Franchise


The news has broke this morning. It represents the largest real estate franchise acquisition of the year.
Here’s an excerpt from the Vancouver Sun.

“Real Living Inc. built a major real estate brokerage in Ohio in a fairly short period of time by focusing on women clients as the primary decision maker in a home buying transaction. Toronto’s Brookfield Asset Management wants to duplicate that success across and the U.S. market and is buying Real Living’s brand to do it.

Brookfield said in a statement it is rebranding its GMAC Real Estate division, which its acquired from the trouble financing arm of General Motors last year, as Real Living to create a new franchise with more than US$20-billion in annual home sales.

Brookfield Residential Property Services says it will add Real Living’s 2,000 brokers and sales associates to its existing real estate network of 30,000 real estate professionals.

While Real Living says it will not change its core real estate business in and around Columbus, Ohio, it has essentially sold Brookfield the right to use its brand and technology across the rest of the U.S. as well as Canada.

In Canada, Brookfield controls real estate giant Royal LePage, but the company made no mention of alter that brand to make it more like Real Living.

In September 2008, Brookfield announced it was buying GMAC’s home-services unit and picking up about 1,500 offices in North America and nearly 30,000 employees.”

I’ll have some further commentary when I confirm a few things…

Stefan has some interesting thoughts on this as well. Read them here.

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rumors

While it will be hard (if not impossible) to compete with the RPR-LPS announcement this past week, I assure you that there will be at least one other significant announcement this week having to do with the real estate franchise industry.

wbrdesk

I missed this while at Inman, but thought it worth noting. This is a huge win and validation for LPS Real Estate Group. The fact that they have been able to keep them as a customer for so long, mirrored with this announcement of expansion of services is a huge win and validation of LPS Real Estate Group.

If you aren’t familiar with HomeServices of American they are the real estate company owned by Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Click here to see a list of HSoA real estate companies, click here.

LPS Real Estate Group Signs Multi-Year Agreement to Provide rDesk® Broker Suite of Products to Eight HomeServices of America Companies

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – August 5, 2009 – Lender Processing Services, Inc. (NYSE: LPS), a leading provider of integrated technology and services to the mortgage and real estate industries, today announced that it has signed a multi-year agreement to provide its rDesk® Broker Suite of products, offered by its LPS Real Estate Group division, to eight operating companies that are part of the HomeServices of America, Inc (HSoA) network.

These eight companies have signed contracts for a variety of rDesk® Broker Suite products, including broker and agent Web sites, lead and contact management, comparative market analysis (CMA) and document management. The comprehensive, Web-based suite of integrated software solutions gives brokers the online marketing and productivity tools they need to create a competitive edge. These tools help them acquire more leads that can be converted to clients, work with buyers and sellers to close more transactions, and maintain lifelong customer relationships.

The HSoA companies currently leveraging rDesk are: Edina Realty (which services North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin); Kansas City-based Reece & Nichols; Prudential California Realty; Long Realty Company in Arizona; CBSHome Real Estate in Omaha, Nebraska; Champion Realty, Inc. in Maryland; and Home Real Estate and Woods Bros Realty, both in Nebraska.

“Over the years, the rDesk® Broker Suite’s depth and breadth of content and functionality have evolved, in great part, from input offered by innovative, market-leading brokers and thought leaders like the HSoA companies,” said John Hensley, chief product and technology officer, LPS Real Estate Group.

“Since its inception, the rDesk® platform has leveraged new technology and standards to deliver brokers and agents a Web-based integrated solution that meets their growing business needs and keeps them ahead of their competition.”

An affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Minneapolis-based HSoA is the nation’s second largest provider of homeownership services and has a nationwide network of companies in 19 states that offers integrated real estate services, including brokerage services, mortgage originations, title and closing services, property and casualty insurance, home warranties and other homeownership services.

“These companies are leaders in their respective markets,” said Ron Peltier, HomeServices chairman and CEO. “To further that leadership position, they must offer products and services that set them apart from the competition. rDesk® is a product that both strengthens market presence and enhances the customer experience.”

The rDesk® Broker Suite includes rDesk® Broker Website, Resource Center and Contact Manager; rDesk® CMA and Buyers Tour; a turnkey marketing campaign manager and professional flier program; the industry’s most thorough neighborhood, school and environment reports; and a centralized document management system that can easily integrate DocCentral™, the LPS non-proprietary document management system that is becoming the industry standard.

The rDesk® Broker Website platform creates custom-branded, content-rich and scalable company Web sites that make it easy for customers to search for homes, get community information, investigate financing options and request additional information.

The Broker Suite also includes rDesk®’s exclusive Client Relationship Manager, which creates a broker’s online communication and customer management hub for the entire office with easy-to-use software tools to manage leads, customers, listings and transactions. The system instantly routes new leads to participating agents and then ensures that the agents respond within the timeframe set by the broker. Client Relationship Manager also accommodates real estate teams, other office groups and e-teams to share in new prospects collected by the broker’s own site and in their market’s portion of more than 600,000 leads LPS Real Estate Group generates to its broker and agent customers each year.

For more information on rDesk® products, contact Michael McCulloch at 480.556.9848 or e-mail michael.mcculloch@lpsvcs.com.

About Lender Processing Services
LPS is a leading provider of integrated technology and services to the mortgage and real estate industries. LPS offers solutions that span the mortgage continuum, including lead generation, origination, servicing, workflow automation (Desktop) portfolio retention and default, augmented by the company’s award-winning customer support and professional services. Approximately 55 percent of all U.S. mortgages by dollar volume are serviced using LPS’ Mortgage Servicing Package (MSP). In fact, many of the nation’s top servicers rely on MSP, including eight of the top 10 and 14 of the top 20. LPS also offers proprietary mortgage and real estate data and analytics for the mortgage and capital markets industries. For more information about LPS, please visit http://www.lpsvcs.com.

The LPS Real Estate Group has relationships with more than 300 MLS organizations, 250 broker companies, settlement services companies, and more than 350,000 real estate professionals. The technology applications include innovative tools such as Paragon™; the reInsight™ collection; rDesk® Broker & Agent Suite of products; TransactionPoint®; DocCentral; Cyberhomes; the Real Estate & Living Media Network that generates revenue for its publishers; as well as a robust real estate property and tax database that includes 285 million residential and commercial property, ownership, sales, assessment and mortgage records. This represents detailed information on at least 92 percent of U.S. property ownership records in more than 2,000 counties with over 648,000 new ownership records added monthly. To learn more, visit http://www.lpsreg.com.

About HomeServices of America
HomeServices of America, Inc., based in Minneapolis, Minn., is the second-largest homeownership service provider in the United States. Owned by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., HomeServices’ operating companies offer integrated real estate services, including brokerage services, mortgage originations, title and closing services, property and casualty insurance, home warranties and other homeownership services. HomeServices Relocation, LLC is the full-service relocation arm of HomeServices which provides every aspect of domestic and international relocation to corporations around the world. HomeServices operates in 19 states with more than 17,000 associates under the following residential real estate brand names: Carol Jones REALTORS; CBSHOME Real Estate; Champion Realty Inc.; Edina Realty; EWM REALTORS; Harry Norman, REALTORS; HOME Real Estate; HUFF Realty; Iowa Realty; Long Companies; Prudential California Realty; Prudential Carolinas Realty; Prudential First Realty; Prudential York Simpson Underwood Realty; RealtySouth; Rector-Hayden REALTORS; Reece & Nichols; Roberts Brothers Inc.; Semonin REALTORS and Woods Bros. Realty. Information about HomeServices and the locations of its subsidiary companies is available at http://www.homeservices.com.

Investor Contact: Parag Bhansali, 904.854.8640, parag.bhansali@lpsvcs.com

Media Contact: Michelle Kersch, 904.854.5043, michelle.kersch@lpsvcs.com

While you were checking your 401K eNeighborhoods launched their IDX solution on Century21.com, ERA.com and ColdwellBanker.com. A HUGE accomplishment for the boys and girls in Boca. The deal was signed back in November 2007.

Earlier I had posted eNeighborhoods had also re-signed RE/MAX International to provide, among other things, IDX services to remax.com. According to Hitwise, remax.com is consistently in the top five most visited real estate web portals, and the number one most visited brokerage site.

Think about it, one company provides all the IDX data to Century21.com, ERA.com, ColdwellBanker.com, and remax.com. You could say that eNeighborhoods powers online real estate.

Now don’t get me started on how the Realogy brands actually implemented this IDX solution (I’ll save that for another post!), it’s enough that Realogy took the first step in realizing that consumers want to see ALL THE LISTINGS not just theirs.

eNeighborhoods recently announced that they have hired new key executives, Mark Mathis and David Harris.

Being the former General Manager of eNeighborhoods I’m not sure if I should feel flattered that they still haven’t replaced Dan or I yet or feel something else. A big part of us wanted to stay on and see these things through, but I guess a bigger part of us wanted to start something new.

But what I mostly feel today is proud of the eNeighborhoods team that made it happen.


Word on the street is that RE/MAX International has re-signed another multi-year deal with eNeighborhoods. eNeighborhoods is the chief technology solution provider behind the popular remax.com site. Currently remax.com is the most visited website of any real estate brokerage brand. eNeighborhoods is owned by Dominion Enterprises.

Recently RE/MAX announced that 5 million leads had been passed thru remax.com to RE/MAX Associates around the country. Quite a feat since the site just launched only 2 and half years ago.

eNeighborhoods seems to have this space locked up. They are also building similar services for all the Realogy brands, (Century21.com, ColdwellBanker.com, and ERA.com) which should be launching in the near future.

Takes talent to get these types of big deals done. Both on the deal side and the tech side. Congrats!

File this under kicking ass and taking names….

RISMEDIA, August 22, 2008-More than five million leads have been passed on to RE/MAX Associates across the country, through remax.com, the most visited website of any real estate brokerage brand, according to the company. Debuting just two and half years ago, the real estate network’s lead management system, LeadStreet®, has helped RE/MAX agents succeed in the current market, by giving them the tools they need to incubate and manage leads.

According to the company, reaching the five million mark in a short time is significant. “It’s a symbol that RE/MAX is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition,” says Kristi Graning, senior vice president of IT and eBusiness at RE/MAX International. “We believe in providing useful and relevant technology services and tools to our Associates.”

Through LeadStreet, RE/MAX agents can accept leads on a mobile device with e-mail capabilities or on any computer. “LeadStreet is groundbreaking,” says Andy Woolley, vice president, Enterprise Services for eNeighborhoods, one of three firms that power the lead-generation system. “RE/MAX is the first company to do this on a nationwide scale, both creating a consumer interface, and taking the next step to provide tools for its Associates.” RE/MAX and eNeighborhoods are partners in the LeadStreet initiative.

An average of almost 2.8 million unique visitors log onto remax.com every month, where they can browse through listings in thousands of cities and towns. “The numbers indicate that remax.com is a website of choice for consumers,” says Graning. “And RE/MAX Associates are the ones they turn to when they’re looking for the best listings and best information.”

LeadStreet is provided for no referral fees from RE/MAX International to RE/MAX Associates. “It is a great asset in this market,” says Graning. “And one of the reasons why our agents are the most productive in the industry.”



Help-U-Sell (aka Help-U-Hell) did what anyone and everyone who actually worked with these guys already knew was going to happen. Nortorious for late paying, if even paying vendors at all, these guys are now making it official.

Steve Ozonian last led this crew. I wrote an April Fool’s post about Steve Ozonian this year and judging by some of the comments not a lot of Help-U-Sell franchise owners got the joke.

It’s a shame. I worked with a lot of Help-U-Sell franchise owners and they are a great group of people.

Hopefully things will work out for the best.

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