Brokerage, Industry News, News Brief

HomeServices acquires Koenig & Strey

Deal completes Brookfield's sales of GMAC offices

Brookfield Residential Property Services has sold Chicago-based luxury broker Koenig & Strey GMAC Real Estate to HomeServices of America Inc., completing a planned disposition of corporate-owned brokerage offices Brookfield RPS acquired in its purchase of GMAC Home Services LLC last year.

As was the case in other recent sales of corporate-owned GMAC brokerages, Koenig & Strey will remain a franchisee of Canadian-based Brookfield RPS’ North American real estate network.

Brookfield RPS announced in July the sale of San Francisco Bay Area-based luxury broker Pacific Union GMAC Real Estate to principals of Morgan Lane Marin Inc. (see story).

Other recent deals include the sale of Boston-based Hammond Residential Real Estate to founder Saul Cohen, and New Jersey-based Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate to investors led by real estate veteran Dick Schlott.

Graham Badun, Brookfield RPS managing partner and chief executive officer, called the sale of Koenig & Strey to HomeServices "a great fit" because HomeServices has "a history of letting local operators operate their businesses.

"That was important to us," Badun said. "We continue to have aspirations to grow our franchise operations across the U.S., and these guys are a great partner for us."

Ron Peltier, chairman and chief executive officer of HomeServices, suggested the company will take a hands-off approach as the new owner of Koenig & Strey.

A leader in the downtown Chicago and North Shore luxury market, handling $2.6 billion worth of home sales in 2008, Koenig & Strey recently completed a restructuring in which it closed or consolidated seven offices. The restructuring left the company "right sized" at about 900 agents and 90 support staff in 21 offices, said Peltier and Doug Ayers, president and CEO of Koenig & Strey.

Ayers and other top managers are staying in place, and no layoffs are anticipated, Peltier and Ayers said.

"We have operations around the country and we make no effort to manage them from (HomeServices’ headquarters in) Minneapolis," Peltier said, calling Koenig & Strey "a storied company with a great history of success" since its founding in 1961.

Before its acquisition of Koenig & Strey, HomeServices operated about 300 broker offices in 19 states with 16,000 agents under 21 brand names, including Prudential California Realty, RealtySouth and Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors.

"Since we are not a franchisor, we are not about changing the basic operation" of the brokerages the company owns, Peltier said.

HomeServices seeks economy of scale in providing technology support and human resource services to its brokerage companies. And because other HomeServices subsidiaries offer mortgage origination, title insurance and closing services, property and casualty insurance, and home warranties, the acquisition of brokerages like Koenig & Strey create opportunities for HomeServices to expand its sales of those services, Peltier said. …CONTINUED