The new owners of the Australian and New Zealand RE/MAX master franchises will look to double the size of the network over the next five years, with a particular focus on recruiting new estate agent immigrants familiar with the brand in their home countries.
“Our medium-term goal is to double the number of offices in each country,” RE/MAX Australia and New Zealand master franchise co-owner and managing director Michael Davoren tells Property Observer.
Davoren, Keith Walker, the current RE/MAX Australia franchise director, and Chris Chapman, the current RE/MAX New Zealand regional director, bought out the Australian regional master franchise from its US owner.
“We have 65 offices in Australia and aim to have 130 in five years. In New Zealand we have 50 offices and our aim is to have 100."
“It’s very achievable," says Davoren.
The trio will look to recruit real estate agents immigrating to Australia from places like South Africa and Europe, where RE/MAX is a very well-known brand name.
“We are working with recruitment organisations, outplacement services in this regard,” Davoren says.
In Australia, Davoren says there are a lot of territories where RE/MAX’s presence is nowhere near where it should be, including big real estate markets like Sydney and Melbourne.
RE/MAX is considered the biggest real estate brand in the world – primarily due to its size in the US and its presence in more than 80 countries, but it punches below its weight in Australia and New Zealand.
The new owners are also investing in promoting the RE/MAX brand to consumers and agents.
“It started that in the last 12 months with significant investment to get the brand out into places we don’t have offices through billboards and bus advertising.
“We will also look to build the brand over next few years through social media and online.”
Davoren says Australia and New Zealand were among the last regions where RE/MAX America actually still owned the master franchise, the others being Western Canada and the Caribbean.
“They decided to clear the decks. They are very good at franchising, but being an operator is a different kettle of fish with a different culture, legal requirements and industrial awards that makes Australia peculiar.”
“The rules made from world’s biggest real estate don’t fit into the country where you are not the biggest."
Davoren, Walker and Chapman negotiated with RE/MAX since February before securing the buy-out.
He says being the owners will increase their focus on being creative in growing the business.
“It’s going to be pretty interesting times.
“We expect fairly good sales levels over next few years. There is a bit of science behind this thinking as in most major centres, there is no major oversupply.
“It’s a bit different in places like Port Douglas or the Gold Coast.”
But overall, he says real estate is now more affordable than it has been in a while, with prices having come back in most areas and with interest rates falling.
Davoren has been with RE/MAX for a year.
Prior to that he had own consultancy for five years providing real estate training, auction and business consultancy services.
He spent 12 years as a director at LJ Hooker and before that was with Raine & Horne.
He is also a past president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia and the Real Estate Institute of Queensland.