By Paige Brown
Over 400 real estate brokerage owners and leading decision-makers participated in RISMedia’s latest webinar, “Leading Brokers Examine Today's State of the Valuation and the M&A Landscape.” George Slusser, partner at WAV Group and long-time industry veteran on brokerage valuation and mergers & acquisitions led the webinar of panelists including Mark McLaughlin, president of McLaughlin Ventures, Larry Rideout, chairman and founder of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, Rick Haase, president of United Real Estate and John Featherston, founder and CEO of RISMedia.
The webinar featured discussions about the state of valuation in today’s real estate market, and panelists shared personal experiences they have had with mergers & acquisitions, giving the hundreds of attendees a peek into the quality, in-depth conversations expected at RISMedia’s 34th Annual CEO & Leadership Exchange, happening September 6 - 8 at the historic Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
- The industry is quickly shifting to a buyer’s market. M&A will continue to be active and viable, but not at the same level, same valuations or the favorable terms we’ve seen recently for sellers.
- M&A transactions can be risky. Maximum value is all about reducing risk, agent retention and continued agent productivity. These are the key drivers of every successful transaction.
- In order to ensure that an acquisition is successful, one of the most critical steps to take is to listen to the associates. Many agents are not afraid to voice their concerns and compliments. Also, keep a close eye on the numbers. If they are not up to par, working together to find solutions is an important part of making a company integration successful.
- Every brand has its own business model, and within every brand, there is a culture, which plays a critical role in the M&A landscape. As a buyer or a seller, you have to take the time to get to know not just the company, but the people, their mission and what they represent—and you have to be strong enough to trust your instincts.
- From culture and diversity to training and resources, having a strong recruiting and retention strategy is fundamental for successful M&As.
Here’s what our esteemed panelists had to say:
- “I believe that M&A activities are at a critical tipping point. It may have been obvious, but the last year has seen a huge amount of industry consolidation. It’s been the most active market I’ve seen in over 40 years. The huge increase in the quantity of home transactions is the perfect opportunity for both buyers and sellers to benefit. In this market cycle, there are more potential buyers than ever before.” -George Slusser, partner at WAV Group
- “We’re not in the real estate business, we’re in the people business. And if we don’t get the people right, nothing else matters…When it comes to M&As, you’re buying a business from people, and the motivations and expectations of those people are very different.” -Mark McLaughlin, president of McLaughlin Ventures
- “We’ve done about 13 mergers & acquisitions, and what’s most important to us is the culture of the company. One of the most important things when you’re trying to mitigate two companies is that they believe and think the same way.” -Larry Rideout, chairman and founder of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty
- “If you don’t get scale, then you probably don’t have enough revenue in your company to pay agents what they want, need and deserve today to be able to recruit and retain them. Integration and bringing companies together is what makes the M&A work. If you have a recruiting strategy, but you don’t have a retention strategy, you end up on a hamster wheel that’s just a tiring place to live. If you don’t have integration or retention strategies in place that are really working well, you’re going to end up on that hamster wheel, as well.” -Rick Haase, president of United Real Estate
- “If you’re doing your homework correctly and you’re investigating not just the financial aspects, but the people and the culture, you will have less spillage and breakage on the backend of M&As.” -John Featherston, founder and CEO of RISMedia
For more information on the state of valuation and the M&A landscape in today’s real estate market, check out the full webinar here, and don’t forget to claim your ticket to RISMedia’s 2022 CEO & Leadership Exchange here!
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