Don Ha and the growth of RE/MAX New Zealand in 2020

When the RE/MAX brand expanded into four new countries in the first of half of 2020, it also recognised its resilient global leaders who championed entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology.

As part of this recognition, RE/MAX global leaders singled out RE/MAX New Zealand CEO, Don Ha.

Mr Ha is the first New Zealander to own the region in its 24-year history with the brand, with the sale of the regional master franchise to Mr Ha conducted entirely over Zoom.

Since April this year, there has been exponential growth in the RE/MAX network in New Zealand.

“I had every opportunity back in February-March to back out of the deal because of the crisis and all its unknowns,” Mr Ha explained.

“But still I went ahead, because I saw the acquisition of RE/MAX New Zealand as bigger than the short term.

“I settled on April 1 – and then things got more serious with the pandemic!”

RE/MAX New Zealand has recently announced seven new offices, crucial re-signings, several office expansions, while applications are currently being processed for at least two new franchises.

While the country was in lockdown, Mr Ha was doing franchise presentations on Zoom in big numbers, over the whole country, with the aim of growing his network of offices.

“We were reaching so many more people and it was a wider and more varied audience than we would have reached had we still been able to do things the traditional way.

“Our message was one of ‘how to reinvent yourself’ and it was delivered as a very strong message. We were teaching people how to reinvent themselves in business and that resonated with many kinds of people.”

Among those now heading new RE/MAX offices are existing agents who stepped up to ownership, business owners pivoting from travel and banking industries, and business owners wanting to expand their offering.

“One example is Paul and Sue Robinson’s very successful travel business, with great business leaders and very skilled team.

“They are now turning all that experience into success in the real estate industry.

“Another is Neil Craigen, who was regional manager with one of New Zealand’s largest banks. He saw a pending restructure as compromising his financial future and personal life. He is now a business owner in control of his future.

“Another instance is a very good busines that wanted to future-proof by adding a second string to its bow, so Steve Ropper’s busy renovations company is now in the business of real estate with two professional teams working side by side.

“We have existing owners opening second and third offices, we’ve opened Project Hub, a first-of-its-kind real estate retail shop on the ground floor of our Auckland head office, and we are excited to be opening Thariq RifkiIvan and Julie Wong Kee’s office in  New Zealand’s capital, Wellington,” Mr Ha said.

Creating new business is Mr Ha’s passion but it is a passion steeped in culture and sharing success with others.

“I don’t just sell a franchise,” he said.

“I sell a legacy. I make financial freedom and wealth creation possible, thereby providing for generations to come. It is very personal to me.”

A new office opening in Westgate shows the depth of the RE/MAX CEO’s personal connection with his network.

“This is a wonderful story of two young people with vision for the future,” he explained.

“I first met Rozele and Ryan Singh just after they were born. I sold their parents their first home in my first year in real estate.

“I’ve advised on their parents’ business investments for more than 10 years, during which time they went from owning one McDonald’s franchise to three, using property investment to increase business opportunities.

“Rozele and Ryan are now 26 and 20-year-olds. Both now have university degrees and have decided to buy a RE/MAX franchise with their parents’ financial support and under my guidance.

“They will be the first sister-brother RE/MAX business owners in New Zealand. I have advised this family from 1996 to today, and that is what I mean by ‘selling a legacy’.

“Also, Milan Maharaj and her husband Roshan Anand are opening RE/MAX Rise, Mt Wellington. Milan has been coming into my company’s office with her mother Mala Maharaj since she was 10. Mala is now Chief Operations Officer, RE/MAX New Zealand.

“I am proud of the Singh family, Milan and of all the new and existing businesses and their owners, and of the RE/MAX brand because our network growth represents all those people who have not allowed this coronavirus and crisis steal our entrepreneurial spirit,” Mr Ha said.

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