Congratulations to Realty Executives for celebrating 50 years in real estate! “In 1965, my father created the 100 percent commission concept, and it truly revolutionized the business,” says Rich Rector, president of Realty Executives. “In our marketing, we say that every real estate agent is paid better today because of our company,” he says.
In fact, Realty Executives has been instrumental in many of the big issues that impacted or changed the industry over the past 50 years. Here are some of the milestones:
- 1965: Developed 100 percent commission concept. “What that concept did was start personal marketing in real estate. Before that, no one put an agent’s name on the sign, it was always on a rider,” says Rector. In fact, he adds, real estate ads in the newspaper back then didn’t mention the agent’s name either. “They just included an evening phone number. This was because brokers paid for the advertising and wanted the phone calls to be answered by the floor person,” he says. “We changed that by putting the consumer in touch with the person who knew the most about each specific property, the listing agent.”
- 1978: Bill North, then general counsel of the National Association of Realtors®, wrote an article for the Realty Executives newsletter about independent contractors. “There was controversy about independent contractors back then, and here we go again revisiting it!”
- 1981: Realty Executives instigated one of the first MLS consolidations. “Pre-Internet, large companies like ours that had four offices using four different MLSs, you had to have four different terminals in each office and access each MLS separately. My father incorporated a company called the VLS, Valley Listing Service, and we called a meeting of all the brokers in town telling them that our goal is to get these MLSs to merge,” he says. One year later, the Arizona Regional MLS was created. “While we didn’t develop that MLS, we forced the issue.”
- 1985: “I had recently gotten a car phone. At that time, they weren’t wireless or small. They were bolted down into the car. Texas Instruments came out with this portable terminal and on its brochure it showed a real estate agent hooking this terminal up to a pay phone,” says Rector. “I thought, wait, we have phones in cars that we can hook up. So, I contacted Texas Instruments, and they set up a demo for me. We hooked the terminal up to the car phone and did a mobile property search right there,” he says.
So, what’s on the horizon for the next 50 years? “I brought in new, young, smart partners,” says Rich. “Realty Executives has been dark for the past 18 months but all that is changing,” he says. Rector is building a succession plan and partnered with technologically savvy partners. “They made their money building Internet marketing companies,” he says.
Rector says that the brand is ready for a refresh. “We have a 50-year old brand, and we have to get it young. That’s what we’ve been doing, and we’re excited about it.”
To do that, Rector says they are now a technology company. “I used to say that we weren’t one, but we are now,” he says. “We’ve taken a lot of our web design, Intranet, document management and more in-house so that our systems aren’t controlled by a bunch of different vendors. We’re excited about the future.”
The truth, he says, is that “our industry is all about the speed of response, and that holds true for franchisor to franchisee, as well.”
Here’s to another innovative and successful 50 years!