An Agent Ownership Success Story!

by Dick Peterson

 

In 1975 I was the proud owner of three Re/max offices under the name Re/max East, Inc., with offices in Aurora, SE Denver and Cherry Creek.  During that time I became uneasy with the  “owner” vs “employee” business model, although in real estate the employee is most often an independent contractor. An alternative presented itself when I learned about the Mondragon Worker Cooperatives in Spain and a very successful agent owned real estate company in Fort Collins, “The Group.” I realized that I could sell my offices to the agents.

I discussed this with the agents who supported the idea and, in 1981, I sold the Aurora and Cherry Creek offices to the agents.  Both were successful, although after a few years Re/max of Aurora was sold.  Re/max of Cherry Creek is still thriving and the story, told by Lynn Hetterich, is one of a very successful conversion to employee-ownership.

RE/MAX of Cherry Creek, An Agent owned Real Estate Company

In 1981, RE/MAX Cherry Creek was founded with a concept unique to our industry: Agents would also be company owners. We would make our own decisions, pave our own way, and rather than work with a competitive mindset, we would enthusiastically support one another.

In those days, we worked in an office at 290 Fillmore. Although we’ve moved just blocks away to the Ptarmigan Building, we have come light years from those early days. Today, our initial group of 32 agent owners has grown to 63 with 96 total licensed real estate Brokers. We’ve logged more than 35,000 transactions and over $10 billion in sales.  And we’ve done it all as a family.

We’ve seen many changes along the way.

Back in the early years, the Multilist “books” were delivered every Friday.  The delivery schedule rotated so no one office had an advantage!  The most effective way to locate listings was simply to drive neighborhoods looking for signs.

In those days, contracts and negotiations were completed in person (we communicated with out-of-town clients through Western Union telegrams).  We used fax machines (remember the heat-sensitive paper that “curled” after coming off the roll and faded over time?).  And when it came to phone calls, we relied on a receptionist who took messages on memo pads. The first mobile phones had to be “installed” in our cars; we affectionately referred to them as “bricks.”

Now we rely on our smartphones, almost all contracts are transmitted electronically, and the Multilist data is available through cutting edge software accessed with a few clicks online.

RE/MAX Cherry Creek has a culture unlike other offices. We are committed to helping each other – believing that when one of us succeeds, we all do. We’ve shared annual retreats, holiday parties, client events, educational offerings, and even a philanthropic mission that has raised more than $300,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network since 2005.

Still, one thing remains the same: our commitment to our clients. We take pride in offering ethical, superior service enriched by our premier support network.

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Dick Peterson is one of the founders and board member of RMEOC and the founder of RE/Max of Cherry Creek