The former president of RE/MAX International discusses his newest franchise venture
When Vinnie Tracey was hired as a marketing director at RE/MAX in 1977, the fledgling realty group employed fewer than 400 people. By the time Tracey retired from the company, 38 years later, he’d become president of RE/MAX International, overseeing all of the brand’s global franchise operations, which by that included more than 100,000 agents in 6,800 offices throughout 100 countries.
So when Tracey joined realty-franchise newcomer Realty ONE Group last year, he brought with him more than a little bit of industry insight. What did the emerging franchise brand have that caught the eye of the former president of its behemoth competitor? According to Tracey, it was Realty ONE Group’s focus on the agent.
1851: How does Realty ONE Group stand apart from other real estate franchises?
Tracey: We are agent-centric, and that is unique in this industry, disruptive even. Most brokerages are focused on their bottom line and make concessions that may hurt their agents to boost that bottom line. We’ve taken another approach. We consider our agents our number-one customers. That’s a major departure from the industry. Technology by itself is not the big disrupter that people often think it is but being non-customer-centric is. We trust that our agents are customer-centric, because that’s how they make their money, so as a brokerage, we remain agent-centric, making sure we are hiring the best agents and providing them with everything they need to do their jobs effectively. Every decision we make is with one consideration in mind: how will this help the agent?
We are a 100-percent-commission concept. Most 100-percent-commission concepts are associated with low-service companies that don’t do much for their agents. We’ve flipped that model, providing high services and cutting-edge technology to empower our agents to grow their business and in turn grow our franchise system.
1851: What do you wish more people knew about Realty ONE Group?
Tracey: We have a really strong set of values that I think make Realty ONE Group an amazing company to work for. We’ve laid out a series of principals designed to strengthen our culture. It’s our six Cs: commission, coolture (a cool culture), coaching, care, connection and community. By following those six Cs and instilling those values throughout our system, we’ve developed a workplace with a lot of positive energy, where people feel a personal connection to their work and community.
1851: What qualities make for a great Realty ONE Group franchisee?
Tracey: This one’s simple. We want people who are focused on making the lives of their agents better. That’s got to be their top priority. Everything else, we can train.
1851: As Realty ONE Group has grown, what cues has it taken from other businesses and franchises?
Tracey: I was with RE/MAX for 38 years, so consciously or not, there’s no doubt I’ve taken a lot from my time there. The most important thing I brought to Realty ONE Group is an in depth understanding of exactly what and when a franchise needs to grow. I helped RE/MAX grow from a sub-400-person company to a global franchise network, so I have some experience there.
1851: What kind of growth plans does Realty ONE Group have for 2018 and beyond?
Tracey: We were founded in 2005, and at that point it was a one-office operation in Las Vegas. In 2012 we started franchising and grew to 23 offices throughout Southern California, Nevada and Phoenix. We’ve grown very slowly so far. It took us 12 years to open our first 100 offices. In 2018, we plan to double that. We ended 2017 with our best franchise sales year ever, and we’re in a strong position to build on that momentum.