RISMEDIA, July 26, 2011— Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate LLC is celebrating its third anniversary with a growing network of 6,858 agents across 198 offices in 22 states. Since launching the franchise in July 2008, the lifestyle real estate brand has continued to grow significantly and maintain exciting momentum throughout one of the country’s most challenging housing markets.
“It’s been said often that necessity is the mother of invention, and Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate is clear proof of the truth to this adage,” says Sherry Chris, president and chief executive officer for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “Major shifts in both the economy and the demographics of the home-buying population, along with significant advancements in technology and communications, have forced the real estate industry to reevaluate its most ingrained business practices. We launched Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate with a clean slate in 2008. We architected our brand with the mission to transform the real estate industry for the better—for brokers, agents and for consumers. Three years later, our continued growth, momentum, and the recognition we enjoy for our service and technology innovation reinforce that we are delivering on that promise.”
Rapid, Strategic Growth
Chris, along with her team, have—versus last year—grown the agent base of the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate franchise network by 35% and increased the brand’s office count by 45%. According to the company, the brand has achieved all of this while remaining committed to strategic growth. Since its launch, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has partnered with companies that share the brand’s business values of passion, authenticity, innovation, growth and excellence. These companies embody the characteristics of the next-generation brokerage—specifically, a commitment to using technology to transform their businesses, embracing new business models, empowering the informed consumer with better service and information, and looking beyond the transaction to form meaningful, long-term relationships with clients.
With the recent signing of Phoenician Properties earlier this month, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is now represented in Arizona as well as many of the nation’s top real estate markets in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
According to the company, over the past 12 months alone, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has achieved a number of major growth milestones worthy of celebration, including one of the largest real estate franchise transactions in parent company Realogy’s history. In September 2010, Pleasanton, California-based Mason-McDuffie Real Estate, Inc., joined the Better Homes and Real Estate family serving the Northern California and western Nevada markets. Since their affiliation with the brand, they have added six offices to their company.
“Becoming part of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has energized our company on many different levels,” says Ed Krafchow, chairman, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Mason-McDuffie. “Everyone knows the brand—it has local and global appeal. It has given our agents something new and exciting to talk to their clients about, and has helped put us on a great recruiting growth path now and for the foreseeable future. This was one of the most strategic, beneficial decisions we have made in our company’s long and successful history.”
According to Joseph Rand, managing partner and general counsel of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, whose company joined the brand in the spring of 2009, the decision to affiliate with the brand was based on many different factors. “We believe Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is the future of the real estate industry, and we are proud to be a part of it. It focuses beyond the transaction, and is committed to a greater quality of life for individuals, families and communities. Beyond all of this, we saw the opportunity to join forces with a brand that gave us growth opportunities we simply did not have with other franchise systems. In the more than two years since we have been part of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, those opportunities have been realized.”
Industry thought leadership, technology innovations, and the creation of unique lifestyle content have helped distinguish the brand from the competition since its launch, according to the company. Sherry Chris also continues to push the franchise to the forefront of social media adoption by leveraging her personal appreciation for innovative and emerging technology. Taking a lead from Chris, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brokers and agents across the country are engaged with their spheres of influence via Twitter, FaceBook and other multi-media platforms. In addition, the brand rolled out a number of exciting technology and social media innovations this year:
• Clean Slate Blog – The company blog (www.bhgrealestateblog.com), which is written by senior executives from the brand, was re-launched this summer with a new look and feel, including enhanced feeds from the brand’s industry-leading social media and multi-media platforms. The blog offers insights into the industry from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate’s team of experts, including regular posts from Chris, and is enjoyed by thousands of readers each year.
• Lifestyle Search – As a lifestyle real estate brand, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate embraces the trend that today’s informed consumer searches for a community as the first step to finding an ideal home. This summer, the brand launched a new lifestyle search function on the home page of its award-winning website, www.bhgrealestate.com, which enables prospective home buyers to search for communities that have the qualities most important to them. Search options include commuting preferences, quality of schools, convenience to retail stores or health services, proximity to golf courses, as well as a number of other important factors in consumers’ lifestyles that have to do with “Family and Community” and “Arts and Recreation.”
• Flipboard Integration – In May, the @bhgrealestate feed became part of the featured content in the “Business & Finance” category of Flipboard, the world’s first social magazine. @bhgrealestate was chosen for its “timely, informative news and interesting curation” according to editors of the popular iPad application which has been downloaded by two million people. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is currently the only real estate franchise featured in the “Business and Finance” category comprised of top business magazines, news wire services and thought leaders including Fast Company, CNN Money, Fortune, The Economist and Inc.
Committed to Service
According to the company, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is dedicated to the success of its franchisees through a number of unique network-wide tools and initiatives. Some of the most talked about initiatives over the past 12 months include:
• PinPoint – Last summer, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate launched PinPoint, a proprietary direct marketing tool available exclusively to its brokers and agents which leverages Meredith Corporation’s U.S. database of more than 85 million consumers who interact with the Better Homes and Gardens brand through the magazine, website, and through other Meredith brands. Using PinPoint, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brokers and agents have been identifying potential clients, winning listings, and expanding their spheres of influence through custom demographic and geographic segmentation, while creating targeted direct mail pieces through an online platform that links to a printing-and-postage fulfillment vendor.
• Fusion 2011 – Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate held its first brand networking conference in February 2011 at the LEED® Gold certified ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, which was designed to give its broker and agent community a forum to network and learn. Industry thought leaders were on hand to share best practices, trends and insights with attendees on topics ranging from social media, marketing and sales best practices, and achieving your personal best as a real estate professional.
• Luxury, Urban and Commercial Programs – This year, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate unveiled a new brand extension strategy to enhance the lead- and revenue-generation opportunities for its brokers and agents. The new brand programs designed for the luxury, urban and commercial markets, which launched between the spring and summer of 2011, further empower the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate network to capture the full range of real estate opportunities in and beyond their local markets.
• Talent Attraction – Supporting the brand’s franchisees in attracting the next generation of agents, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate held a national online career event in June reaching more than 300 real estate agents and prospective agents throughout the United States. The webinar served as a platform to demonstrate the career opportunities that exist in the real estate industry and underscored the brand’s commitment to provide its network with innovative services and tools to recruit new talent and grow their businesses.
For more information, visit www.BHGRealEstate.com.