The path that ushered Bill Reiman toward the top of real estate on Marco Island, Florida proves a times-old notion about success. Hard work, unflinching determination and natural talent all blend together in Reiman’s ascent as one of the few brokers on Marco Island, who also possess expert knowledge in home construction.
Today, he leads his own boutique real estate company, The Brokerage Real Estate Refined, where he is passing down a well of hands-on, hard-earned lessons to a team of real estate professionals. Tapping some of that invaluable insight, Haute Residence talked to Reiman about his career and the confluence of real estate construction and sales.
You started out in the home construction industry. How did you make the transition to real estate brokering?
Growing up, I had worked for my family’s construction company for years off and on. But when I graduated college and moved home to find a job, I began to work full time for RK Reiman Construction as a laborer. There was always something to do on a job site and I put in a lot of time and hard labor before I ever got into selling homes. Being out in the field and learning the construction business by actually swinging a hammer helped me learn a lot about homes and how they are built.
After a few years of hard manual labor, I decided I wanted to go a different path and to utilize my two college degrees in business and marketing. I also had a strong background in sales from a past job when I sold cars. I had a proven track record of being the top salesman consecutive months in a row. I knew I could do better than digging ditches and being a laborer for hourly pay. This was the turning point in my life. I started applying for jobs in sports because I was always into sports especially football after playing 2 years of division-one ball in college. But one day my dad sat me down and told me that I should go get my real estate license and sell houses. He knew how good I was at sales and how good I could be at selling homes so this was the moment that led me down the path where I am today.
I got my license and immediately had success specializing in new construction but also selling empty lots and homes on the side. My first year I sold more new construction jobs then my dad had ever dealt with in previous years. My second year I was ranked upon some of the top agents on Marco Island for real estate sales. I have now been in real estate for 7 years and a licensed broker for 2 years and have had a lot of success at a young age.
I have now started my own brokerage group and I plan on working with my own agents and teaching them what I know to expand my business and to grow into one of the top brokerages in Marco Island. Our family’s construction company is known for our quality homes and attention to every detail. I have the same reputation for real estate delivering the best service for every one of my clients using my knowledge of construction. All of the hard labor I did growing up has only made me a better broker and every one of my past clients will attest to this.
You are in a unique position as a home builder and real estate agent on Marco Island. What advantage does this give your clients?
The biggest advantage is the knowledge that I offer of how a home is built and should be built. My clients trust me and I give them a sense of security. I can see imperfections in a home that most clients won’t see. I can point things out that need to be fixed and also give them information and cost estimates on how to fix it.
I was with some buyers the other day and we went to four different homes. I was able to narrow it down to one home fast by just pointing at details and what one home had that the another didn’t have. They loved that aspect of it. Clients also have used me to acquire lots because I have the knowledge of what cost go into an empty lot prior to construction. There is a lot of factors in an empty lot that you can use in negotiation.
Clients see me as a huge asset because I have the answers to questions a lot of agents/brokers don’t. Being in construction my whole life has made me extremely passionate about homes and how they are built. I’ve always said that if you know the product you will have success in whatever you sell, I feel I know the product more than most and that’s why I stand out.
Although they might have some similarities, in what areas are home construction and real estate representation divergent and how do you bridge the gap?
The processes are different. New construction is a much longer process than taking clients out to buy an existing home. There is a lot more planning behind it. I have a lot more meetings with new-build clients to make sure everything they want is in the home. Especially being a custom builder. You have the planning, then designing interior and exterior, interior features, permits, walk-throughs, added items, etc.
With an existing home, you narrow down what they are looking for with detailed questions and then take them to houses that appeal to features and details they are looking for. The process isn’t as long when you find them the perfect existing home because it’s already built.
I bridge this gap by offering the best of both worlds within my business. I have new homes that we are building that a client can buy and add their personal touches to or I can narrow down their search for existing homes by cutting out the junk that they don’t want and is a waste of time to see. I also offer a perspective most brokers don’t have and can get them quick prices for repairs and connect them to contractors to get things done fast prior to moving in.
With your family-owned construction company, R.K. Reiman, you have built and sold new homes. How is the process of selling a new home you have constructed different from selling an old one?
New construction has a lot of pluses because you are selling a brand-new home with features that more people want today. Let’s face it most people want something new. Clients get the modern design and details most people are looking for. When building a home they get to design their dream home right from the beginning exactly how they want it. New homes are up to current building code and can be a lot more energy efficient. When people build new with us they avoid all the potential issues that can pop up with an older home and the home is also under warranty. The only downfall to new construction is the waiting period.
Most of the older homes need some kind of updating. I’m also pickier than others when helping buyers find an older home because of how meticulous we are when building a new one. I see a lot of imperfections that a normal person wouldn’t and voice my opinions. I see this as a positive and so do most of my clients because they want to hear what is wrong with a home and have the opinion of someone that knows. Being honest and voicing my opinion only helps my clients make the best decision when buying an old home.
Home construction and selling should intuitively move in the same direction to meet demand. Have there been points in time on Marco Island when this hasn’t been the case?
My family’s business has truly been blessed with 26 years of building on Marco Island. There were times when we were slow but we always had projects going. During the crash, we were one of the only builders still building on Marco. We have also had to change our strategy when building to transition towards what the market wanted. We were always known for our luxury homes but we had to build smaller homes for a couple of years because the luxury market was dead. Thank God that now the economy has really turned around and we are now back to building what we specialize in and that is luxury homes.
What construction projects are you currently working on to bring to the market?
We currently have 10 homes under construction and all are different sizes and styles. We have 3 new homes we have started or are about to start that currently are or will be listed for sale soon.
1151 Vernon Place is almost complete and is listed at $1,465,000. With 4,472 square feet total, the home offers a wide water view with quick direct access out to the gulf for someone who enjoys boating.
410 Spinnaker is about to start construction and will be complete by next year. It will be one of the premier homes on Marco Island. It’s a split-level home with the main living areas on the 2nd floor to catch the views of the Gulf of Mexico. With a coastal contemporary design, this home features a large outdoor living area, huge kitchen with double islands, large master bedroom and bath, glass opening to the outdoor living area and views, indirect boating access, and much more. Pricing coming soon.
445 N Barfield Dr is about to start construction and will be completed by next year and is to serve as a showcase of what award-winning RK Reiman has to offer.
What are your expectations for the construction and brokerage industries this year?
I think construction will continue to take off. A lot of people are wanting new homes right now especially after hurricane Irma. They saw how well the new construction held up versus a lot of the older stuff. The demand for new construction is high and I don’t see it slowing down with how the economy is only getting better.
Our reputation as a builder stands out above everyone else on Marco Island. We are known for our quality and detail and have been told multiple times by not only our past clients but also subcontractors how amazing our homes truly are.
My goal is to have the Reiman name in front of every luxury home in Marco Island. Real estate brokerages continue to get more competitive but I think that the smaller brokerages will be ok. Clients like the attention that they get from smaller brokerages and this is exactly why I started my own. I want it to be like a concierge service for all of my clients. Buying a home isn’t easy but I can help make the process just a little bit easier with my knowledge and connections in the construction business. You won’t get the service I offer from a bigger brokerage. This is where The Brokerage Real Estate Refined will stand out, especially in a small luxury market like Marco Island.