Always on the lookout for tools that will help his firm grow, Scott MacDonald, broker/owner and president of RE/MAX Gateway in Chantilly, Va., is a big believer in RISMedia’s ACE (Automated Content Engagement) social media program.
“I started using ACE about three months ago, and I see it as a great opportunity for content-rich material to get out to my different social media networks without my having to find it and put it up there,” he says. “There may be 2-3 times a week that I do it myself, but with ACE, there’s consistency in what they provide—and good content—and it’s amazing what people will read and comment on.”
For example, ideas MacDonald never would have thought of for content posts, such as one recent article pertaining to the best paint colors to use when staging a home, have been getting the most views and likes.
“These stories get people to look at what I’m putting out there, and it’s getting really good traction; it’s just another spoke in the wheel for branding us and our company,” says MacDonald. “It’s a great way to stay in front of our clients, expose the brand and let people know we’re there.”
Working primarily in Northern Virginia, MacDonald has seen some strange anomalies over the past year. Although there was approximately 28 percent less inventory year-over-year, and sales were up 5-8 percent, prices were flat.
“Over the last five years, we’ve had 4 percent appreciation overall in Northern Virginia, and it’s really odd because we’ve been posting good sales numbers,” says MacDonald. “We had 71,000 new jobs created in the area, leading to more sales, but a lot of those jobs were not super high-paying jobs.”
Forecasting 2017, MacDonald feels it will be a strong year, as long as the inventory comes. As of mid-January, there were just over 4,000 houses on the market, the lowest he’s seen in four years.
“We thought there would be more of an uptick after the new year, and I believe we’ll see it in February,” he says at press time. “Still, even last year was a good year. We were up 6.6 percent, so a lot of REALTORS® are making money.”
In 2016, the firm acquired one company, and MacDonald is hoping to add at least two more to the fold in 2017. The firm’s managers are also refocusing some of their efforts on recruiting in order to grow organically.
One of the ways RE/MAX Gateway attracts agents is through a real estate exchange program it offers, where REALTORS® from the area are invited to take part in an evening where a mortgage and title company speak, and people share information. This provides a glimpse into the type of environment the firm offers and helps them get more exposure for pre-marketshares.
“We have great people,” says MacDonald. “When someone comes into our company, they know they’re getting good advice. Everyone is there to help one another, and we provide a plethora of training.”
Vitals: RE/MAX Gateway
Years in Business: 16
Size: 6 offices, 176 agents
Regions Served: Maryland, D.C. and Virginia (mostly Northern Virginia)
2016 Sales Volume: $ 780 million
2016 Transactions: 2,600
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