An Unstoppable Synergy: RE/MAX Gold and RE/MAX Olson

Dec 15, 2018 by

James O’Bryon, President, RE/MAX Gold, and Keith Myers, President, RE/MAX Olson & Associates

Brokerages Join Forces for Agents and Consumers in California

Founded in 1994 with just two offices and 40 agents, James O’Bryon, president of RE/MAX Gold, along with his partners and leadership group, grew the firm into the market leader in Northern California. Now, he’s aligned with longtime colleague Keith Myers, broker/owner and president of RE/MAX Olson & Associates in Southern California, to bring their shared vision of success via service to a total of 21 counties throughout the state.

In this exclusive interview, O’Bryon and Myers, along with RE/MAX Gold Executive Vice President of Sales Keith Ard, discuss how their strategies and synergies will further expand the firms’ presence and position in the many markets they serve.

Maria Patterson: Please start us off with a little background about your respective firms, and bring us up to speed on your current alliance.
James O’Bryon: I’ve been with the RE/MAX brand for 25 years. Our objective has been to build incredible service for agents, along with incredible scale, since the inception of RE/MAX Gold, and that’s worked out well for us. We became the No. 1 RE/MAX in number of agents in California by a significant margin, and California’s No. 1 RE/MAX in sales by a huge margin. In 2017, we had 13,267 transactions and were the No. 1 company in the state of California in transactions, per RISMedia’s 2018 Power Broker Report.

When I met Keith Myers 18 years ago, it occurred to me that it could benefit us if we worked together. One of the things that really impressed me about him was his leadership. He always had innovative ideas, so we looked for all the areas where we could provide synergies and better support and service to the agent population, and we took the step of partnering in July of this year.

Keith Myers: I own RE/MAX Olson in Southern California, with six offices and 208 agents. My previous partner Todd Olson started my company in 1987 and I became a partner in ’96. I converted to RE/MAX in 2000, which is when I met James at a regional event in San Francisco. My former partner retired in 2015 and I bought him out, so James and I have been talking over the past few years about forming a relationship. I wanted to replicate RE/MAX Gold’s expansion and work together to grow the total footprint. We have an alliance but run the brokerages separately.

RE/MAX Gold Executive Leadership Team (L to R): Stephenie Flood, VP of Operations; Anthony James, VP of Professional Development; Keith Ard, EVP of Sales; O’Bryon; Myers; Patrick Mackin, Senior Consultant; Beverly Kendall, Broker of Record; Don McDonald, Market VP; and Vern Hansen, VP of Risk Management

MP: What most attracted you to aligning with RE/MAX Gold?
KM: Growth has always been in James’ DNA. The Gold Nation up there probably got hit harder than anybody during the Great Recession, and it bounced off the bottom and blew past everyone to achieve the largest productive agent count, and better productivity by every measure of success. James has always wanted to grow this large machine and scale it—not just for the sake of being large, but to attract like-minded individuals and do what they do best. That’s what attracted me: a phenomenal system and a phenomenal management style. I decided it was much better to join forces than try to replicate that on my own.

MP: So, what is your total office and agent count with the combined firms?
JOB: We have a total of 67 offices, of which 39 are branch offices and 28 are satellite offices, in 21 counties throughout California with a total agent count of more than 1,450, which represents more than 20 percent of the agent count for RE/MAX in the state of California.

MP: What has been your approach to growth over the years, and what are your current goals in terms of expansion?
JOB: Our core values and company vision statement are written into everything we’ve done over the years. We find the best, most productive, most ethical agents and put them in an environment where they can succeed, and then we succeed through them. That’s why our agent productivity is consistently higher. We have virtually no non-productive agents. Our expectation in the near term, combining the Northern and Southern firms, is to reach $ 8 billion in volume. In 24 months, we expect the combined companies to reach $ 12 billion.

MP: What role has the RE/MAX brand played in your success?
JOB: In the early ’90s, I owned a couple of boutique real estate brokerages, and it annoyed me that our agents kept getting beaten at listing presentations by agents who worked at branded companies. I was attracted to RE/MAX 25 years ago, and I continue to be. Their model allowed me to have a vision with scale. The vision I had as a young man was not scalable. I needed two things to achieve my vision: a brand that people recognized and trusted; and to be surrounded by extraordinary people. I thought the RE/MAX brand could help with both, and it has. And this chapter of the firm’s growth is the ultimate demonstration of that concept; I’m surrounded by extraordinary people internally and extraordinary people like Keith and his team in Southern California.

(L to R) EVPs Tim Yee and Ard

MP: How would you describe the current state of the market? What are the greatest challenges and opportunities?
KM: I would say we’re in a period of pause and reflect. The number of sales has slowed down and prices touched down a few percentage points over the past 4-6 months (at press time), which is probably the best thing that could happen. As we navigate through here with a real robust economy, it’s healthy that the market is doing what it is. This isn’t like the run-up to 2004-2005; quality mortgages are being given to borrowers that qualify. The increasing growth of millennials and Generation Z is creating a demand for housing; even if it’s later than sooner, they will come. We have to keep agents focused, but energized, and give them new and better ways to compete. During these times, consumers really can’t take a chance on working with a random agent—they need an agent backed by a global, credible brand.

Keith Ard: In Northern California, the market is slowing down a bit. This is creating an opportunity for us to meet with a number of folks. The window is closing on sellers being able to look forward to multiple offers, so many agents who chose a non-branded or small boutique environment can no longer compete with the exposure a brand and California’s No. 1 brokerage can offer. As the market adjusts, we’re finding that agents are calling us because they need more in their toolbelt.

JOB: Even though we’re seeing a slowing in the organic part of the market, we’re on the cusp of an incredible opportunity to take marketshare from companies that deliver less brand and less service to their agents.

MP: How are you helping agents compete and succeed in an increasingly congested marketplace?
KA: We looked at a marketplace that has a lot of competitors and new offerings. We thought it was important to streamline a system to help associates better understand how to navigate the noisy and complex market. We created an exclusive consumer marketing platform that includes the internal resources we’ve had access to for many years through RE/MAX. We also went out to the market and found strategic alliances, such as Fusion Growth Partners, for agents who want to take their business to the next level. Our offering includes traditional marketing resources, connectivity to consumers through, lead generation through LeadStreet, partnerships through Offrs and Adwerx, who generate AI and predictive analytics, and a product called FrontPorch for agent social media connectivity.

RE/MAX Olson Leadership Team (L to R): Alex Aguilar, VP of Recruiting; Barbara Zieger, Controller; Stacy McKinley, Director of Operations; Patti Petralia, SVP; and Michael Kale, General Counsel

KM: From a 40,000-foot level, I’m particularly excited about Fusion. We’ve always been an early innovator and are all about creating “real estate for grown-ups;” in other words, providing a platform that gives agents the freedom to maximize their careers and also provide them with world-class support, including an attorney on payroll, a management team and a transaction and listing coordinator all wrapped up in a true, global brand with the highest productivity per agent.

MP: So, I guess it’s easy to see why agents join your firm…and why they stay!
JOB: If you put a sign out in front of a store that says Mercedes or Cartier, people are naturally attracted to look inside. That sign for us is RE/MAX. But it’s super important that once they’re inside, they’re cared for in a way they felt wasn’t even possible. The fundamental thing you need is a willingness to care for others—then you can teach them the skills. We’ve also done an incredible job of making sure we deliver hospitality for agents, and that agents deliver that hospitality for clients once they come through the front door.

MP: Please describe your firm’s culture and leadership philosophy.
JOB: The two most overused words in this business right now are disruption and culture. We have a trademarked saying for our firm: “Gold Nation—Not a Culture, a Community.” Covering as much of California as we do, to say we’re going to build a single culture and create compliance with that culture is overreaching and disrespectful. The diversity we cover can’t be homogenized. What you can do is celebrate the culture of each branch, and then tie them into the community.

MP: What is your approach to coaching and training?
KA: We employ the most productive agents in the marketplace who already have a great foundation through RE/MAX University, so we focus on helping bring agents to the next level by collaborating on best practices in small, medium and large group settings. We host MEC—Motivate, Educate, Collaborate—events that are led by leadership experts. Many companies rely on peers teaching peers, but we focus on utilizing subject matter experts.

RE/MAX Gold Leadership Team

KM: We have a different agent mix than many companies, and we take on some brand-new people. We have a training director who teaches classes every Monday morning in our training facility, and they run the gamut from new agent topics to material for more experienced agents. We also have two sales meetings per month per office, which I use as an opportunity to coach and speak on business development topics. I’m constantly learning from all the success stories around me and sharing that with others. I also encourage agents to look at outside trainers—there are a lot of good ones out there.

MP: What are some of your most innovative marketing strategies?
KA: We look at marketing as a partnership with agents. They look to us for help with systems, but they don’t look to us to keep the relationship with their customers. They want the autonomy to keep that relationship the way they want to. With our eight-point exclusive marketing system, we offer an approach that helps attract new consumers, and, at the same time, reiterates your strength in the marketplace to existing consumers. We believe that disruption is not an excuse to have to change everything, but the way the consumer wants to be communicated with is changing. The agent who adopts technology will have the best opportunity to communicate with all generations, from aging baby boomers to new college graduates.

KM: Yes, we have to reach the consumer in the way they want to be reached, so we use all modalities, including good old-fashioned picking up the phone. We have to deliver a message to the consumer that shows that we’re trying to provide value and that gives them added reasons why they would benefit from working with us.

MP: What are your goals looking forward?
JOB: The future of our organization is to be of greater service to the community both in the brokerage business and beyond. In 2017, we donated over $ 200,000 to the Children’s Miracle Network. In 2018, we’re looking at a quarter of a million dollars. This is compounded by our individual efforts, whether it’s with the American Red Cross or toward cancer research. Along with philanthropic service will be even more robust service to our agent population, so they can win business and take extraordinary care of their clients. The sum of all that results in RE/MAX Gold and RE/MAX Olson. We’re covering more of California based on our victories in service. That’s what’s moving us toward our goal of $ 12 billion in business done by 2,400 happy members of our agent community. My crystal ball has 20/20 clarity; that’s what I see.

For more information, please visit and

Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

The post An Unstoppable Synergy: RE/MAX Gold and RE/MAX Olson appeared first on RISMedia.


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5 Surprising Things That Don’t Affect Your Credit Score

Dec 14, 2018 by

There are some obvious things that can hurt a credit score: paying your bills late, using too much available credit in proportion to your income and defaulting on a loan. Some other financial transactions, however, don’t affect a credit score. You may even be surprised by them.

Here are five things that don’t affect a credit score, which is something you want to continue improving so you’ll have access to the best mortgage rates and terms:


Creditors and lenders obviously want you to have an income, and information about your employer may be listed on your credit report, but your actual income isn’t reported as part of a credit score.

Your income will be used to decide how much you can afford to borrow, but a high salary won’t boost your credit score and a low salary won’t hurt it.


Overdrawing your bank accounts can be costly, but they won’t hurt your credit score as long as you clear them before they go to collections.

If your account remains overdrawn for weeks and the bank sends it to a collections agency, then expect your credit score to be dinged. It’s not the overdraft account that’s causing the credit score to drop, but the fact that it went to a debt collection agency.

Missed Insurance Payments

A credit score can be used by an insurance company to calculate your insurance premium. But your insurer won’t report your insurance premium payments—whether on time or late—to credit bureaus.

If you miss just one insurance payment, your insurance company could cancel the policy entirely or until payment is made. But it’s unlikely they’ll send it to a collections agency.

Checking Your Own Credit

You can check your credit report or score as much as you want without being penalized for it. Start at for a free report each year from three of the major credit reporting agencies.

If a lender checks your credit score, such as when applying for new credit, that will likely hurt a credit score, though only a little and not for long. Too many queries in a short time could drop it a little more.

Credit Counseling

If you’ve sought help from a credit counselor to help manage your credit card payments, it may show up on your credit report. It won’t, however, hurt your credit score.

As long as your creditor is getting your payments on time—either through you or the credit counselor—then the fact that you’re getting credit counseling won’t hurt your score. But if the payments arrive late, then expect to see your credit score drop.

The post 5 Surprising Things That Don’t Affect Your Credit Score appeared first on RISMedia.


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Sprinkling the Holidays Into Your Listings

Dec 13, 2018 by

The season is upon us, and now is not the time to ignore your business—especially your listings—but rather, a great time to make it stand out.

That said, here are a few tips to help infuse your staging, listing photos and open houses with a bit of holiday spirit to grab the attention of potential buyers. Just remember: Run your ideas by your seller and don’t go overboard. You want to attract buyers, not push them away!

  1. Depersonalize it. Whenever showing your seller’s house, the general rule is to keep personal information about them out of sight. Holiday photos and personalized decorations, like pictures from the family hay ride or Christmas stockings with the kids’ names on them, should therefore be stored during showings.
  1. Simplify it. While highlighting the holiday season, to draw positive attention to your listing, you want to ensure the property itself is the main attraction. You don’t need to fill the home with an abundant amount of colored lights, tinsel and trees to make it look festive. A few red, silver and gold touches can generate that same holiday feel without being obnoxious.
  1. Keep it classic. A simple wreath on the door or garland over the fireplace will be more universally appealing than an inflatable Santa or life-size Nativity scene. To appeal to more buyers, minimize or eliminate overtly religious symbols.
  1. Accentuate positive features. A bland mantle can look impressive with the right decorative touches. Bay windows can be accentuated with the right seasonal color scheme. A simple staircase can turn into a must-have feature if you present it right. Use seasonal decorating to draw attention to the details that make your listing different from others on the market.
  1. Sometimes a holiday scent is all that is needed. Winter wick potpourri, freshly baked cookies, scented pinecones, pine-scented air fresheners…there are many ways to create a seasonal scent. Just try not to overwhelm visitors. The fragrance should be a pleasant background effect, not a nasal assault.

Do you find yourself spending valuable time and resources marketing your listings without really knowing what you’re getting in return? How many of your leads are calling because of listing flyers you left at a new listings? How many picked up your card at an open house? If you aren’t sure what effect, if any, your marketing is having on your business, the Holiday Marketing for Real Estate eBook can help.

Patty McNease is director of Marketing for For more information, please visit

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

The post Sprinkling the Holidays Into Your Listings appeared first on RISMedia.


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4 Tips for Using Paint to Update a Home

Dec 13, 2018 by

Photo Credit: Clare

Painting a room can be a quick, transformative update for new homeowners to accomplish. Say your clients recently purchased a home and now they need a little design inspiration to bring it into all its glory. Paint is often the fastest and more transformative way to quickly update a space. Interior decorator Nicole Gibbons, who become known as the “paint maven” with her own brand, Clare, has four tips for using color to update a room. Here are a few of her insider tips:

Photo credit: Clare

  • Pare down your color choices.Research shows that it typically takes an average of four months to choose paint color, which is an unsettling statistic for Gibbons. Tell your clients to focus on a more narrow, curated palette from the get-go, which will help them to not become overwhelmed.
  • Try the color on. Peel and stick color samples are a great way to try out a color without the mess of mini cans of paint and partially painted walls.
  • Shine a light on it. View potential paint color at different times of day, Gibbons recommends, and in different artificial lighting to get the full impact of the color.
  • Don’t forget the primer.“Think of primer as a base coat that creates the foundation for a flawless paint job,” Gibbons writes. It covers imperfections, creates a uniform surface, and neutralized the color so the paint your client chooses appears in its truest, most brilliant form. Two coats may be needed if you’re toning down a higher-gloss paint finish in a switch to matte, or if you’re going from a darker to a lighter hue.

Source: Nicole Gibbons,

Styled, Staged & Sold

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