Tom Kunz is a senior leader at Engel & Völkers, one of the newest and fastest-growing premium real estate brands in North America. As head of the brand’s Coaching & Accountability group, he offers his 30-plus years of experience in the real estate industry to support franchise owners and their agents in the development of business plans, tracking growth and profitability, and maintaining and growing leadership positions in the markets where Engel & Völkers is operating. As a true real estate legend, he has held almost every position in the industry, including president and CEO of a large national brand.
Real Estate magazine: How did you get your start in real estate?
Tom Kunz: I started in real estate early on working with my dad who bought duplexes and managed rentals. Then, I met someone who programmed Canon calculators to perform residential real estate and accounting calculations for real estate professionals. We started a company called MK Computer Corporation and offered 10 different types of residential and accounting programs. We ultimately sold our data to TRW, which was in the process of developing a nationwide MLS. I went to work for them, and that’s how I moved from Utah to California. I began meeting with the largest real estate brands in the nation about the technology we were developing. That’s how I got to know Century 21—where I eventually went, and ultimately became president and CEO.
RE: What is it about real estate that continues to drive you?
TK: Despite all of the changes I’ve seen in real estate, there continues to be an overabundance of agents and businesses that aren’t operating at their fullest potential. My passion, my “why,” is to help them achieve their potential, and what continues to drive me is the need to take what I’ve learned in my years in the business and use it to assist brokerages in putting together solid business plans, helping them to generate leads, nurture those leads, make sales and create lifelong relationships with their customers to grow their business even more.
RE: After you served as president and CEO of Century 21, you built a new career as an author, speaker and consultant. Then you joined Engel & Völkers to help launch a new brand. Why did you decide to come back to real estate?
TK: I believe that a brand has to go beyond recognition. A true and successful brand has to be recognized by its substance. When a name and logo are backed by high-quality service and products, and is done consistently throughout an entire network, the industry can change as a result. Engel & Völkers has a unique culture, core values and a passion shared by everyone who represents the brand that allows them to maintain a level of quality and consistency that stands out in the industry. Engel & Völkers is unlike any other real estate brand I’ve seen, and I’m extremely fortunate to help bring this standard to more North American markets.
RE: What do you see as the future of real estate?
TK: Technology will continue to make processes more efficient for both the consumer and businesses. The process of buying and selling a home will become more efficient. That experience will become a new standard in premium, luxury service—available to the masses. And, just as it is today, it will be in the hands of the local real estate business owner and agents who have to be able to identify and adopt the tools and enhancements that’ll keep them ahead of consumer expectations to be competitive and successful.
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