Lady executive wants to change PH real estate
Re/Max, the American real estate company known for its hot-air balloon logo, has reintroduced its brand in the Philippines to capture the rapid expansion of the residential and commercial properties in the country.
The Denver-based firm, which is originally named Real Estate Maximum, uses a franchise system that handles a network of more than 150,000 real estate agents across 100 countries, including the Philippines.
Re/Max appointed 42-year-old Michelle Perlas as the country manager for the Philippines, to support Guam-based Leonard Campos, who is the president of both Re/Max Philippines and Re/Max Micronesia.
“Why is Re/Max here? The country is actually in the midst of real estate boom and we are just right on time. This boom is part of a bigger economic rise for our country. The Philippines is no longer the sick man of Asia,” says Perlas, who had worked as a marketing executive for major Philippine companies for 20 years before joining Re/Max.
Perlas says Re/Max teaches its franchisees/brokers to get to know their clients. “We want them to talk to their prospects and find out what these people want versus what they need. This is how they can be effective brokers. In the end, what we will have are happy customers and that’s why we are here,” she says. The franchises are individually owned and operated.
Perlas, who obtained Bachelor of Science in Commerce, Major in Legal Management from De La Salle University in 1992 and Master of Arts in Education from the University of the Philippines in 2012, was the head of marketing of SIAL Specialty Retailers Inc., a joint venture of Store Specialists Inc. and Ayala Land Inc., which launched Wellworth Department Store as the anchor store for all Ayala developments.
She also served as head of marketing and public relations of Globe Telecom and before that, as marketing manager of Megaworld Corp. promoting Newport City and Eastwood City.
On what Re/Max can contribute to real estate, Perlas says: “the idea really is to professionalize the way real estate is done in the country.”
Re/Max collects monthly and annual dues from its franchisees who act as independent brokers between real estate developers and buyers of condominium units or commercial properties.
Franchisees in return get the Re/Max brand and receive proper training and advertising support.
Perlas says while Re/Max Philippines has been here since 2012, it is now aggressively promoting the brand “as the Philippine market is now very ripe for the kind of concept that we have offered to all our real estate practitioners in 97 other countries.”
“We aim to change the landscape of real estate by offering this Re/Max brand. We have unparalleled training events, 24/7 online continuing education program and a vast global network,” she says.
Perlas says Re/Max has the necessary tools and information all its member agents get exclusively. “What we offer to real estate practitioners is an end-to-end solution. Our agents are equipped with education and training, the Re/Max way,” she says.
She says Re/Max does not only teach agents how to sell. “What we want to do is equip them with right tools that have proven effective, tried and tested in other countries. We have 97 member countries worldwide and it has been very strong in North America and Europe,” she says, adding that nobody in the world sells more real estate than Re/Max.
“There is a lot of value added. We have platforms. We have technology suite. We embrace technology. A lot of brokers/agents, real estate practitioners are very mobile and well-connected and it is very useful. But what kind of solution do you need? It is all in Re/max,” she says.
Re/Max currently has 20 franchisees and 100 agents in the Philippines--numbers that Perlas aims to see increase in the coming months. “There is a rise in car sales. The economy is booming. It is right for Re/Max to be here.”
She believes that the real estate industry in the country will continue to benefit from the expanding economy. “There are a lot of things going forward for the Philippines right now. One is the Asean integration and next is the good GDP growth. We have a lot of multinational companies and BPOs in the country. There is also a backlog of 7 million homes in the Philippines alone,” she says.
“The franchisees that we have now are focusing on residential, but there is also a big market for commercial and luxury [properties]. These are three product lines in Re/Max. We cover both buying and rentals,” she says.
Perlas envisions Re/Max Philippines as “the sole aggregator of these developers and all these players in the real estate echo system, because we are neutral.”
“We are the only group in the Philippines with this concept. We work with all the developers. They are talking to us so that we can carry their portfolio. So far, we have Rockwell Land, Vista Land, Federal Land, Filinvest Land, Megaworld, and we are talking to Ayala, Robinson’s Land, almost everyone actually. Re/Max is like a convenience store, that carries all the brands,” she says.
Perlas cites the advantage of being a Re/Max franchisee. “If you are out there selling high-ticket investment, you need a big brand to back you up. That is why Re/Max is there. Franchising Re/Max is actually a business. They are brokers who are now institutionalizing their profession into a business,” she says.
Campos, the president of Re/Max Philippines, says Re/Max will bring the best practices in real estate in the world to the Philippines, with franchisees expected to benefit in terms of Re/Max branding, training and technology.
Perlas says Re/Max also aims to build trust among buyers. “We can help developers and agents to sell legitimately, credibly through the referral system in Re/Max,” she says.
Campos says consumers consistently want good customer service. “That’s the key to real estate. The two benefits for buyer and seller is to get professional service that they can have. Re/Max really focuses on the training,” he says.
“We are not trying to take over the way real estate is done. We are trying to enhance it. We are trying to offer training technology that will enhance it for the consumers. Through the franchises and the network, we hope to accomplish some change but mainly on the consumer side,” says Campos.
“As an internationally recognized brand with global presence, we are proud to be in one of the world’s most exciting markets which is the Philippines. We hope that we can be an active part of our continuing growing economy through Re/Max, whether you choose to be a Re/Max franchisee, agent or client. Re/Max offers you benefits that will help you succeed all step of the way,” he says.