In the seven years since Renee Buckhoff earned her real estate license, she’s learned a lot about the business – and even more about what she wants to get out of it.
After closing 93 transactions on her own last year, the Broker Associate knew she needed to build a team if she wanted to improve upon those results. She also knew she needed to be able to spend time away from the office – and with her husband and two children – every now and then. So when Coldwell Banker, where Buckhoff had worked her entire career, couldn’t support her ambitions, she found a brokerage that could: RE/MAX Vintage in Houston.
“The level of professionalism is completely different than what I experienced previously,” she says.
Together with two Coldwell Banker colleagues who also joined RE/MAX, and one new hire, the Broker Associate formed the Renee Buckhoff Group. Here’s what spurred the change, and why she says she sees a long future with RE/MAX ahead of her.
Why did you decide to leave Coldwell Banker?
My business had grown over the past few years to a point that I really couldn’t do more by myself. I went to everyone that had a voice in our particular franchise and talked to them about forming a team. The message I kept getting was, “We’re just not set up for that.” I was one of the top producers in the whole company, and I kept thinking, ‘Gosh, they’re just being so shortsighted.’ The cost of having agents work under me was completely astronomical. So I started looking at other companies that had really successful teams. And that led me to RE/MAX Vintage.
What made you choose RE/MAX over other brokerages?
I looked at Keller Williams, I looked at a local independent and I looked at companies around me that had really strong teams, because I wanted to duplicate their success. Gary Stallings, Co-Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Vintage, has a longstanding record of success and working with teams, and Peggy Rudolph, our other Co-Broker/Owner, has an outstanding reputation for being a person of integrity and leadership. When I sat down with them, it clicked. I felt like these are the people I need to align myself with; these are the people that I want to have as my accountability partners. I knew they were people that would guide me and not let me fall and make mistakes. I asked Gary if he would be a mentor to me and help me do what he’s done very successfully – and he said absolutely. That’s when I knew this was the right place.
What do your clients think of the move to RE/MAX?
Every single one of them has followed me. A lot of people have congratulated me because they know I’m growing my business and they know that I can officially talk about having a team. And I’m gaining more clients at RE/MAX than I would have gained before because my marketing is going further.
Has your business grown since joining RE/MAX?
In my research, I found that when you change businesses, typically you have a 25- to 30-percent setback. We didn’t though, which I think is just phenomenal. We’re actually about 10 percent above where we were this time last year. In my mind, that’s still 30-percent growth, like I’ve experienced in years past.
Do you feel more in control of your business at RE/MAX?
This is why I got into real estate. I was a stay-at-home mom and wanted to be in business for myself; I didn’t want to be a corporate employee. Real estate made sense because I could own my own business without having to own the company. I feel like that’s where I ran into a brick wall with Coldwell Banker; they couldn’t see I was trying to build something bigger.
Have you set any goals for you and your team since joining RE/MAX?
Last year, Houston Business Journal named me as the No. 14 real estate agent in the entire city of Houston. I don’t want to lose that momentum. My goal is for the Renee Buckhoff Group to be in the top 25 real estate groups in Houston from this point forward. There are 30,000 agents, so that’s a lot of competition. But I want to do it better than any of them, with more integrity and by providing better service for my clients.
What would you say to other agents thinking about joining RE/MAX?
If you’re looking to be a real estate professional and have a business of your own – and not have the corporate mentality – RE/MAX has so many strengths that will fit your vision. I have accountability to my Broker/Owners, but they’re not in my office every day telling me I need to order fliers or that I need to host open houses. If I don’t do them, I’m the one who’s losing; and if I do them, I’m the one who’s winning. If you’re ready to truly be the owner of a business and do more business, I think RE/MAX is a fantastic place to be.