An Interview with Tom Clarkin on How to Build a Lasting a Legacy and Retire Well

The Best in Growth video series takes you behind the scenes with RE/MAX Broker/Owners – past and present – to talk about their experience with RE/MAX. Join Dan Breault, EVP of Franchise Sales and Strategic Growth, for this episode with former Broker/Owner, Tom Clarkin. Tom shares his experience with RE/MAX – from becoming a Broker/Owner to selling his company 15 years later. You can watch the full video interview below or continue reading below for a summary of the interview with Tom.

Watch the Full Episode Here


1. How did you get started in real estate?

Answer: Both of my parents were in the real estate industry – owning and operating their own independent real estate brokerage. When I was 18, I got my real estate license. When I was 29 years old, I took over the family business and decided to build the brokerage to the next level – I had to make a change. For me to attract more agents and quality agents, I had to affiliate myself with a bigger name, a bigger brand, and RE/MAX, especially in Rhode Island, was the name.

2. What drew you to RE/MAX?

Answer: Being in the real estate industry from an early age, I always knew about and respected the RE/MAX brand. This business has many highs and lows, and I wanted to affiliate myself with a brand that could weather the highs and lows of the business. RE/MAX had a reputation of being the best in the business, having the most experienced agents in the business, and I wanted to affiliate with a brand that could weather those storms. I took my brokerage and moved it over to RE/MAX and never looked back.

3. How did you first get started with RE/MAX?

Answer: I reached out to RE/MAX Broker/Owners Dave and Linda, owners of RE/MAX Five Star who had a lot of respect in the real estate community, and asked if I could run an idea by them. We sat down, and the rest worked itself out from there. Once I got affiliated with RE/MAX and got to know Dave and Lynn better, they were really my support line at the beginning. They were the people I leaned on, and they really help indoctrinate me into RE/MAX.

4. Can you tell us about the support Broker/Owner support network?

Answer: Dave and Linda and the network of Broker/Owners in Rhode Island helped make the transition extremely easy. I could pick up the phone and call any of the Broker/Owners in the RE/MAX network.

5. How did RE/MAX INTEGRA help with the transition?

Answer: I leaned on RE/MAX INTEGRA during the transition and appreciated the ability to call anyone in the RE/MAX INTEGRA leadership team and get the help I needed. If you need support, you can pick up the phone and get ahold of someone who’s going to help you – no matter where they are on the company’s hierarchy.

6. Any regrets looking back on your 15-year career with RE/MAX?

Answer: I never once regretted the decision to join RE/MAX. The support I received from RE/MAX INTEGRA has always impressed me and helped ensure my brokerage’s success.

7. What made you start thinking about selling your brokerage?

Answer: I started to think that maybe the brokerage needed to have a younger face running the brokerage. I didn’t think I had maxed out the office, but I knew I needed to change something up, so I called John. We bounced a few names around – we were looking for someone with great energy, great vision. I didn’t want to get out of the business completely, but I wanted to let someone take charge a little bit and see what they could do with the business.

8. How was the process of finding a new owner for your brokerage?

Answer: John and I did a lot of brainstorming. At the end of the day, I decided that I wanted someone who knew the value of the RE/MAX brand and someone who was involved in the brand already. Our brainstorming eventually led us to Mike Gallagher, RE/MAX Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Real Estate Center, who had a track record of success. We hit it off right away and started the initial conversations about a potential partnership.

8. How did your Franchise Sales Consultant, John Downey help you with the transition and the decision?

Answer: John was a huge help during the transition. I have no partners here, and it was so nice to have John to talk to – I trusted him and his opinions. John met with me countless times, answered all my phone calls, and really helped me figure out the best path forward. His involvement and knowledge of the network ultimately led me to the opportunity with Mike Gallagher

9. How was the process of selling your company and transferring ownership to Mike?

Answer: The sale of my brokerage and the transition to a new owner was handled smoothly and without any hiccups. I can’t think of any glitches we had – it was typical and exactly what I expected from RE/MAX INTEGRA.

Main Takeaways

Takeaway #1: If you want to next-level your brokerage, consider making a change.

If you feel like your brokerage has reached its potential as an independent, that doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel and sell. Consider making a switch to a well-known brand like RE/MAX – which can help power your business to new heights and help you attract top producing agents.

Takeaway #2: Building a brokerage is hard – don’t do it alone.

Owning and operating your own brokerage can be difficult – especially when you don’t have a support team around you. One of the things we heard in our interview with Tom and that we hear from many of our Broker/Owners is how powerful our international support network of Broker/Owners is. Many of our regions have close-knit Broker/Owner communities that you can tap into whenever you have a question about anything.

Takeaway #3: Find a Franchise partner who is there for you every step of the way.

As we heard from Tom, when he started to think about the next step for his business, he called the person who helped him invest in his real estate franchise in the first place, John Downey. When you start your ownership journey with RE/MAX, your relationship with our team doesn’t end there. You have a lifelong friendship and relationship with those people you go through the process with, and they are always a call away.

We hope you enjoyed this first episode of the Best in Growth Series with Tom Clarkin. Episodes will be released every month and provide you with a deep dive into the Broker/Owner Journey. If you’re interested in learning more about Franchising, you can visit our Franchising page, or if you want to set up an introductory call with one of our team members, you can fill out our contact form here.

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