Going beyond borders

An increasing number of international buyers are interested in property in South Africa, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, and with a global website and a worldwide network of nearly 90 000 sales associates in more than 85 countries, RE/MAX is able to serve them.

“A strong global presence has positioned RE/MAX for the international real estate market of the future. With the rapid technology developments impacting the way business is concluded and the world becoming a remarkably smaller place in terms of connectivity, there are no limits to success when it comes to geographic boundaries,” says Goslett.

He notes that international investors are drawn to South Africa by the country’s warm climate, favourable property pricing and extensive lifestyle offerings, particularly in the coastal regions. He notes that a number of the buyers have been referred to agents in this country from their cross-border counterparts.

“Many South African agents have built relationships with agents in other countries within the RE/MAX network. This has opened up doors for referrals to be passed between agents around the world, which is beneficial for both the agents and the clients they offer their service to,” says Goslett. “It makes sense to tap into the wealth of trust and expertise that other real estate professionals across the globe can bring to the table. Through international connections, the brand presence of RE/MAX in other countries is able to drive more leads for agents in this country. You simply can’t put a price tag on that kind of value. The brand has earned a reputation for entrepreneurial excellence and global market reach; this is a huge benefit to our clients.”

Performance powerhouse

Goslett says that at RE/MAX, agents are spurred on by an atmosphere of productivity and innovation. “In fact,” he says, “each RE/MAX of Southern Africa agent has sold between 9% and 10% more properties during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. This outstrips the national industry average of less than 5% by far.”

Being surrounded by productive people is just one key to successfully capturing international business. Another is having access to resources and tools that help agents market their services and expertise to international buyers.

RE/MAX agents enjoy a major competitive advantage via the network’s global presence in more than 85 countries. Two related elements add to that edge: theglobal.remax.com property search site and an internationally branded advertising campaign.

Since its launch, global.remax.com has garnered more than 29 million page views and more than 1.3 million unique visits. Searches are originating in four key countries: the U.S., China, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The site, which includes more than 650 000 RE/MAX listings in dozens of countries, reflects the diversity of the RE/MAX network; it’s viewable in 32 languages and 38 different currencies.
Global.remax.com is changing the game in international property searches, and it is one more reason consumers look to RE/MAX agents,” says Goslett. “Currently, no other real estate brand can touch the scope of global.remax.com.  RE/MAX sells more real estate than anyone in the world because we continually innovate and find ways to connect buyers and sellers with our agents, who are among the most educated professionals in the business.”

Education is the foundation

From the time Dave and Gail Liniger founded RE/MAX in 1973, the organisation’s leaders have grasped the importance of education in response to shifts in market conditions.

For example, when the US housing downturn unfolded in 2008, Dave Liniger was a vocal proponent for distressed property training for all real estate agents. RE/MAX agents heeded his call to action and internationally nearly 15 000 RE/MAX Associates have earned the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation since 2008 - far more than any other brand.
Goslett says that to date, over 600 RE/MAX of Southern Africa agents have received the internationally acclaimed CDPE designation. The local, qualified RE/MAX agents who have been marketing distressed properties have managed to achieve, on average, 91% of the asking price, with the distressed properties spending an average of 45 days on the market before selling. In addition, the number of distressed property offers that have been accepted by the banks has increased considerably in the first half of 2012.

The RE/MAX emphasis on professional excellence has helped the network’s global expansion efforts.

The Linigers’ vision of creating an atmosphere for productive, fiercely driven entrepreneurs resonates in emerging markets in Asia and South America, where RE/MAX has seen strong growth in recent years.

Since 2009 RE/MAX has expanded its reach to more than 20 countries around the world—and the network is eyeing opportunities in even more locations.

Communicating to a global audience

Another key advantage RE/MAX agents enjoy is global advertising campaigns. The “For all the things that move you,”  initially created in the US, speaks to the emotional connection consumers around the world have to the home-buying or -selling process.

TV, print, online, radio and outdoor ads that enjoyed success in the US have been adapted to other markets. New RE/MAX Web banners are available in eight languages—English, French, Spanish, Hindi, German, Italian, Chinese and Portuguese—to all RE/MAX Associates worldwide for use in their markets. The campaign ties back to the notion that for all the things that move them, consumers can turn to their RE/MAX agent for help.

The recent RE/MAX of Southern Africa TV ad campaign “The sign you want, the agent you need,” had a significant impact on the number of visitors to the www.remax.co.za website, during the period it was aired, with a 13% increase in unique visitors during that time.

Looking to the future

Many businesses are looking to emerging markets, particularly in Asia, to introduce their brands, and RE/MAX is at the forefront. The network already has a presence in India, Thailand, Singapore, Micronesia, Palau and the Philippines, and efforts are going strong to attract entrepreneurs in other countries like Japan, Indonesia and South Korea. RE/MAX recently announced its expansion into China. The new RE/MAX franchise rights for China will include the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, increasing the brand’s global footprint more than any other international franchise real estate company.

Goslett says that people will continue to be drawn to RE/MAX because of the network’s motto, ‘In business for yourself, not by yourself,’ and recognise the competitive advantages of aligning themselves with the RE/MAX brand. This is evidenced in the fact that RE/MAX of Southern Africa reported more than 11 RE/MAX franchises have been sold so far this year and more than 188 agents have joined the brand due to the value proposition it offers.

“Having such a strong global presence puts RE/MAX ahead of the game to capture the growing international business. There has never been a better time to be part of a powerful global network like RE/MAX,” Goslett concludes.
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