO: Change with the real estate market

Executive profiles: Dave Liniger and Margaret Kelly

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LAS VEGAS — Re/Max founder and Chairman Dave Liniger first got his real estate license back in 1968 because he wanted to save on commissions. He’d been buying and selling fixer-uppers for two years as a supplement to his income from the U.S. Air Force.

Five years later, at 27, he decided to start his own real estate company, Re/Max Inc. — a name derived from "real estate" and "maximums." His first employee was his future wife, Gail Main.

"I had worked for three different companies and felt I had a better idea," Liniger said. "At the time, virtually all real estate companies split their commissions with their agents, usually 50-50. We decided we could run the company as a co-op where we could share expenses but agents could keep the bulk of the money for themselves."

He founded the company at a time when other national real estate companies were popping up: Red Carpet in 1966, Century 21 in 1971, ERA Real Estate in 1972. Liniger felt what differentiated Re/Max, and continues to do so today, was the quality of the sales associates.