Stanford Raffles Realty Franchise

Industry Q&A with Stanford Raffles Realty's CEO, Dr. Jin Lee

Provide an overview/ description of your industry.  Include reasons why it’s a great industry to start a business in today.

The Real Estate Brokerage Services can be treated as one of the industries that will survive the ups and downs of economic cycles, much like the Medical or Education industry.   When the economy is up, consumers and investors both invest in real estate and the transaction volume goes up above baseline.   Baseline is defined as the usual requirements for Real Estate Brokerage Services as in a Divorce, Death or Relocation.  Now, when the economy is bad, there are property owners that are desperate to offload the properties and there are always buyers for a great deal, and this also occurs above baseline.  Hence the Real Estate Brokerage Services industry is a relatively stable industry.   The reason why many brokerages did not survive in economic downtimes is because although the transaction volume is there, the transaction price value has dropped.  Being dependent on high commission splits means that the revenue value will also drop.   While their cost structure remains high, broker-centric brokerages will face many challenges in economic down periods. Thus the Agent-centric model, with efficient and effective cost management, makes the Real Estate Brokerage Services industry attractive.

How has your industry changed in the last 10 years? 20 years?

The traditional Broker-centric brokerages were founded at a time when we have no internet or the ipad or the iphones. Hence real estate buyers or sellers are very dependent on the brokers to broker the deals.  Thus it makes sense then that the brokerages drive the business to the agents, collecting a huge commission in return. Times have changed.  With consumers now having firsthand information about the listings through various websites, they seek guidance from agents in the transaction process.  Hence the agents now drive the business to the brokerage using their relationship with their clients.

What trends do you see in your industry over the next 5 years?  Next 10 years?

We will see more and more Agent-centric brokerages trying to conduct business as consumers are getting more and more proficient in selecting properties and only need the agents to provide certain services.   Brokerages will no longer be acquiring the clients but will be the agents that primarily do so.

What is the biggest concern about your industry that a franchisee candidate should be aware of and investigate?

The main concern here would be to investigate the number of transactions, agents and brokerages in the region. A potential area needs to be one where there are existing multiple Broker-centric brokerages.

Why do you think your company stands out in the industry?

The Stanford Raffles Realty franchise model stands out simply because with its efficient and effective cost management model coupled with the revolutionary brokerage model, we will create a shake-up of the Real Estate Brokerage Services industry. 

What makes your franchise/ business opportunity more attractive than your competitor’s?

Our leadership, brand and cost structure would have an edge over the competition.  Also, our inhouse technological advancement and global lead referrals will give our agents a competitive advantage.

Describe the ideal candidate.  Do you think your requirements are any different than your competitor’s?

A successful franchisee would be one who had prior experience in a Real Estate transaction whether as a buyer, seller, investor, agent or broker. Existing brokerages that convert will have a faster learning experience, although that is not an essential requirement. Franchisees who are enterprising, entrepreneurial, have some business background or a business degree and who have liquid capital of $50-100K would be successful adopting the Stanford Raffles Realty franchise model. We have a strict selection criteria and only the applicants with greatest potential to succeed can adopt the Stanford Raffles Realty franchise model.

What’s the strongest skill you require in a candidate?  

The ability to be resourceful and build strong relationships with agents and clients.

Describe the working environment of your franchisees.  Is your environment typical of other companies in your industry?

The franchisees will have a Stanford Raffles Realty branded office to operate with efficient and effective cost management.  This is the primary differentiator to other companies with similar models.

Why has your company been successful?

Our leadership, vision and potential market threshold of the franchise model are the key reasons.   Our CEO Dr. Jin Lee, has a PhD in Marketing from the University of British Columbia, BC Canada.   With his prior work experience in the Financial and Real Estate industries, plus his quantitative background in Electrical Engineering and Marketing Research, he is able to provide strategic direction, technological innovations and effective management strategies to our partners and franchisees.   Our vision is also not only to provide an agent-centric brokerage, but also to provide a premium brand through effective and efficient cost management. Finally, with most of the agents currently in broker-centric brokerages, this presents a huge potential market threshold for our franchise model to capture and expand market share.

We are also able to identify multiple revenue streams, build on retaining top agents and recruit and train brand new licensees to adopt the Stanford Raffles Realty way of conducting real estate business. 

What advice would you give someone interested in buying a franchise in your industry?  

Keep your cost structure low to survive the initial phases.    The liquid capital is not only to pay for franchise fees and office setup, it is also critical in bridging the gap while building the relationship to have a sustainable agent count for profitability.

How much experience in this industry should a franchisee candidate have should they consider buying a franchise in your industry?

No experience required.  They need to have conducted a real estate transaction before as a home buyer or seller, investor, agent or broker.  We will train the franchisees in the Stanford Raffles Realty way of conducting business.

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