A successful independent takes an upward leap and evolves past its ‘mom and pop’ roots
By Robin Roenker
In the 10 years since its founding, Cortiers Real Estate had firmly established itself as an award-winning brokerage serving the metro area of Bryan-College Station in south-central Texas. But Broker/Owner James Murr recognized both the business and his market had evolved since 2008. So in late August, he converted his 49-agent office to RE/MAX.
Cortiers Real Estate became RE/MAX Cortiers, a move punctuated by a 26-foot RE/MAX Balloon installed on the prominent roofline of the office, which sits off College Station’s heavily traveled Highway 6.
“We began researching how we could expand our mission to empower agents, and joining RE/MAX was the biggest and best step we could take,” says Murr, an alumnus of Texas A&M University, which has its main campus in College Station. “RE/MAX is the leading real estate brand in the world, and it has a longtime reputation for quality agents – which fits who we are.”
The support of the RE/MAX national and regional offices – including Region Vice President Dana Tuggle and RE/MAX Texas Director Mike Sumerlin – was instrumental during the transition, says co-owner Brittany Gibson, director of marketing and operations.
“Dana and the whole RE/MAX of Texas team were very supportive in helping us educate our agents on the value RE/MAX offers,” she said. “In fact, the regional tech team came to our liftoff event on Aug. 30 so they could show our Realtors the RE/MAX Design Center.”
A Perfect Fit
Broker/Manager Lori Morgan, the brokerage’s third co-owner, had been a RE/MAX agent before joining Cortiers in 2016. She was drawn to Cortiers initially by Murr’s humble leadership and supportive style of doing business – aspects that continue at RE/MAX Cortiers, she says.
As the brokerage continues to grow, the Cortiers team believes the RE/MAX affiliation – and the on-demand training and marketing tools that come with it – will enable their agents to better meet the needs of booming Bryan-College Station, a metro area of about 255,000 people popularly known as “Aggieland” that draws a diverse mix of buyers, from alumni and college professionals to students, medical professionals, retirees and others. “We have a wide range of clients, from people seeking ‘game day’ houses to farms and ranches,” Morgan says. “We see it all.”
Considering the evolution of his firm, the city and the real estate industry, the time was right for the change, Murr says. Cortiers Real Estate was a three-time winner of the Newman 10 Business Performance Award (2013, 2014 and 2015), which recognizes the county’s top 10 fastest-growing small businesses for their achievements and significant economic impact on the community. But Murr wasn’t content to rest on those laurels.
“Being an independent operator was fine while we were establishing the business and carving out a share of the local market,” Murr says. “But the world is changing. We’re no longer a ‘mom and pop’ kind of town. We need the resources and connections provided by an international network like RE/MAX.”
Aligning with RE/MAX delivers “exposure, tools and relationships that were previously beyond our reach,” Murr adds.
The office did consider other brands when looking to join a franchise organization – but only briefly, Gibson says. “People recognize the RE/MAX brand. They know it. They trust it. So to us, it was clear early on that RE/MAX was a perfect fit for our business.”