Planting the Seeds for Future Growth

Above, John Armstrong


RE/MAX Rising

Years in business: 8

Size: 1 office, 80 agents

Regions Served: Central Illinois

2023 Sales Volume: 1,100

2023 Transaction Volume: $270 million 

A second-generation REALTOR®, John Armstrong—co-owner and managing broker of RE/MAX Rising—initially resisted getting into the business over fear that he would spend too many nights and weekends working. But it didn’t take long to realize that this was the correct path for him.

Characterizing himself as “outgoing,” he spent 20 years as a successful agent before deciding to take the next step. 

In 2016, as part of an 11-person team, he formed RE/MAX Rising, and in just eight years, the firm’s agent count numbered 96, but now stands at a more comfortable 80. 

What’s unique about RE/MAX Rising?

John Armstrong: Our structure is very unique. Despite being a co-owner and managing broker, I’m also a team leader and one of 17 teams at my brokerage. We set the fundamentals for being a team leader. Once they’re a senior associate, they have 12 months and then I want them graduating off my team and staying in the brokerage, either starting their own team or being a solo agent. 

How would you characterize the state of your market in the first quarter? 

JA: We’re still in the really, really low-inventory range. One of our major employers has grown to a workforce of over 8,000 people, which has brought in huge buyer demand, so we’re seeing a lot of multiple offers over asking price.  

How do you ensure that you have the best tech and tools? 

JA: I keep my ear very close to the industry, paying attention to anything that comes out. I have a younger tech-minded staff that experiments a lot, and we’re doing a lot with AI. We have training three times a week in our office, with a technology one every two weeks, and we’re putting tools in place to work with agents who live further from the office.

What is your growth strategy in the year ahead? 

JA: The market dictates what we’ll do. With fewer transactions, I don’t want to grow to a point where we’re too big and our agents are competing with each other. I would rather grow in geography than stack more agents. 

Why are people attracted to RE/MAX Rising?

JA: We’re very present in the community. We have a one-hour radio show on Saturday mornings called “On the House With John Armstrong” where we talk real estate. We try to be the source of what’s going on in the market, and I believe that draws people to our company. 

What do you look for in a new agent?

JA: People who are hungry. A trick I learned from one of our agents who owned a brokerage is to ask people how old they were when they first started making money. That will tell you how motivated they are.  

What is the best piece of advice you can offer your team? 

JA: Pay attention to your brand. Whether you like it or not, real estate isn’t a nine-to-five job. You’re a REALTOR® 24 hours a day, so make sure you’re building the best brand you can. 

Why is now the right time to add a real estate school to the company? 

JA: One of my veteran agents is getting his instructor license, so we’re going to have a pre-licensing school in the office. We’ve targeted certain industries that we think would make great REALTORS® and have done some geofencing around where those people currently work to plant the seed that this could be a good career change for them.

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