February 20

A Word with the Boss: His home sales record is through the roof

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

David Banks, who founded RE/MAX By the Bay in Portland 20 years ago, sold more than $109 million worth of real estate last year, believed to be the first time an individual has eclipsed the $100 million mark in residential real estate sales in Maine in a year. Banks first worked at Shaw’s supermarkets, starting as a bagger and working his way up to management, where he became the grocery company’s senior real estate analyst, determining where to build the chain’s stores in New England. He also sold residential real estate part time, and in 1993 he resigned to go into residential real estate full time, opening his own firm the next year. RE/MAX By the Bay has 13 employees and offices in Portland and Portsmouth, N.H.

click image to enlarge

David Banks, founder of RE/MAX by the Bay in Portland, says his great support team helped him be part of 243 transactions in a single year.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Q: Was it difficult to shift from buying and selling commercial real estate to residential?

A: It’s totally different. For Shaw’s, I was looking at demographics and doing analytical work and looking where the business (for the stores) would come from, but on the residential side, it’s looking at individual needs. I really enjoy the residential side.

Q: Last year was a record-setting busy year for you.

A: I was involved in 243 transactions last year. I wake up every morning and say, “How in the heck did I do that?” I have a fantastic support team. My son, Michael, is my director of operations and runs the offices, so I can just concentrate on listing and selling real estate. I also have two buyers’ agents and four administrative support people and a full-time marketing person and two listing coordinators, so it’s really supported by my team. I have a coordinator who is with me probably 90 percent of the day, and when I get out from my appointments, I know what my priorities are and I can put my priorities in play for my clients.

Q: What’s your role?

A: I do all the pricing and negotiations for all my clients, and my team members will help after a sale is negotiated – they will keep all the paperwork together, schedule all the inspections and keep the process going. I go to almost all the closings myself. When I meet with clients, I will basically say that a specialty I have is the negotiation part, so they rely on me for the strategy and negotiations and pricing.

Q: Do you work with buyers at all?

A: I have two buyers’ agents who only work with buyers, but I am there as a consultant for the buyers’ agents, and if the buyer wants or needs my expertise, I am there. There are also some buyers who are past clients who I work with.

Q: After the bursting of the housing bubble, what are the strongest parts of the real estate market?

A: One of the things that we have seen is there’s been some good demand in the new home market because there have been so few new home developments. Even with the market soft, people were still driven to new development. The demand was still there (during the recession), and in today’s market there’s a lot of interest because there was such a long time period when new homes were not being built.

Q: Was the development of new homes a big victim of the recession and pullback by lenders?

A: The risk out there from the banking standpoint was to individual builders. It was viewed as high-risk, but the developers that went out on a limb and did new housing were very successful.

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