Between its inspiring office digs, unique ride provisions (a designer-level luxury trailer) and strong track record, Climb Real Estate appears to give employees plenty of reasons to be happy. But today, the office was popping champagne to celebrate some especially big news.

  • Climb will retain branding and continue to operate under current leadership.

Between its inspiring office digs, unique ride provisions (a designer-level luxury trailer) and strong track record, Climb Real Estate appears to give employees plenty of reasons to be happy. But today, the office was popping champagne to celebrate some especially big news.

This afternoon, it was announced that NRT, a subsidiary of Realogy Franchise Group, has acquired the San Francisco brokerage. Full terms of the acquisition are being kept confidential by the companies.

“Climb will retain its unique branding in the marketplace and continue to operate under the current leadership of Chris Lim, president,” said the companies in a statement.

What makes the companies a good fit?

Climb operates five offices in Potrero Hill, Noe Valley, Mission Bay, Mid-Market and Oakland’s Jack London Square, as well as an Airstream mobile real estate office.

It’s done more than $3 billion in sales volume since its 2010 launch and ranks among San Francisco’s top 10 residential real estate brokerages based on transaction sides and sales volume in 2015, according to the San Francisco Association of Realtors MLS.

On top of that, Climb has built a reputation as a brokerage that offers a complete digital experience for consumers.

Bruce Zipf, president and chief executive officer of NRT, indicated that Climb’s originality made it an attractive addition.

“NRT is made up of many companies,” he said. “Of those we have acquired over the past 15 years, we have been looking at real estate platforms and companies we believe are going to be impactful strong business models.”

NRT owns and operates companies in approximately 50 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., including Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s International and ZipRealty.

Zipf added: “Climb is doing a very effective job in doing business in marketplaces we hadn’t penetrated. Climb’s marketplace was different from Coldwell Banker‘s and Sotheby’s International in San Francisco.”

“We were also very intrigued by the senior leadership team at Climb of Chris Lim, Tiffany Combs and Mark Choey, who have served and grown with the company.”

Climb’s creative penchant is here to stay

The Climb team will remain in place with Lim as president.

Climb’s clientele includes millennial consumers buying their first home, international buyers and empty nesters looking for a San Francisco pied-à-terre, said Lim. Since 2010, it has grown by 238 percent, going from seven agents to 100.

Aligning with NRT, which has a reputation for private boutique brokerages alongside bigger brands such as Coldwell Banker and Sotheby’s, will be “supercharging our growth,” said Lim. “With this acquisition, we will be part of NRT’s prestigious private label strategy, which includes the Corcoran Group in New York.”

An intriguing foundation in mobile

Greg Macres, NRT’s executive vice president for the Western region, added: “So many of agents are becoming more mobile, but Climb was founded that way and they initiate their business culture that way. That is intriguing to us.”

Climb will be expanding more from Oakland into Berkeley and Walnut Creek in the Bay Area.

Lim is steadfast on his company’s direction.

“We will be continuing on the path we are on,” he said. “The brand that we want Climb to stand for is diverse and inclusive — helping clients climb to have their own wealth property portfolio.”

Making the decision to sell was very difficult, said Lim.

“But Bruce and Greg were the team that I felt shared my vision and passion. I’m thrilled, and everyone here is celebrating.

“We see this as a huge win for us. When you are looking to expand, you need to align yourself with visionaries as Bruce and Greg are to me.”

He added on a lighter note in his blog:

“I’ll still be the only real estate president who personally goes to Costco to pick up goodies for my team. But now I’ll have an even larger support team — and maybe a wee bit bigger budget for our shopping list. “

Email Gill South

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