RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

NOV 2014

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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RISMedia's REAL ESTATE November 2014 93 A Revolutionary Brokerage Concept Historically, real estate brokerages charged high fees to be able to pro- vide any sort of service to agents due to the high cost of staffng and outsourced technology systems. Widdows found this structure to be fawed and committed his early days as a brokerage owner to fnding a so- lution for agents that enabled them to pay lower fees, receive outstand- ing service and company-owned, proprietary technology systems that are cutting-edge, easy-to-use and in- tegrated. Within a year, the concept had recruited 100 agents organically to the HomeSmart brand. By 2004, just three years after launching the company, HomeSmart boasted almost 1,000 agents in the Phoe- nix Metropolitan market. By 2005, HomeSmart had broken into the top 10 and claimed number six marketshare with more than 1,500 agents. "I believe our initial growth came about for the same reasons I started HomeSmart in the frst place; agents were looking for something that oth- er brokerage companies just weren't able to offer," says Matt Widdows, founder and CEO. "From the very be- ginning, we've given agents a place to focus on their real estate busi- nesses, with an extremely high level of service at a low cost." HomeSmart continued to grow rapidly, even during the recession when nearly every other real estate brokerage across the country con- tracted, with an astounding 4,000 agents and No. 1 marketshare in the Metropolitan Phoenix market, in both transaction sides and sales volume. As the brand grew with such amazing speed, it became clear that the systems Widdows and his team had implemented were designed for scalable growth. One such system included an internal paperless trans- action management system (built and used exclusively by HomeSmart since 2008) that processes nearly 20,000 transactions each year in the Phoenix brokerage alone. By 2009, HomeSmart was completely paperless with 100 percent agent adoption in less than six months. One of Widdows' frst innovations was the launch of HomeSmart's Vir- tual Reception technology in 2001. This enables each branch offce front desk to be hosted by a single recep- tion center in the company's head- quarters offce. In each HomeSmart branch offce in Phoenix, guests are greeted upon entry by a live person at the main offce reception center on a 50-inch LED, fat-screen televi- sion. The virtual receptionist greets the customer, can lock and unlock doors, page agents within the offce, and more. Now, this same technolo- gy is being launched for HomeSmart brokerages nationwide. The launch and implementation of this recep- tion system made HomeSmart the frst brokerage in the country to do something so groundbreaking with this important offce function. "When we launched the virtual reception [Smart Reception®] in our offces, the local competition What Franchisees Say about HomeSmart "After meeting Matt [Widdows] and hearing his vision about the changing industry and how HomeSmart is ahead of the curve, it was a no-brainer for me to join the HomeSmart brand. To me, the operational effciency and integrated technology platform is a driving force behind the success- ful growth of my company." - Randy Rector, broker/owner of HomeSmart Evergreen Realty (Brea, Calif./Los Angeles Area) "Over the course of my 30 years in the real estate brokerage business, I have worked with multiple brands. Most franchisors sell you a brand and then take a 'hands-off' approach, but at HomeSmart, I know the company is vested in my success by helping me manage the day-to-day operations of my business and working to consistently make the real estate transac- tion and brokerage business simple. I feel like I have a true partner in my business and not just a franchisor." - Bill Flemming, broker/owner of HomeSmart Connect (Arlington Heights, Ill./Chicago Area) "Bringing innovation, support and a responsive real estate network to my agents is always my professional goal, and aligning my brokerage with HomeSmart International created synergy and an environment for me to do just that. The HomeSmart brand and leadership are perpetually moving forward for future growth and helping brokers and agents achieve success. HomeSmart makes sense in every way, and I want to continue to grow the brand in Texas in a BIG way." - Dendea Balli, broker/owner of McAllen HomeSmart RGV (McAllen, Texas/Austin Area)

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