How did your background with startups prepare you for launching a joint venture?
Kuba Jewgieniew: Launching a joint venture is essentially starting a new business. Even when you are working with two established entities, your joint venture will operate as something new. Over the past decade, I’ve been an investor in startups, and one thing I learned early on is that in any relationship or any business, you don’t only invest in the idea or the concept, you invest in the people. We have had success in the joint venture arena because we’ve taken the care to invest in the right people. Our main differentiator is our two assets—our people, who represent our culture, and our branding, which tells our story.
What was missing from your market that led you to your joint venture?
KJ: Our market needed a business model that could withstand economic changes and provide lasting value. Our joint venture satisfies that need through its mission to create a unified real estate and lending experience for the customer. It truly reflects the “ONE” component of the Realty ONE Group.
Explain to us the ‘one’ cornerstone of your organization.
KJ: ONE represents unity—that through togetherness, we all achieve more. Our mantra is “EveryONE Wins Together.” We drive each other’s successes and achieve milestones, and we celebrate them. We do what we say. We’re action people. It’s very simple, very straightforward. Our purpose is to make a positive difference in people’s lives around the globe, and our next chapter, I’m proud to say, is that we’re becoming an international brand.
How did you choose your joint venture partner?
KJ: It takes time to get to know each other and go through the vetting process and make sure there is a strong alignment before moving forward with a joint venture agreement. We’re not going to just “test it out.” We want to launch a joint venture partnership the right way, and there’s definitely a process and a discipline to it. Our purpose is not profit; our purpose is to make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives—starting locally. Our business is hyper-local. So, we want to make a difference in peoples’ lives in the place that we work, play and serve. The lender partner we’ve chosen has the same exact beliefs.
Simply put, the foundation of any lasting joint venture is trust. And the trust is that your partner is the expert in their field. We don’t have multiple partners and unnecessary “noise” trying to influence us, so we have the freedom to choose who we do business with and how we do business, and how we do business is very much aligned between our organizations. The joint venture should reflect a bond that both entities commit to long-term and grow together over time.
What have you done to convert agents to trusting your joint venture?
KJ: Our brokerage was built on the foundation of listening to our agents. Listening turns to understanding. To get our agents to truly care about this partnership, we’ve listened to them explain the local dynamics of this market, and we built a model to serve it.
How are you recruiting loan officers to work with your joint venture?
KJ: We are a volume and value play. We give agents opportunity and empower real estate professionals to use the savings to reinvest back into their business. When a loan officer joins our organization, they get access to this growing network of mega offices. It’s an opportunity to work with hundreds on hundreds of real estate professionals in every area of expertise.