American real estate brand Re/Max forays into Egypt

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By Reem Abdellatif

CAIRO: With an eye on the country’s promising real estate market, North American real estate brand Re/Max has expanded its reach to Egypt, launching its first headquarters in Cairo.

Short for Real Estate Maximum, Re/Max has an international network of agents in more than 82 countries with more than 7,000 franchise offices.

Region owners Khaled Nasser and Nader Nashed bought the rights to operate Re/Max in Egypt and have recruited an all-Egyptian team.

Despite the hit Egypt’s real estate sector took in the first quarter of 2011 after the Jan. 25 uprising, Nasser, regional director of Re/Max, who has a background in contracting and real estate development, believes that the country has a “very solid” market that will continue to grow.

“Our faith in the Egyptian market as well as the country’s real estate sector is very solid,” Nasser told Daily News Egypt.

After living and studying in Canada for 12 years, Nasser was inspired to bring the real estate brokerage firm to Egypt due to its diverse, “unbiased” business model.

The company has high expectations for Egypt with plans to expand to Suez, the Delta region, Upper Egypt and Alexandria, the country’s second largest city.

With an “unbiased, third party” vision, Nasser said the firm plans to look at the needs of the market. Whether that means warehousing, agricultural facilities or homes, Re/Max will work to sell and provide various kinds of properties.

“Developers sometimes come to Egypt … and they don’t know what could potentially be the best investment,” said Nasser.

But with an Egyptian team, Re/Max plans to expand and provide developers with a clear vision on the local real estate market.

In the Arab world’s most populous country, with a significant youth segment, there continues to be a growing need for homes, office space and retail shopping centers.

Hoping to create the largest network in Egypt, the brokerage firm has plans to grow the country’s real estate sector by bringing in clients from around the globe.

“We are tied to a global network, so we can market through our internal network whether it is with clients in Asia, Europe or the United States,” said Mahdi Al-Olabi, head of franchise development at Re/Max.

Al-Olabi said the firm already has clients all over the European continent looking to buy or rent homes and retail locations in Egypt and the country’s once thriving real estate market is back to business.

“The real estate sector did bad last year, compared to previous years, overall some of the biggest projects were stalled, but once the country’s elections, parliament and political vision started to relatively fall into place, these projects started coming back,” he pointed out.

“It is inevitable to have a strong real estate market, whether residential, or commercial,” Al-Olabi added.

According to Nasser, Re/Max will also be focusing on all housing segments, whether low-mid income or high-end properties.

“Egypt has a culture of property ownership, every family or every young person dreams of owning their home and with a growing youth population, over the next 10 to 15 years, they are going to be starting up their own businesses, upgrading their homes, or getting new homes,” he said.

Nasser added that they plan to have agents who are cooperating together, not competing against each other, to develop the industry and create the “country’s largest real estate network.”

Currently, Re/Max has over 95,000 agents worldwide with a widespread presence in the Middle East in Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia and now Egypt. The company also operates in the Caribbean, Australia and South America.

Egypt’s office will be tied to a global network, allowing access to properties in Egypt and vice versa, according to Al-Olabi.

In 1973, Re/Max opened its first office in Colorado. The company also trains real estate agents in the US, providing workshops and training classes through its Re/Max University which opened in 2007.

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