RE/MAX CEO Nick Bailey: Effective leadership means ‘taking cues from history’
Bailey studies data and trends to understand where the market is headed: “The question is not how the trend is going to go. It's how fast it will move."
- The leader of the 50-year-old company emphasizes that no matter the state of the market, "homeownership is about people and their reasons for purchases."
- Bailey is focused on growth from the ground up and hopes to reach a global agent count of 200,000 in the next few years.
- As a well-established company, RE/MAX can attract agents who may be dissatisfied with their experiences elsewhere, said Bailey.
Editor's note: Each year, the Swanepoel Power 200 recognizes the most powerful and influential leaders in residential real estate. In this series of SP 200 Inside Look interviews, we're diving deeper and learning about these top leaders' aspirations and accomplishments, and the opportunities they see in the year ahead.
Nick Bailey, president and CEO of RE/MAX LLC, likes to remind people in the industry that they are in the business of fulfilling dreams — regardless of interest rates, the housing supply or other factors influencing the marketplace.
"You don't just wake up one day and say, 'Oh, I have an idea, I will be a homeowner' and go do it this afternoon. You save for it, you plan for it. It's a dream," Bailey said. "Homeownership is about people and their reasons for purchases. You get married, you have kids, you get a new job… And it's those life events that drive homeownership for the vast majority of people."
A licensed real estate agent for 26 years, Bailey knows the industry inside and out. As president and CEO, his focus is on leading growth for the RE/MAX global network and overseeing the expansion and delivery of support services to franchise owners and affiliates.
Bailey's career of leadership and achievements has earned him a spot at No. 11 on the 2023 Swanepoel Power 200 list of the most influential people in real estate.
"Leaders from all around the RE/MAX network make an important impact on their companies and communities," Bailey said. "It's an honor to work alongside so many accomplished leaders in the RE/MAX network who are dedicated to a high standard of excellence."
Modernization, expansion priorities as RE/MAX turns 50
As RE/MAX CEO and president, Bailey defines the vision for the brand and assures that resources align with operations. One of his priorities in 2023 is modernizing the business, including the adoption of a new agent platform to better integrate the transaction experience and help agents stay connected with consumers not just for one transaction but for a lifetime.
RE/MAX also is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and continuing expansion plans, despite a slowdown amid higher interest rates and inflation. In the uncertain real estate marketplace, Bailey sees the importance in guiding and influencing "the environment and people around you."
'Taking cues from history' to guide strategy
"Effective leadership means recognizing not only what the market is doing, but also taking cues from history in your response," he said. "Even though there are things that can move markets more quickly, for the vast majority of the time, most changes are based on trends."
But challenges like these yield opportunities, and help to define legacies. Bailey studies data, trends and history to understand where the market is today and the direction it is heading.
"The question is not how the trend is going to go. It's how fast it will move," Bailey said. "With the Fed increasing rates as quickly as they did, this trend just moved faster. Historically, when this has happened, it has been over two or three years. This time all of that movement happened in six months."
Getting up close and personal
Bailey foremost is a people person. His favorite part of the job is the warm handshakes and casual conversations with other real estate professionals across the RE/MAX network.
"Leaders take action and execute," Bailey said. "It is demonstrated and seen in those moments when you're surrounded by people, and you can just tell they're looking for someone to take the reins."
He makes a point to travel to RE/MAX offices several times each month to talk in person with real estate agents and broker-owners. The visits, which often are for just a few hours, boost morale, he said. Bailey also finds those face-to-face meetings inspiring. Gathering boots-on-the-ground intelligence also helps inform Bailey as he makes big decisions for the global company.
Growth from the ground up
Leaders in the competitive real estate industry are measured on output and results, Bailey noted. With the RE/MAX agent count at 140,000, Bailey would like to top 200,000 in the next few years.
"RE/MAX is the largest that it has been in its history. And we continue to drive growth as our primary focus… The more that agents are successful, the more the brokerages succeed. And those together absolutely help our growth," Bailey said.
Bailey sees RE/MAX as a beacon for top-producing agents who may be dissatisfied with business operations at less seasoned companies that entered the real estate game when the market was hotter than it is today.
"We're very much a dependency type of business. With each one of the entrepreneurs that we work with, if they're experiencing growth and success, everybody wins in our system," Bailey said.