RE/MAX agents attending the company’s annual R4 convention got a special bonus Tuesday. They will be the first agents affiliated with the company given access to the company’s new AI-powered lead tool, which gives agents insight into when their current client base is more likely to transact.
The app, called First, which RE/MAX acquired in December 2019, crunches consumer data and maintains a client base, while using machine learning technology to give each consumer in an agent’s contact list a star rating between one and three stars, based on how likely they are to move.
“Fundamentally, what is this business based on?” RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos asked the crowd of roughly 7,000 agents at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. “It’s based on repeat and referral business.”
“When you get 2,000 to 3,000 people in your contact list — and I know some of you have way more than that — it’s hard to know who to call,” Contos added. “It’s like roulette, you close your eyes, spin it and pick one. But really, there’s a better way and that’s with AI.”
Contos said that RE/MAX was so impressed with First, that they decided to acquire it so they can offer it at a “deep discount,” rather than encourage their agents to pay the $150 a month subscription. RE/MAX agents can get a yearly subscription to the app for $465 annually, or a quarterly plan at $175 per quarter.
“This is the way to solidify your business,” Contos said. “What are we missing right now in the business? Listings. This is how you get listings.”
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed in the company’s year-end earnings, but it was funded with cash on hand.
“We wanted our people to have this, we didn’t want anybody else to have it, so we bought the company,” Contos said, before adding that there’s still a few legacy clients left, but they will be gone after their contracts expire.
The app was made available Tuesday to the U.S.-based agents attending the conference. All U.S. agents affiliated with RE/MAX will be able to sign up for the app on March 16. The company is currently exploring taking it global, but needs to make sure privacy laws allow its launch in each country RE/MAX operates.
Speaking broadly about RE/MAX’s deep investment in technology over the past two years, Contos said he views everything RE/MAX is doing in that realm — the acquisitions of booj and First, the launch of a customer relationship management tool, revamped website and app — as a way to strengthen links in the customer value chain.
“[The customer value chain] is the journey the customer goes through with you,” Contos said. “When one of those links gets rusty or broken, that’s where disruption happens. People come in and replace that link.”
“Our goal — and we’re pushing harder and faster in this direction than any other company out there — is to build amazing technology for the very best agents,” Contos added.
At the conference, Contos also briefly gave agents insight into changes coming to the company’s proprietary education platform, RE/MAX University. Those changes include, a partnership offering classes from renowned real estate coach Brian Buffini, a coaches corner where top RE/MAX leaders offer classes, a section called “watch corner,” that’s populated with short pieces of coaching content, a new commercial real estate focused learning track and more languages.
Contos also addressed last year’s investigation by a team of Newsday reporters into multiple instances of racial bias by a multitude of agents on Long Island in New York. He urged every agent to take Fair Housing training to heart and recognize unconscious bias.
“Sometimes we get focused on the business and not on the people,” Contos said, “not focused on equality and treating people right. People get heads down and they get an unconscious bias and don’t quite realize equality and Fair Housing.”
“Remember that the person that you’re talking to is unique but we have to treat everybody equally and everybody fairly,” Contos said.
UPDATE: Story updated with pricing for details for First app.