In his second year as the sole CEO of RE/MAX, Contos has had a very busy 2019. At the top of the list stands the network-wide rollout of booj, the real estate software company RE/MAX acquired in 2018. The company made another bold technology move with the December 2019 acquisition of popular machine learning-powered real estate closing tool First. The tool analyzes agents’ interactions with their contacts to suggest when agents should reach out. The tool will begin rolling out to RE/MAX agents in 2020.
This makes RE/MAX one of a few companies with its own in-house technology that offers digital branding, lead capture, client engagement and deal management tools.
Since booj and First.io is so critical to RE/MAX’s overall strategy, and because its rollout will continue well into 2020, we will not know the full impact of these technologies and RE/MAX’s platform strategy until later in 2020. But launching the product, starting the rollout and beefing up the platform by acquiring a popular real estate tool are major steps forward.
Financially speaking, even though revenues for the first nine months were down $2 million compared to last year to $159 million, excellent cost-control efforts resulted in increased profits, from $20.7 million to $22.2 million. RE/MAX remains in a strong financial position with little debt, and good cash flows. All in all, RE/MAX enters 2020 with positive momentum.
RE/MAX’s global agent count jumped 3.5 percent to 128,258 at the end of the third quarter 2019, compared to 123,905 at the end of the third quarter 2018. However, RE/MAX has slowly lost agents in the U.S. (64,290 in 2018 to 62,548 in 2019) while remaining more or less flat in Canada, which raises some concerns about its competitive positioning against new disruptors. RE/MAX brought in new talent in 2019 to help answer the challenge when it hired former RE/MAX executive and recently Century 21 CEO Nick Bailey as chief customer officer.
With a background in law enforcement, Contos came to RE/MAX in 2003 as an independent contractor presenting safety training programs. He rapidly climbed the corporate ladder. In 2013, he was promoted to vice president of region development, and shifted his focus to business development in February 2014. He became senior vice president of marketing in February 2015 and chief operating officer a year later.
So far, Contos is proving himself to be a strong, natural leader unafraid to surround himself with smart and capable men and women.