Editor’s note: Published by the residential real estate strategic consulting and information firm Swanepoel T3 Group each January, the Swanepoel Power 200 (SP200) ranks the real estate industry’s most powerful, influential leaders. It also recognizes leaders in several subcategories, from technology execs to social influencers.
The SP200 rankings reflect a rigorous, careful evaluation process supported by data and a detailed methodology. To help make its selections, the Swanepoel T3 Group maintains a robust database, with stats and information on more than 3,000 real estate executives and leaders. It spends hundreds of hours poring over data, debating internally and verifying all candidates before settling on its list each year.
In the wake of the release of the 2017 list, the fourth, on January 9, the Swanepoel T3 Group is profiling leaders and executives included on one of the 10 2017 SP200 lists.
Robert “Bob” Moline leads HomeServices of America as president and its brokerage division as CEO. Collectively, HomeServices’ 35 regional brokerage giants have over 26,300 agents who do more than 230,000 annual transactions for $79 billion in sales, making it the nation’s second largest brokerage.
HomeServices has been on a roll: in addition to acquiring 1,300-agent luxury brokerage Houlihan Lawrence and making its New York City debut in January, the firm made big acquisitions in 2016, including Denver-based Kentwood Real Estate in June.
As president of HomeServices of America, Moline helps oversee the firm’s full suite of real estate businesses including franchising (including Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices), mortgage title and escrow, insurance and relocation.
A 30-year industry vet, Moline serves as one of the most influential voices in real estate. He is chairman of UpstreamRE, the broker- and franchisor-led firm that’s spearheading a new data management platform in Project Upstream.
This central industry position earned him a No. 11 recognition on the 2017 SP200 list and made him the second most powerful brokerage leader on the SP2017 Power Brokers list. Moline shared some leadership with the Swanepoel T3 Group in a Q&A presented below.
Describe your career trajectory.
I began my career as a certified public accountant and moved quickly from my first job at one of the nation’s largest accounting firms, Peat, Marwick & Mitchell, into banking. That chapter of my career occurred during the savings and loan crisis, which, while challenging, taught me a great deal about dealing with adversity.
My real estate career began in 1986 in Utah and progressed when I joined Woods Bros Realty in Lincoln, Nebraska, initially as chief financial officer and then CEO. In 2002, HomeServices of America acquired Woods Bros, and I was named president and chief operating officer of HomeServices in 2008.
What is your leadership secret?
You lead from the front in this world. This requires strong communication and explaining the “why” behind the importance of what you ask and making sure that you don’t ask people to do things you are not willing to do yourself.
It is so important to demonstrate you are willing to pitch in, roll up your sleeves and be part of the team. I believe in breaking down barriers and working toward eliminating conflict and practical drift quickly.
While I am not sure that there is one ingredient that describes effective leadership, I do believe it is important to control the things you can influence and avoid spending time or energy worrying about the things you cannot control. God will take care of those things you cannot control.
Bob Moline’s desk at HomeServices of America’s Minneapolis headquarters.
Favorite leadership books.
I have found many great books helpful through the years: “Good to Great,” “The Road to Reinvention,” and “The 3G Way: Dream, People, and Culture” each provide valuable nuggets for business.
I am an avid reader of historical books. Much can be gleaned from learning how great leaders solved problems and achieved monumental goals. Two books that come to mind are Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs and Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.
What’s at the top of your to-do list now?
To put HomeServices of America in the best position to compete in the future. This involves transforming our HomeServices’ brokerage companies and our industry to keep real estate agents relevant to consumers now and an in the future.
Favorite relaxing activity that’s not hanging with family?
Anything that brings me outdoors! Hunting, fishing and hiking are among my favorite things to do.
What are the biggest trends you see in the industry right now?
We must demonstrate a strong central focus on consumers so we can best serve them in the way they want to be served.
I believe there will be a housing shortage in the near future in the middle and low end of the spectrum. We must get cities, planners, developers and builders all working together to solve the need for middle- and low-income housing. There are not enough affordable lots to support the need and the costs to create affordable lots cannot all be placed on the new homeowner.
How are Project Upstream and Broker Public Portal progressing?
Both projects are coming along well.
When we first began, many thought the industry could not come together to accomplish such audacious goals. Now, the broker portal just signed a formal agreement with Homesnap. Support is building for the new app, which is the basis for the public portal. Upstream is launching test sites and will be coming of age in 2017.
I am proud of progress that has been made on these two projects and I firmly believe that the industry will be impacted for the better because of the foresight, collaboration, expertise and commitment of the those who worked so hard to protect and reform our industry.