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Company Renames NRT ‘Realogy Brokerage Group’

Realogy Holdings Corp. announced its fourth quarter and full-year 2019 earnings on Tuesday, reporting $5.6 billion in revenue in 2019, a 3 percent decrease year-over-year, and a net loss of $188 million. In the fourth quarter, the company generated $1.3 billion in revenue, a 4 percent uptick, and a net loss of $45 million.

Ahead of the earnings report, the announcement broke that NRT, operating the company-owned offices of Coldwell Banker®, Corcoran® and Sotheby’s International Realty®, would be changing its name to Realogy Brokerage Group, along with TRG, its title unit, to Realogy Title Group.

“As Realogy continues to transform its efforts in supporting our leading residential real estate brands, brokerages and businesses, we have made significant progress in simplifying our organization to focus on our core drivers,” said Realogy President and CEO Ryan Schneider in a release. “Renaming our operating and business segments further streamlines how we communicate our real estate service offerings and amplifies the Realogy name across the primary work we do.”

According to the full-year earnings report, the Realogy Brokerage Group agent base expanded by 4 percent, to 52,200, year-over-year. For the full year, the Brokerage and Franchise Groups’ combined home sale transactions, at 335,084, tumbled 1 percent, but, encouragingly, expanded 6 percent in the fourth quarter.

“In 2019 we accelerated our efforts to support and grow Realogy’s affiliated agents and franchisees, delivering new products and partnerships to enhance our value proposition, generate high-quality leads and enhance the consumer experience,” Schneider said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to CFO Charlotte Simonelli, “the fourth quarter marked a strong close to Realogy’s year, driven by solid performance, both financially and operationally, across the business.”

Since Schneider assumed the helm in 2017, Realogy has made moves to significantly streamline. In a December interview with RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine, Schneider bore confidence in the organization, pointing to its “incredibly strong financial position.”

“First, we have the scale,” said Schneider. “We have a very large presence nationally that allows us to partner with people who also want to be national…We also have an incredibly strong financial position that gives us the ability to invest in and support technology. We have all the pieces to make agents more successful.”

On a call with investors on Tuesday, Schneider acknowledged the company’s drop in marketshare, on both the brokerage and franchise sides, stating: “Our industry faced aggressive private capital pursuing marketshare without regard to profitability. We are not making the choice to go negative on profitability.”

Realogy brought into the fold numerous partnerships in the past year, most notably Amazon and the home-buying program TurnKey, which, through the Amazon website, assigns buyers to Realogy-affiliated agents, and grants them up to $5,000 in Amazon Home Services and/or smart-home tech tools; as well as HomeAdvisor and the program RealVitalize, to facilitate home improvements on listings.

In the latter part of 2019, Realogy also announced an AARP partnership program, launching in 2020; created the Realogy Military Rewards program, after USAA ended its referral relationship; and introduced its iBuying program, RealSure, a collaboration with Home Partners of America. On the call, Schneider emphasized that the end of the partnership with USAA would considerably impact its 2020 results, but expressed optimism in the AARP and iBuying initiatives.

The company reorganized in 2019, as well, creating an Expansion Brands portfolio, which includes Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate and ERA®, and integrating Coldwell Banker affiliates and Coldwell Banker the brokerage, company-owned through Realogy Brokerage Group. In November, the company disclosed its plan to unload Cartus, its relocation unit, for $400 million, to cut debt.

Additionally, the company implemented new offerings in quick succession: Agent X, an Amazon Alexa-enabled productivity tool; Exclusive Look, a “Coming Soon” listings platform; a digitally-driven Learning Platform; and Social Ad Engine, developed with Facebook.

In January of this year, the company debuted its Productivity Hub, dubbed “the next evolution of offerings from Realogy” by Realogy Franchise Group EVP of Product and Innovation Simon Chen; and in February, The Corcoran Group’s first franchisees launched.

NRT is the No. 1 Power Broker in sales volume in the U.S., garnering $176.4 billion in 2018.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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