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In this week’s HW+ member spotlight, Rich DeNicola, chief operating officer at Realogy Expansion Brands, including Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and ERA. In his role, he is responsible for domestic and international operations, financial management, franchise performance consulting, network engagement and portfolio brand growth strategy.

He has also served as as chief operating officer of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, as well as senior vice president of Membership Development for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

Below, DeNicola answers questions about housing:

Casing Wire: For starters, what is your current favorite HW+ article?

Rich DeNicola: My favorite HW+ article is the Real Trends Brokerage Compensation Report. One of the biggest questions we get from growing franchisees is how to scale their business with staff. This article not only provides a template of how the top companies staff their businesses, but also by region. It is a phenomenal resource for any real estate agent owner.

Casing Wire: Wwhat has been one of your greatest learning opportunities?

Rich DeNicola: My greatest learning opportunities have come in times of crisis. Navigating the business environment during the early pandemic and financial collapse of 2008 were incredibly stressful times full of uncertainty. We had business issues to manage and, most importantly, we needed to make sure our franchisees had the resources they needed to successfully manage their businesses.

Fortunately, during my career at Realogy, I have worked with and exposed to incredible leaders and mentors. The lessons I’ve learned from simply watching and listening have been immensely helpful in directing my thought process and how I respond to problems. There is a huge difference between leaders and managers and it is times of crisis that bring out the best leaders.

Casing Wire: When did you feel successful in your job?

Rich DeNicola: I feel successful in my job when I hear from our franchisees that their businesses are more successful because of the links to our brands. I often hear stories of how the relationship has affected them personally, their agents and their families. This is why I get out of bed every day and go to work.

Casing Wire: What do you think are the major themes for the housing market in 2022?

Rich DeNicola: Inventory will continue to be a major issue for the foreseeable future. We all know the statistics on how new construction has lagged behind the needs of the country over the past ten years. I often hear from our franchisees that state and local building codes in their area discourage builders from building entry-level and mid-range homes.

I think this is a big problem that needs attention. Builders won’t build if they can’t make the profit they need to run their business. I would think that if there is something that could get bipartisan support, it would be a problem like this.

Casing Wire: What is one thing people don’t pay attention to that you think they should pay attention to?

Rich DeNicola: One thing I don’t think people pay enough attention to is blockchain technology. I’m not talking about simply investing in Bitcoin and certainly not the meme cryptocurrencies or pump-and-dump craze investments. There’s technology here that will drastically change the way industries work and I think we’re going to see some interesting applications in real estate in the coming years, especially around simplifying and digitizing the transaction.

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