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Coach Realtors®: Leading the Market With Stability, Strength and Savvy

Jun 2, 2018 by

Coach_Cover_June18_300x420_300dpiNo business remains a leader in its market for almost 40 years without a strong core and a sharp eye. That’s been the key to success at Long Island, N.Y.-based Coach Realtors® since the Finn family acquired the brand in 1980.

“Coach Realtors® has been in business since 1954, so we’ve witnessed market highs and lows, paradigm shifts in the industry and many, many competitors come and go,” says the company’s COO Lawrence P. (LP) Finn, III. “Through it all, we’ve grown smartly, invested wisely and built a firm that’s stable in any market and respected by an entire industry.”

Here, Finn shares how he and his leadership team have evolved the firm to weather a constantly changing real estate landscape, and remain a force locally and a thought leader industry-wide.

Maria Patterson: Please describe your firm’s history and current positioning in the marketplace.
LP Finn:
Coach Realtors® was founded in 1954. Larry and Georgianna Finn acquired the brand from the original owners in 1980, and they remain a guiding force for us today as chairman and president, respectively. My sister, Whitney Finn LaCosta, serves as general manager and oversees the daily activity of the branch offices, and her husband, Robert LaCosta, oversees our mortgage and title operations, Coach Title Insurance Agency, and our co-owned lending institution, Academy Mortgage Corporation. We’re all involved in any major decision-making, and our solidarity is, I think, one of the things that keeps us focused. Coach Realtors® is ranked within the top 200 brokerages in the United States in RISMedia’s Power Broker Report, consistently among the ranking’s billion-dollar producers.

LP_Finn_Quote_p83MP: How many offices and agents does the firm currently have?
LPF:
We have 19 offices and over 650 sales associates serving over two million residents in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. We posted over $ 1.4 billion in sales in 2017. A large percentage of those sales were multimillion-dollar properties. We’re proud to be a market leader and a member of the finest real estate networks in the world: Christie’s International Real Estate, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, Mayfair International Realty, Luxury Portfolio International® and Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate.

MP: What has been your approach to growth over the years, and what are your current goals in terms of expansion?
LPF:
In one word: stability. Coach Realtors® has been in business since 1954, so we’ve witnessed market highs and lows, paradigm shifts in the industry and many, many competitors come and go. Through it all, we’ve grown smartly, invested wisely and built a firm that’s stable in any market and respected by an entire industry. We’re going strong, staying true to the principles that got us here, and will continue on this path of smart growth that benefits our agents and the brand.

MP: How would you describe the current state of your market? What are the greatest challenges and opportunities?
LPF:
Our greatest challenge is also our greatest asset: staying true to our proven principles. Many newer brokerages, online influencers and even sales agents believe in rapid change or the adoption of new business practices. We feel that pressure to change, but we know these unproven ideas are often “one-trick ponies”—each looks good in a rising market, but they’re usually built upon sand and, therefore, lack staying power. Experience has shown us that longevity and continued success can’t happen without a commitment to our core values of financial stability, agent support, a focus on professional growth and brand recognition.

MP: What are you doing differently to set your firm and its agents apart from the competition?
LPF:
We differ from other brokerages in many ways. An important difference is our exclusive membership in world-class brokerage networks such as Christie’s International Real Estate. These networks provide our agents with a real advantage over other brokerages and truly unique market position. Sales agents with Coach Realtors® can provide their sellers with industry-leading property marketing and access to an exclusive pool of upper-tier buyers. Our agents also love the digital suite of services each network provides. These online tools allow an agent to rapidly grow his or her business by gaining new clients or increasing their average selling price. The networks also offer unsurpassed support, training, and, above all, brand awareness.

LP_Finn_Quote_p84MP: What most attracts agents to your firm, and why do they stay?
LPF:
Sales associates are attracted to Coach Realtors® because of our unwavering dedication to their careers. A real estate salesperson flourishes when he or she has a strong, successful brokerage behind them—a brokerage with vision, meaningful training, great marketing support, a success-oriented company culture, and a full suite of market-leading sales tools and resources. I also cannot say enough about our management team. These talented individuals are the backbone of the Coach organization. The branch managers within Coach are amazing people filled with professionalism, integrity, caring and a desire to see the sales agents succeed.

MP: How are you helping agents stay ahead of the curve on technology?
LPF:
We just re-launched Coachrealtors.com. The new website offers consumers a truly wonderful online experience and also provides our agents a robust intranet. The new intranet helps agents manage all aspects of their business while automating many daily activities. There’s way too much to list here, but I can assure you that it’s really amazing!

MP: Please describe your firm’s culture and leadership philosophy.
LPF:
We understand that every agent at Coach Realtors® is a valuable business partner. They’re the people out there representing the Coach Realtors® brand, and we take seriously our longstanding commitment to provide them with a workplace that’s supportive, fair, friendly and fun—not to mention technically advantaged.

Coach agents showing support for The Best Week Ever (Feb. 2018)

Coach agents showing support for The Best Week Ever (Feb. 2018)

Speaking of fun, in February of 2018, we hosted The Best Week Ever, which consisted of 18 events over five days that focused on body, mind and career. Events ranged from yoga to rock climbing, from financial planning to building listing inventory, from our awards dinner to an early morning inspiration breakfast featuring Mount Everest summiter Gary Guller. This is just one of the many reasons we have agents who have been building and sustaining successful careers with us for 20 or 30 and even 40 years.

Reaching new heights at the Coach Realtors® rock climbing event (Feb. 2018)

Reaching new heights at the Coach Realtors® rock climbing event (Feb. 2018)

MP: What is your approach to coaching and training?
LPF:
We’re proud to provide each sales agent at Coach Realtors® with unlimited, no-cost access to Institute, powered by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. Institute, which is both online and mobile-device compatible, is an on-demand real estate learning center with hundreds of courses and direct access to the creative thinking of some of the top real estate minds in the industry. We cannot say enough about this comprehensive learning platform. It’s filled with engaging, role-based, just-in-time learning modules with distinct, relevant content tied to specific agent needs and objectives. Institute helps our agents to be better at every aspect of the business, whether it’s negotiation, luxury marketing, investor relations, home staging, prospecting, or effective use of social media, to name just a few. In fact, in January 2018, Training Magazine ranked LeadingRE’s Institute No. 1 among the Top 125 learning and development programs across all industries throughout the world.

MP: What are some of your most innovative marketing strategies? How are they helping you connect with consumers?
LPF:
Our firm’s Director of Social Media Shannon Heyman is really doing some impressive work. Social media is more than just “posting stuff” online—there’s a science to it and each action is measurable. Our social media program is reaching a large number of online users each day, and we’re seeing large-scale engagement, far above the competition. That positive engagement is driving buyers and sellers straight to Coach agents each day.

MP: What’s on deck for the future of the firm?
LPF:
We’ll continue to grow vertically, adding to the sales teams in each branch office as our marketshare continues to increase. To do that, we’re actively recruiting new and experienced agents who are a good fit with our company culture. We especially look for candidates with excellent people skills and the desire to learn and grow. We’re also open to timely and strategic acquisitions and to new partnerships that help us do an even better job of what we do best.

For more information, please visit www.coachrealtors.com.

Patterson_Maria_60x60Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at maria@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Coach Realtors®: Leading the Market With Stability, Strength and Savvy appeared first on RISMedia.

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Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®: Ready for the Next Stage

Apr 1, 2018 by

Editor’s Note: This is the cover story in the April issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine.

April18_LRE_Cover_300x420Name something, anything, that’s of top concern to a broker operating in today’s market, and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has it covered. Competitive differentiation? On it. Consumer analysis? Got it. Cloud technology? Check. Global reach and luxury expertise? Done.

As the network transitions to its new, highly-skilled leadership team headed by President/CEO Paul Boomsma, LeadingRE has never been better positioned to champion independent brokers and solidify their place in a rapidly changing real estate environment. Whether it’s competition from traditional franchise brands or the new class of real estate disruptors, LeadingRE has stepped up its offerings on every level to enable its members to keep growing and succeeding.

And this was exactly the vision recently-retired President/CEO Pam O’Connor set in motion. “Succession planning was an obligation I took seriously, so I worked for some time to put the right people in place,” explains O’Connor. “They were clicking on all cylinders, the company was operating very successfully and the timing was perfect to pass the baton. LeadingRE has been very good to me. I wanted to leave it in a good place, and I believe I’ve done just that.”

Pam O'Connor and Paul Boomsma toast the future of LeadingRE.

Pam O’Connor and Paul Boomsma toast the future of LeadingRE.

MORE: The Real Deal: Pam O’Connor Builds a Network, Influences an Industry, and Impacts Lives

LeadingRE Chairman of the Board Joe Horning, president of Shorewest REALTORS®, will work with the leadership team to take the network to the next level. “Growing our network with quality independent firms around the globe remains a priority—as does expanding the services and tools we offer to help them thrive in their marketplaces and retain their competitive positions,” says Horning. “Paul’s track record and skill in technology and marketing make him the ideal leader to continue accelerating what we offer our members.”

But First, the Members
There are many factors that have been responsible for LeadingRE’s success—and many more that will be critical for its next phase—but none more important than its members. Built by brokers and run by brokers, the network’s cadre of invitation-only member firms serves as a unique competitive advantage on today’s often homogenous real estate playing field.

LeadingRE members celebrate at a recent hospitality event. Credit: Al Canaria, PlanOmatic

LeadingRE members celebrate at a recent hospitality event. Credit: Al Canaria, PlanOmatic

“Our network was created because brokers wanted to do something different, something better than what was out there,” explains Boomsma, who was formerly chief operating officer of the network, as well as president of the company’s Luxury Portfolio International® division. “We are a hybrid—not a franchise, not an old-school referral network, but rather, a combination of the best qualities of both.”

This distinction defines the members that comprise the LeadingRE network. “We look for top-ranked brokerages in their respective markets because those companies are characterized by great leaders,” says Boomsma.

LeadingRE serves as a hub to 565 independent firms in 70 countries around the world, representing 130,000 sales associates. LeadingRE’s model supports members in doing what they do best—deploying their talent in the local real estate market—while LeadingRE takes care of delivering complimentary services that enhance their business and a powerful global network connecting them to buyers and sellers around the world.

“At the top end of the market, having global reach is particularly critical,” says Stephanie Anton, the new president of the Luxury Portfolio International® division. “The wealthy are wealthier than ever, and they typically own multiple homes in many locations. They want to know that their properties will have global exposure when being marketed. And they want to work with real estate professionals who are globally-aware, sophisticated, and, perhaps most importantly, connected.”

“The depth and breadth of LeadingRE’s reach is incomparable and differentiates us from our competition,” says Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Halstead Real Estate Diane Ramirez. “Our LeadingRE colleagues are best-in-class and truly the most established, notable brokerages in their respective markets.”

Stephanie_Anton_PQ_p31“In real estate, as in so many areas of life, your network is essential,” says Lulu Egerton, senior director and head of International Strategy for the United Kingdom’s 100-office Strutt & Parker. “Our affiliation with LeadingRE and Luxury Portfolio places us alongside the leading lights of our sector, opening doors and beckoning in mutually beneficial business relationships with our peers from around the world.”

What Today’s Consumers Want
“Independent brands are sought-after these days,” explains Boomsma. “Over the last decade, corporate brands lost some of their luster in the wake of the global economic crisis. A lot of people prefer the connectivity and authenticity of the local broker and the trust that comes with knowing who owns the firm and what they’re doing for the community.”

This preference was clear in the results of a LeadingRE-commissioned survey of more than 3,000 U.S. homeowners, conducted by McKee Wallwork + Co. and Decision Analyst, with more than 88 percent of respondents saying they preferred working with an agent from a “well-known, local real estate company,” while just 12 percent preferred those affiliated with a national franchise.

Ramirez explains, “One of the biggest advantages of being an independent brokerage is that our brand can be unique to us as a firm. We have the ability to define and differentiate who we are and truly own it. Our independence also empowers us to move on a dime and make nimble, autonomous decisions that will enhance our business.”

Chris_Dietz_PQ_p33Local Powerhouses With Global Reach
A critical strategy woven into LeadingRE’s DNA is the continuous development of its strong global network. Today, the network boasts members in 70 countries around the globe, including the recent additions of Monaco, Ghana, Vietnam, India, Japan and Thailand.

“We have a passion for connecting like-minded, local market leaders and have extended that reach to six continents. We are the global brand behind the successful local brand,” says Chris Dietz, executive vice president of LeadingRE’s global operations.

LeadingRE members are automatically given powerful worldwide exposure and the distinction that comes from co-branding with LeadingRE.

And the need for being part of something international is becoming increasingly evident, explains Dietz. “Foreign investment in many markets is exploding. Being widely connected is not optional anymore—it’s a must—and we are the leaders in global expansion. We facilitate 40,000 client introductions annually between members and place referrals in over 100 countries.”

To truly succeed in the global marketplace, Dietz emphasizes the need for members to become immersed in the customs and cultures of colleagues in other countries. “Real estate professionals have to be more globally aware in order to turn these connections into profitable business transactions. You have to know the nuances and how to work with them in their market. That’s why participation in events like our Global Symposium in Barcelona and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Immersion Conference in Kuala Lumpur is so important.”

When it comes to selecting firms to invite to the LeadingRE global network, Dietz looks for both culture and high performance. “We prefer people with a vision. We want to add great people to our network who share our philosophy.”

Linking to Luxury Throughout
To become a competitive global network, having a powerful presence in the high-end market is essential. Luxury Portfolio International® is a vital pillar of the LeadingRE model, with strategic channels for reaching affluent consumers, including its award-winning website, luxuryportfolio.com, which last year marketed over 50,000 $ 1 million-plus properties around the world.

Paul_Boomsma_PQ_p34In order to help members stay competitive in the luxury arena, Luxury Portfolio carefully monitors trends.

“We keep a really close pulse on affluent consumer trends,” says Anton. “We’re always looking through the consumer lens: What are their priorities? How are they spending money? How can we best connect with them? We know that luxury is a lifestyle—a 360-degree approach to how they live.”

To that end, Luxury Portfolio recently released a groundbreaking trend report, “The Rise of the New Aristocracy,” which tracks a critical shift in this elusive demographic.

“In the last 12 years, we knew the affluent consumer was a boomer who was born ‘middle-class’ and whose wealth was self-generated rather than inherited. They were really approaching purchasing with practical decision-making, but we’re now at a unique moment in time when affluence is flipping from the wealthy boomers to the wealthy younger buyers who grew up in affluent households.”

Anton says, “They may want a traditional Tudor on the outside, but they want contemporary spaces inside—three to four bedrooms, dedicated space for exercise, wine rooms and theaters. It’s a fun and exciting time in the high-end—there’s a whole new group of people coming into the space.”

Next-Level Technology and Training
Whether it’s the Luxury Portfolio division or the global growth of the network, LeadingRE continues to keep the network a step ahead by providing a menu of cutting-edge tools, training and resources, all designed to help members deliver the best possible value proposition to agents and consumers.

“I’ve never seen a market where an excellent agent does not add value to a transaction,” says Boomsma. “We want to make sure brokers have all the best tools to support and articulate that value.”

LeadingRE also believes strongly in offering programs à la carte. “We have so many resources members can use,” adds Boomsma. “They can be strategic in choosing what’s right for them, and they don’t have to spend money wastefully. We are the antithesis of ‘cookie-cutter.’”

LeadingRE Chief Economist Dr. Marci Rossell addresses the conference audience on global economic trends.

LeadingRE Chief Economist Dr. Marci Rossell addresses the conference audience on global economic trends.

LeadingRE also sees itself as a learning organization committed to elevating performance through educational resources for its members, both at the agent level and for leadership. This is evidenced by its No. 1 ranking on Training magazine’s 2018 Training Top 125 list for organizational learning and development excellence across all industries worldwide. The network’s Institute, an online learning program with more than 350 proprietary courses, its world-class conferences and its MAESTRO Leadership Program played key roles in achieving this high honor.

Horning agrees that the education LeadingRE provides is essential to the ability of its members to remain competitive in an increasingly challenging marketplace. “Strengthening the leadership bench and growing second-tier leaders is a critical challenge for many of our brokerages,” says Horning. “LeadingRE’s MAESTRO Leadership Program addresses this need unlike anything in the industry, with an interactive curriculum that develops all facets of these next-generation leaders.”

Of course, remaining competitive also means staying ahead of the curve in the tech realm. To that end, LeadingRE recently announced the LeadingRE Cloud to empower members to connect with the most innovative technology as efficiently as possible.

“We’re taking an aggressive stance to simplify access to the latest technology and integration among different systems,” says Boomsma. “Sometimes people get chained to their technology because it’s just easier to stay with what they have versus change, which can be painful and expensive. We want them to be able to embrace the very best technology, affordably and seamlessly.”

“Brokers face the challenge of competing in a world of ever-changing technology, where everyone touts their latest platform,” agrees Horning. “The LeadingRE Cloud is our answer to this issue—making it easier for independents to deploy the latest innovations, but allowing them to choose the tools that work best for their company and their agents. While a large regional broker may have different needs than a boutique firm, all of our members will benefit from the efficiencies of the LeadingRE Cloud and the competitive edge it will bring them on the technology front.”

To ensure that edge, LeadingRE is also investing in Moderne Ventures, an investment fund focused on early-stage technology companies in the real estate space, so that its members have firsthand exposure to the next, best tools for clients and agents.

Making the Best Brokerages Better
No matter what level of success LeadingRE members have achieved, an openness and willingness to share is pervasive. “When you come to our events, there’s always someone you strive to be more like, and you’re humbled,” says Boomsma. “Our people find great value in learning from one another—and it doesn’t matter who you are: a broker leading a 25-agent boutique that outsells others in an affluent bedroom community, or a CEO of a company with thousands of agents whose brokerage ranks in the top 10 in the country. There’s always someone else who’s doing something different and is willing to share.”

It is these relationships that set LeadingRE apart. “The aspect of our affiliation that I value most highly,” says CIR Realty partner Ron Stader from Calgary, Canada, “is the strong relationships with premier brokers who have supported our company’s growth with idea-sharing and advice that have sparked innovation and higher levels of performance. The connections are invaluable on many levels—from referrals to best practices—and by helping one another, we all get better.”

According to Boomsma, LeadingRE’s mantra, “Making the Best Brokerages Better,” is centered on giving its market-leading brokerages a forum for collaboration and shared business opportunities, as well as access to extensive business resources that might be cost-prohibitive on their own. “At our core, we are a community of quality-focused, highly-productive firms—and that’s by design. From there, we provide the global capabilities that help them become even stronger in their local markets. As we enter this next stage in our history, we are excited to build on our successes and chart new territory to support member growth in ways that are uniquely ‘LeadingRE.’”

For more information, please visit www.leadingre.com.

Patterson_Maria_60x60Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at maria@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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The Top 10 Suburbs Leading the Spring Home-Buying Season

Feb 13, 2017 by

House hunters faced with limited affordable housing prospects in urban areas are spreading their search to the suburbs—in fact, a solid 50 percent of homebuyers are taking to suburban areas this spring, according to a recent analysis by realtor.com®, with 10 outposts rising to the top of the ranks.

“Suburbs are traditionally viewed as meccas for young families, willing to trade in shorter commute times and urban nightlife for better schools and larger homes—but the relationship between the suburbs and urban areas is far more intertwined,” says realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “In recent years, rising home prices and inventory shortages in urban centers have made affordable suburban home prices more appealing for buyers. Our analysis indicates 50 percent of buyers planning to purchase a home this spring indicated they preferred a home in the suburbs.”

The suburban areas leading the trend, according to realtor.com, are those in proximity to thriving urban areas, with household growth to match. Homes in these areas garner roughly double the views on realtor.com, as well as have higher list prices and shorter days-on-market timelines. The top 10 areas, zip code included, are:

  1. Northeast/Montbello, Colo. (80239)
    Homes in Northeast/Montbello, Colo., a suburb in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area, sold in an average of 19 days in 2016. Home prices in the area have grown 20.6 percent annually over the past three years.
  1. Wylie/St. Paul, Texas (75098)
    Homes in Wylie/St. Paul, Texas, a suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area, sold in an average of 41 days in 2016. Home prices in the area have grown 18.7 percent annually over the past three years.
  1. Dublin/Dougherty, Calif. (94568)
    Homes in Dublin/Dougherty, Calif., a suburb in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metropolitan area, sold in an average of 24 days in 2016. Home prices in the area have grown 14.1 percent annually over the past three years.
  1. Daffan/Hornsby Bend, Texas (78724)
    Homes in Daffan/Hornsby Bend, Texas, a suburb in the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area, sold in an average of 45 days in 2016. Home prices in the area have grown 27.1 percent annually over the past three years.
  1. Orient Park/Progress Village/Palm River-Clair Mel, Fla. (33619)
    Homes in Orient Park/Progress Village/Palm River-Clair Mel, Fla., a suburb in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, sold in an average of 47 days in 2016. Home prices in the area have grown 19.8 percent annually over the past three years.
  1. Vista East/Vista Park, Fla. (32829)
    Homes in Vista East/Vista Park, Fla., a suburb in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan area, sold in an average of 46 days in 2016. Home prices in the area have grown 13.8 percent annually over the past three years.
  1. Cutler Bay/Lakes by the Bay, Fla. (33189)
    Homes in Cutler Bay/Lakes by the Bay, Fla., a suburb in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area, sold in an average of 50 days in 2016. Home prices in the area have grown 16.3 percent annually over the past three years.
  1. Milpitas, Calif. (95035)
    Homes in Milpitas, Calif., a suburb in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area, sold in an average of 23 days in 2016. Home prices in the area have grown 12.8 percent annually over the past three years.
  1. Williamsburg/Waterhill/White Haven/Blackman, Tenn. (37129)
    Homes in Williamsburg/Waterhill/White Haven/Blackman, Tenn., a suburb in the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin metropolitan area, sold in an average of 34 days in 2016. Home prices in the area have grown 14.0 percent annually over the past three years.
  1. Friendship/Apex, N.C. (27502)
    Homes in Friendship/Apex, N.C., a suburb in the Raleigh metropolitan area, sold in an average of 41 days in 2016. Home prices in the area have grown 11.6 percent annually over the past three years.

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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RISMedia’s Power Broker Forum: Leading by Example

May 20, 2015 by

“Part of our role as real estate professionals is to get out there and network and find other thought leaders with whom we can share and learn from,” said John Featherston during RISMedia’s Power Broker in Washington, D.C., last week. “And then we have to repeat that process over and over again. We have to […]
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March Housing Madness: Leading Markets Index Shows 59 Metros at or above Normal

Mar 8, 2014 by

Markets in 59 out of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI), released recently. This represents a net gain of one from the previous month. The index’s nationwide score held […]
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