Why a prominent indie brokerage is affiliating with a powerhouse franchise brand

Go Realty signs with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

A Cary, North Carolina-based brokerage, Go Realty, that made a name for itself as an innovative independent firm has joined the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate’s real estate franchise network.

The decision might look like the 5-year-old firm sold out, said Zach Schabot, a Go Realty founder. But the decision to join the large and growing Realogy brand was about growth.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Go Realty's Durham, North Carolina, office.
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Go Realty's Durham, North Carolina, office.

“We didn’t know that what we were doing (developing a local, lifestyle brand) was scalable,” Schabot said of the four-office, 65-agent firm now known as Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Go Realty.

Go Realty’s co-owners, Jim Garman and Kevin Woody, will continue to run the newly affiliated brokerage. The firm has its sights set on becoming a dominant real estate firm in the Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill region, Garman said.

In addition to greater brand visibility, affiliating with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate will give the brokerage access to agent education, marketing support and scalable technology that the franchisor makes available to its affiliates.

Garman said an intriguing aspect of the affiliation is access to a massive customer database maintained by publisher Meredith Corp., which owns 100 special interest publications and 14 magazine brands including Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home, Country Gardens, Country Life and Mujer.

Realogy secured a 50-year license to use the Better Homes and Gardens brand from Meredith in 2007. As part of the deal, BHGRE gets access to Meredith’s customer database of 100 million individuals, BHGRE CEO Sherry Chris told Inman News. Garman said the income and moving history in the database will allow the brokerage to do predictive marketing.

Chris said about 45 percent of the adult women in Johnston and Wake counties — the heart of Go Realty’s service area — are in Meredith’s database. Access to information on those women will give Go Realty a leg up as it looks to expand in the region by targeting its marketing and other content to them, Garman said.

Until meeting BHGRE, it wasn’t clear how Go Realty could hold on to its boutique-brand feel while fulfilling its growth aspirations, Garman said.

“BHGRE opened our eyes to how we can present ourselves to a broader audience,” Garman said.

BHGRE targeted Go Realty because of its culture, Chris said. As one of 35 firms in BHGRE’s Beta Brokerages program, Go Realty was a known entity.

With Go Realty, BHGRE now has over 8,900 agents in 270 offices in 28 states.


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