CEOs Andy Florance (CoStar), David Doctorow (Move, Inc), Nick Bailey (RE/MAX) and Gino Blefari (HomeServices of America).
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

4 of real estate's top leaders offer a look behind the curtain 

CEOs Andy Florance, David Doctorow, Gino Blefari and Nick Bailey shared exclusive, and sometimes controversial, insights with Real Estate News.

May 27, 2023
5 minutes

Like the season itself, spring real estate could often be described as "in like a lion, out like a lamb" — but this spring, there's been little evidence of buyers roaring back in. 

And broader factors are affecting the real estate market as a whole. The number of licensed agents outnumber the available homes that are listed for sale, and continued turmoil in the economy — layoffs, bank collapses and a possible federal debt default — have been major causes of concern for buyers and sellers alike.

However, behind the scenes, the leaders of top real estate companies are planning their moves for the rest of the year and beyond. Though the residential market may be a bit humdrum, the competition for customers and consumers among the top home search portals rages on with vigor. And then of course, big brokerages are working hard to make sure their agents are closing deals and lining up new clients.

Over the last few weeks, Real Estate News published a series of exclusive interviews with top industry leaders to discuss their businesses and the market as a whole. Here is what they had to say.

Andy Florance: Building a top portal with the "your listing, your lead" model

CoStar founder and CEO Andy Florance has been very direct about his goals and ambitions with — he wants to compete with the top residential portals head-on and climb his way to the top, just as he's done with Loopnet in the commercial world and in rentals. 

Andy Florance, Founder and CEO, CoStar Group

Real Estate News sat down for an extended, in-person interview with Florance during the T3 Leadership Summit in Naples, Florida, and discussed his strategy to make one of the leading portals and agent platforms. While CoStar has tremendous resources to put behind the effort and push to the top, Florance said his strategy is simple: Be friendlier to agents.

"A really important, immutable fact is that in the 'your listing, our lead' model, a teeny percentage — like low single digits — of agents benefit from that platform," he said of competitors like Zillow and Redfin. "So 90-some percent of the agents are not getting any value, and they're just seeing leads that would have come in to them off their listings going to a competitor. So the vast, vast, vast majority of agents don't benefit from those models."

Read the first part of the interview here and the second part here

David Doctorow: Creating a 'pure' portal is not only is it possible, 'it's imperative'

Move, Inc. CEO David Doctorow doesn't mince any words when discussing the precarious state of the real estate market. He described the current situation — where there are more agents than listings — as a "moment of truth for agents." But it's also a moment of truth for, which is the second most visited listing portal. 

David Doctorow

While the site's traffic has declined in the last year, Doctorow explained his goals for to Real Estate News. Perhaps surprisingly, he said that growing site traffic is not necessarily what people should be focused on.

​​"Our focus as a company is not about trying to have the maximum traffic number," he said. "If that were our focus, we could do a lot of things to make that number larger. We're focused on trying to get a higher quality audience that's serious, because these are the people who will translate into active leads and help empower the growth of our customers."

Read the full interview here

Gino Blefari: 'Simple' does not mean 'easy'

As the CEO of HomeServices of America and one of the industry's most powerful leaders, Gino Blefari is responsible for steering one of the biggest companies in real estate and maintaining a steady course during turbulent times. 

Gino Blefari, CEO, HomeServices of America.

While ever-optimistic, Blefari also offers some pragmatic advice to agents: "The bottom line is it never becomes easier. What happens is we become better at handling hard, right?" 

In his interview with Real Estate News, Blefari also shares tough love with agents, pointing to successful people like Warren Buffet. When the times got tough, "they outworked and outhustled everyone around. They're not there for good looks or charisma, they just outworked everyone," he said.

Read the full interview here

Nick Bailey: Staying focused on the long game

Just like his C-level executive peers, RE/MAX CEO Nick Bailey acknowledged that right now is not the easiest time to be an agent. But as a leader, he explained, he has to remain focused on what's still ahead. 

Nick Bailey
Photo courtesy of RE/MAX

"We've got great demand over the next 10 years for housing," Bailey told Real Estate News. He expects home sales to be in the range of 55 million to 60 million over the next decade as large numbers of younger millennials and Gen Zers enter their prime homebuying years. That's a big uptick from the current annual pace of around four million sales.

Even more, Bailey said that agents can still be working to improve during their downtime — or during a downturn — by cleaning up their prospects and leads list. In the coming months, agents "should be less worried about their data and more worried about their database," he explained.

Read the full interview here

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