RE/MAX Maverick Installed as CRS President

Leigh Brown of North Carolina will lead the
Council of Residential Specialists in 2017

By Katharine Davis

December 2016

The impassioned and straightforward Leigh Brown has long been a respected voice within the industry. Now the Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Executive in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the 2017 CRS National President.

Installed during the Realtors Conference & Expo in November, Brown says she sees her new position as an opportunity to focus on education and advocacy. Brown, who replaces outgoing President and RE/MAX Broker Associate Janelle Pfleiger (with RE/MAX Dynamic Properties in Anchorage, Alaska), shares her vision in this Q&A.


Congratulations on becoming the 2017 President of the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS)! What does this achievement mean for you?

“It’s an honor, to be sure. To be selected to lead the largest affiliate of the National Association of Realtors means that I’m leading the charge for the top agents in the industry. That’s a tall order and one that I believe is worth the time invested.”

What led you to this presidency?

“I’ve served on committees and forums for CRS previously but hadn’t served in a leadership role. That’s proof that if you’re working hard and are energetic, whether in elected leadership or in self-created roles, there’s opportunity to create change. The experience I’ve gained from having been a leader within other organizations, including my local Habitat for Humanity affiliate and at my church, has definite benefits.”

Why do you think it’s important to become involved in organizations outside of RE/MAX?

“The breadth of ideas and energy (and referrals!) grows when you learn outside of your existing network or brand. RE/MAX is still the finest organization for real estate entrepreneurs, but we certainly don’t have a monopoly on good people or good ideas. But it’s great for OUR brand to be represented in volunteer organizations inside and outside the industry. It showcases the depth of our Affiliates’ professionalism.”

Why is the CRS designation so valuable to real estate professionals?

“It’s been said that a license gets you started. GRI gives you the foundation to survive. CRS gives you the tools to build a profitable business. It’s definitely a step up for the professional who wants to create a sustainable business. I’ve encouraged my team to chase the designation so that we can always provide a top-notch experience to all consumers we touch. We can tell our marketplace that all members of our team are committed to being the best in the industry, and we can tell our referral partners that they won’t have to be concerned about their clients being handled by someone ‘green.’”

It’s been said that a license gets you started. GRI gives you the foundation to survive. CRS gives you the tools to build a profitable business.Leigh Brown

How has CRS helped shape your career?

“The CRS classes were eye-opening for me – they helped me better understand how to run my business at a higher level. The referral network has been instrumental in providing opportunities for transactions as well as professionals who are willing to share ideas.”

What do you hope to accomplish with the 31,000+ members of CRS during your tenure?

“I have two primary goals. One is to get the organization refocused on its core competency of great education, which you will see mirrored this year in 17 new offerings. Educational delivery is moving as Realtors mirror their consumers’ behaviors, and CRS needs to respond to that in order to reach its existing membership and future members.

My second goal is to get the CRS network better engaged with the Realtor Party (RPAC). Top producers in the industry should be, and often are, the most engaged in local advocacy efforts and can affect consumers on many levels.”

How can the CRS designation help RE/MAX Affiliates become even more successful?

“RE/MAX agents are known for being the best in the industry. And the best know that you have to keep learning to stay successful and relevant. None of us are able to coast for long! There are CRS classes to address whatever gaps agents identify in their own business. Want more referrals? Take the CRS 210 class for action ideas. Want to work with investors (and learn how to better buy property for yourself with good spreadsheets)? Take the CRS 204 class for tools you can use with your existing database. My best advice is to take classes outside your home market. If you’re in Kansas City and know that you do a lot of business with relocation clients from Dallas, take a class in Dallas and build the referral network while you add to your tool belt of real estate ideas.”

What is the biggest advantage, for you personally, of being with RE/MAX?

“RE/MAX is still the network of entrepreneurs. I’m a free thinker who’s willing to try just about anything to build my business and improve my Team Members’ experience. RE/MAX allows that freedom while still providing the credibility of the world’s most respected real estate brand.”


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Rick, most new agents work primarily with buyers because buyer leads are easier to get, easier to convert, and the reality is that most new agents’ personal sphere of influence is primarily non-homeowners when they start. Therefore the ABR designation is the first one I would get. After that go for the GRI. Don’t take the GRI courses too early because you will get a lot more out of it once you have 6-10 transactions under your belt. The CRS designation you wont be eligible for until your production/experience reaches the CRS minimums, so that one you’ll get last. Good luck!

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