Alex Benjamin on You Move Me & The Future Of Real Estate

ALEX BENJAMIN recently joined You Move Me as President.

Alex is a true entrepreneur, helping professionals and entrepreneurs grow their own business and accomplish their dreams. Before joining the You Move Me team, he launched his own financial tech company, Lendful Financial, revolutionizing the banking industry and has worked in Australia, growing his expertise with over 17 years as a leader in entrepreneurship management, strategy and marketing.

AC: Why did you decide to join You Move Me as President?

ALEX BENJAMIN – You Move Me was and is an exciting proposition on a few fronts for me. A professional and investment opportunity coupled with a solid macroeconomic story made it an easy one to dig into deeper when I learned the owners were looking for a President this summer. After selling the company I founded, Lendful.ca in 2018, I was on the hunt to invest in and run a business that has a North American footprint that needed someone with my skills to grow it. Meeting the great team along with all our Franchise Partners, I grew confident that this is a platform that I can scale and so I gladly accepted the offer!

AC: What does this role mean to you?

ALEX BENJAMIN – The two things that immediately spring to mind are; (1) I want to make sure we delight our customers every day when they move homes or offices. That means that we need to go that bit further to ensure we do our jobs really well and when the inevitable mistakes happen, we take ownership of these, just like we do when we receive compliments; and (2) One of my core values is to help others experience professional and personal success and so this role means I get to live that day in and out helping my team develop and be great leaders. 

AC: How was the real estate market impacted by COVID-19?

ALEX BENJAMIN – Depending on where you live and the sector you work in, it has dramatically varied. To my mind, the major factors that impact any property market are confidence (how good do you feel about the future), job security (so you can service a mortgage), and interest rates (the price of borrowed money). This year with COVID-19, we have also had government support programs that have brought some much-needed stability for all Canadians and Americans. The big question for many is what will happen to people’s jobs and incomes when subsidies ease. At that time, no one yet knows what will happen to property markets. For my local market Vancouver, BC, Canada where I live, we have seen an uptick in inventory which has outpaced sales volumes.

AC: Where is it headed in 2021?

ALEX BENJAMIN – The unemployment rate is going to be the real driver of our property markets. If interest rates remain low and unemployment rates do not increase, we may see those who can afford to either buy their first property or upgrade to a new home, take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime low-interest rates. But I do not have a crystal ball and I encourage anyone who is considering transacting to stress test every possible scenario to ensure you can comfortably afford it. These include the scenario where you don’t have a job for a period of time; and where interest rates rise at some point in the coming 5 years.

AC: Why are so many people moving out of downtown areas?

ALEX BENJAMIN – Anecdotally, a lot of it is to do with quality of life, housing affordability and staying safe and healthy. 

AC: How has the moving process been impacted by COVID-19?

ALEX BENJAMIN – Undoubtedly, personal safety has been on the front of everyone’s minds in 2020. There is a lot of fear and uncertainty during the pandemic and You Move Me has taken every possible precaution to keep our customers safe and happy. We have various measures in place to facilitate a safe and smooth transition into your new space. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring franchise owners?

ALEX BENJAMIN – Do your due diligence on your options and research the competitive landscape of the industry you’re stepping into. Why will you succeed? The beauty of becoming a Franchise Partner with us is that we have a lot of experience supporting business owners to overcome obstacles. Part of your research should also include speaking to 20-30 different people in different franchise verticals to make sure what you want to do matches up with what the reality is like. Consider your personal goals and speak with existing Franchise Partners about their experiences and ask them, ‘does this work deliver those goals in their opinion?’ A large reason why investors and entrepreneurs choose You Move Me, is for the reasons I chose to work here – we are in a stable industry with good recurring revenues in one of the fast-growing segments globally, home services. We would love to hear from you if what I have shared here sounds interesting.