Assist-2-Sell, a national discount real estate company, added 147 owner-operated franchises in 2005, bringing the total on Jan. 1 to 577, the company announced this week.

This represents a record 33.4 percent increase from a year earlier. In December alone, Assist-2-Sell opened 17 franchises, according to the announcement.

In its recent 27th Annual Franchise 500 report, Entrepreneur Magazine has ranked the company the 73rd highest franchise operation for 2006 – up from the 78th position a year earlier. Assist-2-Sell had been ranked 145th in 2004, 162nd in 2003, and 203rd in 2002.

In addition, Entrepreneur’s 2006 rankings placed Assist-2-Sell at 34th among fastest-growing franchises, 17th among low-cost franchises and 65th among America’s top global franchises, the company reported.

Assist-2-Sell franchises provide the services of a professional real estate broker for a flat fee, while many traditional real estate brokerages are paid through a commission that is a percentage of the home’s price.

Assist-2-Sell franchises added in December 2005 are: North Phoenix, Ariz.; Auburn, Banning, Campbell, and Cameron Park, Calif.; Aurora, Colo.; Apollo Beach, Little Havana, Ocala, and Ormond Beach, Fla.; Cartersville, Ga.; Old Orchard Beach, Maine; St. Louis, Mo.; Tigard, Ore.; Reading, Pa.; and Dallas and Houston.

A privately held company based in Reno, Nev., Assist-2-Sell was founded in 1987 by Mary LaMeres-Pomin and Lyle E. Martin.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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