Who are the most powerful people in residential real estate?

Who are the most powerful people in residential real estate, at least in the U.S.? Stefan Swanepoel, who authors the Swanepoel Trends and Swanepoel Technology reports, has released his list (working with consultant Rob Hahn).

What’s power? Swanepoel defines it, simply, as “the ability to make things happen.”

And how are people ranked? Swanepoel’s “Power 200” is based on a list of factors — how long someone’s been in the business, the power of his or her company, the office he or she holds, among other factors.

A caveat, from Swanepoel himself:

We know this is more art than science, despite our hours spent on numbers and computer models, and like art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
We recognize that long after publication, each of us will have at least a dozen individuals we think should be higher on the list.

Let’s start with the top five:

  1. Richard Smith, chairman and CEO of Madison, N.J.-based Realogy Corporation, the world’s largest real estate franchise
  2. Ronald Peltier, chairman and CEO of Minneapolis-based HomeServices, the second largest real estate brokerage in the country.
  3. Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Seattle-based Zillow
  4. Gary Keller, co-founder and chairman of Austin-based Keller Williams Realty International
  5. Dave Liniger, co-founder and chairman of Denver-based REMAX International

NAR makes an appearance at number 7, with CEO Dale Stinton, whom Swanepoel describes as “dynamic as he tirelessly explores the strategic options for restructuring and modernizing America’s largest trade association that represents almost 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.”

Several other NAR staff and volunteers are on the list, including senior vice president Bob Goldberg (#34), 2013 president Gary Thomas (#39), 2014 president Steve Brown (#51), now-retired general counsel Laurie Janik (#47), three-time (and current) treasurer Bill Armstrong (#58), senior VP and chief technology officer Mark Lesswing (#66), senior VP and chief economist Lawrence Yun (#102), senior VP of communications Pamela Kabati (#111), senior VP global business and alliances Janet Branton (#122), and VP of political planning Bill Malkasian (#197).

And we would be remiss not to call out the Virginians who also made the cut:

  • Wesley Foster and Jeffrey Detwiler of Long & Foster in Chantilly (#14 and #33, respectively)
  • Andy Woolley, vice president of Homes.com in Norfolk (#135)
  • Charlie Bengel, CEO of REMAX Allegiance in Alexandria (#142)
  • Todd Hetherington, CEO of Century 21 New Millennium in Alexandria (#145)

A few state and local association leaders also appear:

  • Bob Hale, CEO of the Houston Association of REALTORS® (#23)
  • Joel Singer, CEO of the California Association of REALTORS® (#36)
  • Ed Barisa, CEO of the Ontario Association of REALTORS® (#125)
  • Teresa King Kinney, CEO of the Miami Association of REALTORS® (#162)
  • Alan Tennant, CEO of the Calgary Real Estate Board (#200)

You can check out the entire list of all 200 at swanepoel.com/power200.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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