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RISMEDIA, March 3, 2010—Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC announced the addition of Florida 1st, a leading Ft. Lauderdale-based real estate brokerage, to its growing national franchise network. Florida 1st will now operate as Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st. With this new affiliation, the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate network now has more than 100 offices and 4,400 sales associates in 13 states.

“Florida 1st is a brokerage that is wholly focused on the consumer, working to understand home buyers’ and sellers’ needs and then delivering on them,” said Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. “It is no wonder the company is known for having customers for life. This philosophy fits perfectly with our brand and is aligned with our iconic main street values. We look forward to supporting the Florida 1st team as it continues to grow in South Florida, and we are pleased to provide Gene Whiddon and his team with the superior tools they need to accomplish this mission.”

According to the company, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st was founded by Gene Whiddon in 1995 and has since grown to more than 300 full-time, seasoned and committed sales associates in six office locations serving the Broward, Dade and Palm Beach areas. Whiddon, a 25-year real estate veteran, will continue to serve as the company’s CEO.

“Partnering with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate provides us an extraordinary opportunity to work with a brand that truly understands our values and our consumer,” said Whiddon. “With this new affiliation, we are looking forward to building our presence across key markets to grow our business and attract new talent, and also to provide additional content and tools for our consumer. As we enter this next generation of real estate, we are uniquely poised to understand and communicate with today’s Web-savvy home buyers and sellers.”

In the coming years, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st will turn more attention to millennial buyers, or Echo Boomers, who have an increasing presence in the South Florida region as well as broadening the company’s reach overall through lifestyle marketing, increased advertising and improved digital consumer tools.

With the addition of Florida 1st to the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate network, all MLS property listings in its market areas will now be accessible through, which offers home buyers and sellers comprehensive content and resources. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st ( sales associates will now have access to a wealth of resources, tools and information on the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Extranet.

“The Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand is looking to the future of real estate in a way that no other franchise can claim,” added Whiddon. “We are proud to be joining this exceptionally thoughtful and experienced team.”

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