Real estate franchise giant RE/MAX is getting ready to roll out its proprietary end-to-end real estate technology platform for agents later this year, competing directly with similar offerings from rival franchise Keller Williams and rival private brokerage Compass. But RE/MAX’s leader says he aims to make his tech platform superior to those of rivals.
The company at this time last year announced the acquisition of real estate tech startup booj, a Colorado company located just down the street from RE/MAX world headquarters in Denver that develops end-to-end real estate technology, including agent and brokerage websites, apps and lead generation systems.
Booj, co-founded by John Sable and Ido Zucker, is currently building RE/MAX’s forthcoming tech platform, which will include a customer relationship management tool (CRM), agent websites, a customizable marketing center, listing management,
“After an exhaustive, but vital process of collecting insight and feedback from our membership, we’re positioned to start rolling out a full ecosystem of RE/MAX technology this year,” RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos said on his company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Friday morning. “Our data-driven tech platform will enable agents and teams to launch customize marketing platforms, nurture relationships, manage leads and more.”
Agent count has essentially been static for RE/MAX in the United States and Canada over the past year. The franchisor actually lost 40 agents in the United States last year, due in part to what it says is an intensely competitive industry.
It’s too early to see the impact that the platform will have on agent count and recruiting, but anecdotally, Karri Callahan, RE/MAX’s chief financial officer said the coming platform is already being used positively as a recruiting tool.
“Over the long term, it can be an accelerant in terms of where agent count goes in the future,” Callahan said.
Contos said, on the call, the platform will help agents be more productive.
“Agents are sick and tired of logging into 10-12 different platforms to do their business,” Contos said. “What generates business is time with customer and time providing value.”
“When agents are so busy involving themselves in their technology, that takes them away from doing their business,” Contos added. “We’re giving them more time.”
The platform is currently in the alpha testing phase and will soon begin beta testing, with plans for a staggered rollout throughout the year.
“The key for us is to be the best to market – not the first to market,” Contos said. “We are being diligent and thorough in our execution.”
Contos’ remarks stand in stark contrast to those of Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller, who announced the debut of Keller Williams’ CRM at Keller Williams Family Reunion last weekend, with his usual bombast, saying competitors were already playing for “second place.” Keller and President Josh Team also previewed their forthcoming Keller Williams consumer app, a platform that aims to rival Zillow and Redfin as a consumer destination for conducting online home listings searches.
“The race was to build a platform,” Keller said at the time. “The race was to get to the platform and beginning to offer unique experiences that ultimately become customized to the point where it can’t be duplicated. Once you get there, everyone else is playing for second place.”
Compass meanwhile has greatly doubled down on its tech investment, opening a new tech hub in Seattle and hiring a new chief technology officer from Microsoft. The company currently has its own proprietary CRM, marketing center, agent feedback tools and continues to develop new tech, though CEO Robert Reffkin said in a letter to employees last year that the company would attempt to slow its pace of technology releases and better test them to ensure they would work well for its agents.