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Friends In the Business

What a difference a year makes.  The mood of outright buoyancy at this year’s Annual Conference of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World was a far cry from last year’s melancholy.  To say the least, it was extremely heartening to hear so much optimism being expressed by the world’s leading brokers, who are finally seeing the early stages of recovery in their respective markets.  For those of us in attendance from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, such universal optimism made us feel that much more confident about the speed of our own recovery; as many of their recovering markets feed buyers into ours.

With Michael and Drayton leading the company’s contingent, we were several representatives strong at last week’s Leading RE conference, where time and again Michael Saunders & Company received kudos for helping establish a template for recovery that other markets could use.  Indeed, because Southwest Florida was hit early and hard by the nationwide housing crisis, its recovery has been a source of inspiration for many of the conference attendees.  Moreover, many of the strategies we used to help force our own recovery are now being used in markets across the U.S.   For example, the “Best Opportunities” section of michaelsaunders.com—which was established two years ago to shine a well-deserved spotlight on our sellers’ most aggressively-priced listings—is now being implemented in at least 20 other markets.  At the same time we learned about best practices in other markets which, when applied here, could add fuel to our own recovery.

Therein lies the principal benefit of having so many hand-picked friends in the worldwide real estate business.  At the end of the day, the perspectives we share freely with one another at these important industry gatherings help all of us make the most out of these perilous economic times.

More than 800 industry leaders attended the LeadingRE conference at a time when some of the largest national real estate brands (and franchises) have put the budgetary brakes on hosting such strategic give-and-takes; which seems a little like throwing a wet blanket to a drowning man.  If you can’t network at crucial times like these, what’s the point of belonging to a network?

Not content to simply belong to the LeadingRE network, Michael Saunders also plays a vigorous role in charting its future.  She recently finished her two-year tenure as Chairman of the Board and remains active and involved as the organization’s immediate past chair.  At this year’s conference, Michael was a featured speaker on the lead-off panel, Drayton moderated a panel on attracting the best and brightest young agents; while Joan Erni, director of our Assets Management Division, helped anchor a panel on listing, managing and marketing bank-owned properties.  That representatives from Michael Saunders & Company were seated on the dais as much as in the audience is testament to the leadership role that the company plays in this important worldwide network.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World is global in reach; comprised of 600 of the best-known independent real estate firms in the world.  The network includes more than 5,000 offices with nearly 150,000 agents in the U.S.; and 35 countries abroad.  Collectively the group sold over one million homes totaling $300 billion last year—more than any national real estate brand.  At all times, these firms are united under a single umbrella to help their clients and customers discern the obvious connection to quality and service in every major market.  During times like these, our affiliation with LeadingRE is of even greater benefit; as it empowers us to share business practices known throughout the network to get the best results in today’s economy.

To the other 599 independent firms who are our strategic partners in the LeadingRE network, Southwest Florida is synonymous with Michael Saunders & Company.  Therefore when customers of these firms express an interest in learning more about one of America’s best-priced markets, they are immediately referred to Michael Saunders & Company.

Domestic members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World are a veritable “who’s who” of the top 500 real estate firms in the U.S., with more of the # 1 market leaders in the top 90 markets than any national real estate brand.  For companies who also specialize—as we do—in important luxury properties, membership in LeadingRE provides the opportunity for crossover participation in Luxury Portfolio.

Luxury Portfolio— a division of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World—is comprised of 200 high-end companies that dominate the luxury market, has the most top-producing sales agents; and more $1million-plus listings than any other luxury network.  Its Web site, luxuryportfolio.com, attracts over 1.2 million high-net worth visitors each year to preview properties spread over 44 states and 24 countries abroad.

At Michael Saunders & Company, we’re extremely proud of our exclusive network of worldwide brokerage affiliations.  Hand-picked and pieced together strategically over more than three decades, these enable us to put your property on the radar screens of qualified buyers everywhere. In addition to Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio, these global affiliations include Christie’s Great Estates, the European Real Estate Network and Mayfair International Realty.

The theme of the LeadingRE conference, “Leading the Revolution,” couldn’t have been more apropos of the times.  For not only has the real estate business been rocked by fallout from the housing crisis, but has seen itself almost totally re-shaped by the ever-quickening pace of technology.  To survive revolutionary times requires revolutionary thinking; and we were thrilled to be in a room filled with some of the most revolutionary minds in real estate.   More than that, we were delighted by how eager each person at the conference was to share ideas and successes so that each of us could go home armed with new strategies to push our markets up and forward.

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