When Kim Lund started First Realty in 1990 with his late wife Brenda Tibbetts Lund, he knew he needed an edge to be successful in Cayman’s highly competitive real estate market. That edge came when in 1991 he was able to convince the founders of the RE/MAX brand to grant a franchise in the Cayman Islands, even though they had reservations about expanding internationally.
In the 20 years since, RE/MAX Cayman Islands has grown into an industry leader on Grand Cayman.
Along the way, the Lunds sold half of the company to James Bovell in 1998, who had joined RE/MAX Cayman Islands as a sales associate four years before. The partnership gave the company a new energy and focus that allowed it to grow almost exponentially.
International accolades have followed, for the company as well as its agents.
In 1998 and 1999, Lund was the #1 salesperson for RE/MAX worldwide, which consisted of 80,000 to 90,000 agents at the time.
Although they have different personalities, the strong relationship between the two owners is essential to the success of the firm.
“Our relationship has been a unique form of partnership. We have never had a difference of opinion,” says Bovell, who is in charge of running the office. “As far as the company goes and how we do things and how we make decisions, it is always mutually agreed.”
The amicable relationship between Lund and Bovell sets the tone for the rest of the office.
“The nice thing is that as much as the [agents] are competing with each other, we are still sharing ideas on how to all improve our business and that’s one of the fundamentals about RE/MAX itself, because the goal is to have the best agents with the most experience doing the business,” says Bovell.
RE/MAX strives for the best sales associates and in part this is achieved by compensating them better than anywhere else. “Remuneration is key,” says Bovell.
“But it is also about the environment that is put in, the structure, the technology, the training, education, all of these things that fall in line to provide the whole envelope as to why someone would want to be in this environment.”
Lund says everyone in the group has a voice. As a result there is not so much a management and staff structure, but rather one comparable to a law firm where partners work alongside the associates.
“The way RE/MAX works, we are more like partners within the office, all of us.” The results speak for themselves.
“So it tends to work very well that way,” says Lund. “We have built a powerful office right now that sells hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate.”
Lund says the focus on associates differentiates RE/MAX from other companies. By advertising the associate and the associate’s direct telephone number, RE/MAX empowers the agent as opposed to the company.
Community support and involvement are also an important part of the RE/MAX philosophy. “People in our lives have helped us and it comes from the community,” says Bovell. “So we are very committed to the community of the Cayman Islands and also to protecting Cayman and its place in the global economy, to see that prosper and benefit.”
Lund had his company join the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce from the very beginning, even before he attained the RE/MAX franchise. For the past 11 years, the company has been the title sponsor of the RE/MAX Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, a fundraising event which raises funds for the Chamber as well as for various local charities including Cayman HospiceCare and the Pines Retirement Home. The RE/MAX associates also get actively involved in the tournament each year.
Also annually, the agents and staff of RE/MAX Cayman Islands participate in the Earth Day Clean up, another Chamber of Commerce initiative.
Sales Associate Michael Joseph is currently a Chamber of Commerce council member and Bovell has also served on that council in the past, as well as being the Cayman Islands Real Estate Broker’s Association representative on the Chamber’s Council of Associations.
Lund says RE/MAX Cayman Islands endeavours to take an active role with the Chamber of Commerce. “This is because we realize and appreciate the critical role that the Chamber plays in giving local businesses a unified voice to government and the community,” he says. “We appreciate the efforts of the Chamber and will always give our support to them.”
RE/MAX Cayman Islands
Tel: 949 9742
7 Mile Shops, West Bay Road