CEO Adam Contos touts new agent-centric digital suite built by booj, Re/Max’s red-hot Denver startup acquisition, as part of a plan to “deliver substantial value to consumers and allow Re/Max agents to connect with homebuyers and sellers in a more meaningful way.” 

As the battle for the best real estate agent tech platform heats up, the giant franchisor Re/Max is getting serious.

In Re/Max’s second quarter earnings call this morning, CEO Adam Contos formally announced that his company is developing “an online platform that will deliver substantial value to consumers and allow Re/Max agents to connect with homebuyers and sellers in a more meaningful way.” 

The new Re/Max agent tech platform will be built by booj — which stands for “be original or be jealous” — a fellow Denver-based startup that Re/Max acquired in February 2018. 

RealScout interview of Re/Max CEO Adam Contos

Re/Max CEO Adam Contos | Credit: RealScout

“Leveraging booj’s existing technology stack, we’re building an integrated platform with products that interact and evolve with one another,” Contos said in the call.

“Included will be a CRM [customer relationship management software], integrated with agent office and team websites, lead cultivation tools, marketing resources, social integration and more – all built with today’s increasingly mobile agent in mind.”

Booj already offers a technology platform that includes websites, mobile apps, predictive analytics and lead generation systems for the real estate industry — including many customers outside of Re/Max.

Acquiring booj signaled a shift in focus at Re/Max, away from using outside vendors and third-party technology to building its own in-house, proprietary solutions — similar to the paths being pursued now by rival national brokerages Keller Williams and Compass.

“We purchased booj in order to help develop, a best-in-class technology platform that creates an online advantage for Re/Max agents and teams and their clients,” Contos said. 

Contos confirmed that Re/Max’s ambitious new tech platform is being built right now with input from its affiliates and agents, who are constantly providing feedback for ongoing refinement.

“Development work – fueled by input from Re/Max affiliates – is already underway on what will become a full ecosystem of products on a single platform,” said Contos. “Everything is being designed to help Re/Max brokerages, agents and teams grow their businesses, connect with clients and operate more efficiently and strategically.”

Re/Max – with its 85,861 agents in the U.S. and Canada – could not be entering this battleground soon enough, with established and upstart rivals already well on their way with their own agent-focused, in-house tech platforms.   

Compass, for example, has a collection of slick software used by its growing numbers of agents that it feels confident enough to license out to other real estate brokerages — though it recently stumbled straight out of the gate on this plan, abruptly announcing then dropping its first customer, Massachusetts-based independent brokerage Leading Edge (itself a former Re/Max franchise), reportedly because Compass agents balked at market rivals getting to use their fancy tools.

Still, Compass says it has 30-plus other brokerages around the country interested in its technology platform, which, similar to what Re/Max is touting, creates one central location for agents to manage their day-to-day tasks.

From the Compass platform, Compass’ agents can access its search tool and listings database to develop real-time reports for clients. The platform contains a marketing center and digital design studio to create custom marketing campaigns, an insights tool bursting with data and traffic and a collections tool where agents can centralize client discussions and market observations.

Keller Williams, Re/Max’s chief rival for sales volume (in terms of dollars), also shifted its focus to building in-house technology. In a speech earlier this year, Keller Williams co-founder Gary Keller debuted an artificial intelligence-based virtual assistant and referrals platform.

In the same presentation, Keller declared, “We are a technology company. No. 1 that means we build the technology. No. 2 that means we hire the technologists …. We are not a real estate company anymore.”

Keller Williams’ “Kelle” app, is a voice-assisted digital personal assistant that helps the company’s agents – there were 159,792 in the United States alone, the company last reported in May – look up leads, track goals and connect with others in the Keller Williams network.

Can booj can help build Re/Max its own high-tech product suite that is as good or better than these big competitors? And can it do so quickly enough to make sure that Re/Max agents and franchises aren’t tempted by the shiny, fancy tools of rivals? We’re about to find out.

Email Patrick Kearns

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