Founded in 2000 by entrepreneur Matt Widdows, HomeSmart International is continuing to make waves in the residential real estate industry. What began as a brokerage firm with just two agents, a receptionist, and the dream of a new real estate brokerage model with high-touch customer service, low agent fees and efficient technology, HomeSmart International has morphed into a true national real estate franchise powerhouse.
In fact, the company recently reached a huge growth milestone, exceeding the 10,000 agent mark in its United States-based franchises. A milestone that comes off of several consecutive years of positive growth trends since the company first began franchising in 2009, today, HomeSmart International boasts 10,130-plus agents in 86 offices across 15 states.
“We believe the growth Home-Smart is seeing across our franchise system can be attributed to the adaptability of our model in any market for a variety of different brokerage types,” says Ashley Bowers, president and chief operating officer at HomeSmart International.
Another key piece of the puzzle in the firm’s growth over the years can be traced back to Widdows’ commitment to offering agents integrated, proprietary technology and systems to support their day-to-day business needs. A voluntary Centralized Services program, launched in February 2015, provides brokers with comprehensive marketing, a fully-staffed call center and agent hiring experts who are able to manage agent recruiting and support brokerage growth for individual franchisees.
“The new Centralized Services program is designed to take the weight of agent recruiting off the individual broker by enabling our franchise support team to help brokers manage this aspect of their businesses,” adds Widdows, the company’s chief executive officer.
Today, just under 50 percent of all HomeSmart franchisees are participating at some level in the Centralized Services initiative, freeing broker/owners up to focus more on helping agents grow their businesses.
HomeSmart International also launched an aggressive franchise sales and merger/acquisition campaign in the fourth quarter of 2015 as part of its overall growth strategy. Over the last six months, HomeSmart International has increased its office count by nearly 10 percent via franchise sales and franchisee expansion nationwide, with several more slated to open throughout the second quarter of 2016. Additionally, more than 77 percent of all HomeSmart franchisees posted net positive growth numbers for 2015, with three holding No. 1 spots in their markets for agent count.
“We’re committed to expanding the HomeSmart brand into new markets all over the U.S., and are doing so through a strategic combination of franchise sales and mergers and acquisitions,” says Bryan Brooks, senior vice president of franchise sales for HomeSmart International.