RE/MAX announced Thursday multiple company initiatives to help affiliated brokerages and agents navigate through the industry-wide and global market slowdown due to COVID-19 (coronavirus).
The initiatives include financial support for agents — in the form of a deferral of certain fees — as well as discounted productivity tools and enhanced training tools to be rolled out soon.
“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of our agents, franchisees, employees, home buyers and sellers and the communities in which they live,” Adam Contos, RE/MAX Holdings CEO, said in a statement. “While circumstances related to COVID-19 vary by location and are evolving quickly, we remain committed to providing best-in-class solutions to assist our affiliates at a time when they need to pivot and adjust quickly to the challenging environment.”
“We are actively monitoring the situation and evaluating the best way to support our affiliates and their businesses during this time.”
In an email to broker-owners, Nick Bailey, RE/MAX’s chief customer officer, explained the company is allowing brokers to defer continuing franchise fees and advertising fees for the month of April, in company-owned regions.
“As your business partner, we want to lighten your immediate load during these unprecedented times,” Bailey said. “Later, as transaction activity resumes, as we believe it will, the amount deferred will be repaid – with no interest – through an increase in Broker Fee from 1 percent to 2 percent on transactions that occur in your offices until the deferred amount is repaid.”
In a separate note to agents, Bailey outlined specific benefits to agents, including a free, three-month subscription to First, the AI-powered lead nurturing app the company acquired earlier this year. The company is also giving agents a series of free RE/MAX University webinars, Facebook Live presentations, coaching sessions and discounts on products.
“With listings potentially delayed a bit by current circumstances, the First app becomes an even more powerful tool to identify people in your sphere most likely to need a real estate expert like you in the near future,” Bailey said. “Those who have already signed up for First will receive an equivalent refund for three-months of access.”
As a result of the announced support initiatives and uncertainty to the global market — especially consumer behavior — RE/MAX is withdrawing the first-quarter and full-year 2020 guidance it issued last month. The company did say, in a statement, that it’s a 100 percent franchise business model, and revenue streams derived from dues and fees will provide the company financial flexibility.
RE/MAX had previously said it expected agent count to increase 4-5 percent and revenue in the range of $68 to $71 million for the first quarter of 2020. For the full year, the company previously said it expected agent count to increase 3-5 percent year-over-year and revenue in the range of $285.5 to $289.5 million.
“We have over 45 years of experience operating through many business cycles driven by the strength and geographic breadth of our professional and entrepreneurial networks,” Contos said. “Now is the time help our brokers and agents so they can continue helping their communities, and we will do that through kindness, caring and empathy until this storm too has passed.”