The Most Powerful People in Real Estate

By  the Swanepoel Power 200, Special for  USDR

The principal executives of the world’s largest real estate franchise companies, Realogy, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Keller Williams Realty, RE/MAX, and Coldwell Banker dominate the 2015 edition of the Swanepoel Power 200 (SP200), accounting for nearly 20 percent of the most powerful and most influential leaders in the residential real estate brokerage industry.

Holding the number one spot for the second consecutive year is Richard A. Smith. “Smith, the Chairman, CEO and President of Realogy, is our selection as the Most Powerful Person in residential real estate brokerage for 2014/15,” says Stefan Swanepoel, Editor-in-Chief of the SP200 list, and author of over 25 real estate books and reports. “While there are others who have higher personal profiles, within the industry there is no doubt that none have more power and influence in almost every aspect of the residential real estate brokerage industry than Smith,” he added. Realogy owns half of the top 10 brands in the industry: Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Sotheby’s International Realty, ERA, and Better Homes and Gardens. With approximately 13,600 franchised and company-owned offices, and over 240,000 brokers and agents worldwide, Realogy touches one out of every four home sales in America.

Moving up one spot to the second most powerful person in real estate, and top influencer in the Technology Executives category—which accounts for 15 percent of the list—is Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow as he leads one of the biggest power moves that the real estate industry has ever seen by acquiring Trulia, its chief rival and the second largest real estate portal, for an eye-popping $3.5 billion. The joint company will top 140 million monthly unique users, nearly four and a half times its nearest competitor.

Other major power players list include Gary Keller, founder and Chairman of Keller Williams Realty International; Dave Liniger, founder and Chairman of RE/MAX; Wesley Foster, founder and Chairman of Long and Foster; Jim Weichert, founder and President of Weichert Realtors; and Dale Stinton, CEO of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Climbing in the rankings from last year, and making it into the top 10 this year, are the leaders of the two largest brokerage companies in the country, Bruce Zipf, President and CEO of NRT LLC (the largest owner and operator of residential real estate brokerages in the U.S. with over 720 offices and 45,000 agents generating over $150 billion in annual sales), and Robert Moline, President and COO of HomeServices of America, the wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, the second largest brokerage company in the U.S.

Helen Hanna-Casey, President of Hanna Holdings, joins the top 20 as the highest-ranking woman in 2014/15, taking the top women’s spot on the SP200 from Margaret Kelly, the former CEO of RE/MAX who retired in 2014. Three noteworthy newcomers to the SP200 are Ryan O’Hara, the newly appointed CEO of Move, Inc. after the company was acquired by Rupert Murdoch of News Corp.; Former PayPal, LinkedIn, Yelp, YouTube, and AirBnB entrepreneur and now founder of Opendoor, Keith Rabois; and Kevin J Kelleher, CEO and President of Cartus Corporation, a global relocation subsidiary of Realogy that serves 50 percent of the Fortune 50 with corporate group moves, international assignments, and government/military programs.

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