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How Fast-Growing RE/MAX Keeps Attracting New Realtors

Because of solid support, the number of agents in 2017 ballooned to 116,000.

This story appears in the January 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

A few years into his career selling , Matt van Winkle reached a crossroads: He could continue as an independent or build a bigger office where he could mentor other agents. "In our market, there's an assumption that if you're independent, you're a discount agent," he says. "I wanted a lot of support and technology, and I wanted a everyone knew but was underrepresented in this area."

Courtesy of RE/MAX

Related: 8 Proven Ways to Make Money in Real Estate

He found both of those qualifications in RE/MAX, the 45-year-old , whose hot-air balloon is an instantly recognizable corporate symbol. Van Winkle opened his office six and a half years ago, and now, at age 34, he's state's highest-grossing RE/MAX , with an impressive 235 agents working out of his firm.

These are the success stories RE/MAX loves to tout, as it transforms the careers of brokers nationwide. RE/MAX opened 59 new U.S. franchises in the first quarter of 2017, and it promotes growth by supporting brokers like Van Winkle with website design templates, a mobile app, and that priceless brand recognition -- and in turn, brokers bring in and mentor new talent. "It's a winning model that offers outstanding customer service and a strong global brand that has led the industry for more than 40 years," says co-CEO Adam Contos. The company saw 12.5 percent revenue growth in 2017. By the second quarter of 2017, the total number of RE/MAX agents had grown by 5.7 percent from the year before, to more than 116,000.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Real Estate Is a Great Investment

For Van Winkle, being a broker-owner means spending less time at open houses and closing meetings. To be successful in a large market like his, he says, brokers can't sell real estate and keep up with the demands of recruiting and supporting agents. "The brokerage owners I know who are the most successful? None of them sell real estate."

For more on franchises, check out 2018's Franchise 500 list.

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