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Broker Best Practices: International Growth

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By Paige Tepping

Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate recently announced its international expansion with the signing of its first master franchising agreement outside of the United States.

Under this agreement, Rob Vanden Broek and Nelson Goulart are responsible for franchising, marketing and operations of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate throughout Canada. This significant milestone comes three years after the launch of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and marks a valued addition to the company’s approximately 7,000 agents servicing 23 states across the U.S. Vanden Broek and Goulart also launched the brand’s first two Canadian residential real estate brokerage offices, which now operate under the banner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Signature Service in the greater Toronto area.

Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC, and the principals of the brand’s first international master franchise discuss what makes this an ideal relationship and what this significant milestone means for the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate system.

Why did you decide to expand internationally into Canada?
Sherry Chris: Our goal for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate was to first build a strong, core network in key U.S. markets, which we have achieved despite a challenging economy. Our strategic plan includes expansion via franchising into other countries, and Canada was an appealing first step due to geographic proximity along with similar language and cultural concepts. We received many inquiries from interested parties and, ultimately, we found Rob and Nelson to be the right team to lead this effort because they share our brand’s core values and they have the experience and entrepreneurial spirit to drive strategic growth through franchising and talent attraction.

What made Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate the ideal strategic choice for you?
Rob Vanden Broek: No other real estate franchise can offer the benefits provided by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, a brand whose core name has been central to people’s homes and lives since 1924. Nelson and I wanted to build a new, innovative company that would be refreshing to Canadian brokers, agents and consumers, whose value proposition and unique positioning could not be replicated. We have closely watched the brand’s rapid and strategic growth in the U.S. We are going to apply the same innovation, technology, service, marketing and talent-attraction best practices to Canada.
Nelson Goulart:
Two unique advantages that Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brings to the table are the relationship with Meredith Corporation and the strength of Realogy, giving us unique access to an iconic lifestyle brand, marketing channels and resources combined with the support of the world’s largest real estate franchisor. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is also ahead of trends regarding technology, service and talent attraction, which are important distinctions for attracting real estate professionals who want the latest prospecting and service tools that add value to an increasingly sophisticated client base.

Now that Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has taken its first step toward international growth, what is next?
Sherry Chris: In the immediate term, my goal is to help make this Canadian relationship a shining example of the success Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate can have outside the U.S. We are committed to smart growth, which means that we will continue to expand into strategic U.S markets and fully intend to continue the international growth of our lifestyle real estate brand well beyond North America.

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