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RISMEDIA, January 15, 2011—In a constantly changing industry, it is crucial that real estate professionals always look toward the future and embrace the tools and technology that will keep them at the leading edge of the market. Here, Ed Krafchow, Chairman of the Board, Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate in Pleasanton, California shares his tips for how he is setting his company up for success in the future.

Ed Krafchow
Chairman of the Board
Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate
Pleasanton, California

Region served: Northern California
Years in real estate: 25+
Number of offices: 38
Number of agents: 2,000
Average time on market: Homes priced over $3 million: over a year; $1-$3 million price range: 12-18 months; REOs are generally off the market in days or weeks.
Favorite part about working in real estate: The sense of community that comes with the business.

What tools and resources are most critical to your ongoing success?
As a company, we have always spent time investing in tools and services to help our agents find success. To that end, we focus on information technology and tools we can provide our agents with that they can then pass along to their consumers. The newsfeed we provide to our agents is one way they can keep their clients up-to-date with the market realities. As part of RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN), for example, we are constantly provided with valuable information that we distribute to consumers to help them make good real estate decisions.

How are you working to make sure you stay ahead of your competition?
Our affiliation with Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate is a great way for us to stay ahead of our competition. We also understand that keeping up with technology doesn’t allow you to better yourself, it simply enables you to stay ahead of the curve. Better Homes and Gardens is reaching an influential audience through many of the online channels they utilize. If you’re looking to stay ahead, you need to focus on providing the right tools in a simple way. Staying ahead of the competition depends on your participation in the latest technology as well as understanding where today’s consumer research is taking place.

How has your affiliation with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate helped position your company for future growth?
This affiliation is a significant investment for our company. Our agents are excited about the tools Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate provides. They are extremely important since they affect how we interact with the consumer of the future. PinPoint, a database that allows brokers access to 85 million consumers who have a relationship with the Better Homes and Gardens brand through the Meredith Corporation, customizes demographic and geographic segments creating a targeted direct mail piece that links through a fulfillment vendor. This is invaluable access to reaching interested home buyers in the area and reducing the amount of unwanted mail. Since affiliating with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, we have seen our transaction counts trend upward, and this additional activity comes directly from the excitement of having affiliated with a young and vibrant brand.

What makes your company unique in today’s market?
Mason-McDuffie Real Estate has been an active participant in real estate since 1887. We have always been a leading-edge company with regard to innovation as well as our commitment to provide our agents with the necessary tools to remain competitive in a changing industry. Our affiliation with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate provides us with a unique perspective on the real estate market in that Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is a company that sells lifestyle, and we are constantly working to provide the opportunity for our customers to find the future they want.