By Paul Lonardo
HomeSmart Professionals Real Estate is a national franchise real estate company headquartered in Arizona. Founded in 2000, HomeSmart International began franchising in 2010, and today is ranked as one of the top real estate franchises in the U.S., with over one hundred offices in 17 states and more than 11,000 associates nationwide.
In March 2014, when HomeSmart Professionals Real Estate opened in Warwick, it was the first HomeSmart office on the East Coast, with the nearest office located in Chicago.
“It was definitely something new for the area,” says Dean A. deTonnancourt, who is the Broker/Owner of the HomeSmart brand here in Rhode Island. “This state had never seen anything like it. It’s all very exciting.”
Dean deTonnancourt, a life-long Rhode Islander, is a well-regarded educator for local and state Realtor associations, a Past President of the Kent Washington Association of Realtors, and was recognized as the Realtor of the Year for the State of Rhode Island in 2014. He has been in the real estate business for 28 years, and firsts are nothing new to him. He was a former owner of Keller Williams Realty in Cranston, which was the first office for that brand in the state as well.
With their new branch location at 550 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, the team at HomeSmart has greatly extended their coverage of Rhode Island from their existing office at 501 Centerville Road, Suite #102, Warwick.
It’s a geographic area that is rife with opportunity, according to deTonnancourt. “Smithfield is perfect in many ways,” he says. “We wanted to be in northern Rhode Island, but we didn’t want to be too close to the Massachusetts border, as ultimately our growth pattern will expand over the border into the neighboring state. Smithfield allows us to bridge the gap between Warwick and Massachusetts, and Route 7 is an ideal location, allowing us to service clients in Smithfield and surrounding towns.”
The company now has almost 150 agents in Rhode Island, all of whom, while working under the HomeSmart umbrella, are independent contractors.
“What’s been exciting about HomeSmart is that, while it’s a national franchise,” deTonnancourt says, “we are running it locally. It’s very much based on the local market climate. It’s not a one-size-fits-all franchise. HomeSmart gives us the tools, technology, and the broker support that we need to run it effectively, but we’re truly running a local company that embraces what our agents need in the current, local market.”
Because of the high level of support HomeSmart provides its agents, there is a trickle-down effect that directly benefits their clients. The end result is that the consumer gets a better experience because the agents have better support in running their own individual businesses.
“We also have a compensation plan that is very attractive to agents,” says deTonnancourt. “We offer all the benefits of traditional brokerages, but we also offer a very competitive compensation model that allows our agents to keep more of their brokerage fee income, which ultimately translates to an ability to invest in their own business, enhancing the consumer experience.”
Because of the recent uptick in the real estate market, deTonnancourt believes that agents are feeling more confident in their careers and their ability to succeed, and that benefits everyone.
“Many of our associates are experienced and have been in business for some time,” deTonnancourt says, “so it’s not about the company name. We are in business with experienced associates who have already built their own brands, and they’re simply aligning with HomeSmart to help support their personal brand.”
HomeSmart’s approach works so well because consumers looking to buy or sell a home or property hire an agent, they don’t hire a company. The consumer hires a person, and that person, or agent, in essence hires a company to support them, to look out for them and provide tools that they need in order to support the client. HomeSmart has been designed for growth from day one, and Dean A. deTonnancourt has led the evolution of the company’s brand and how it has succeeded in Rhode Island.
“A contributing factor to our growth is the great team we have in our staff,” deTonnancourt says, “We completed our second calendar year ranking as No. 3 in the industry among top-producing offices in the state for transactions closed. Our first year, we ranked number 10. We’re not just a company that has a lot of associates. We are a company of associates who are selling real estate, creating respected name recognition in a very short period of time.”
HomeSmart Professional Real Estate’s long term goal is to establish multiple branch offices throughout Rhode Island, and surrounding areas. The bottom line, according to deTonnancourt is for the consumer to feel confident in HomeSmart associates and the education, marketing tools and broker support they receive from the company in achieving the consumer’s goals. Now an established brand in the Rhode Island marketplace, HomeSmart is here to stay.
For more information visit www.therhodehome.com.