An upstart real estate brokerage in northern California’s Silicon Valley and East Bay areas has grown from one office with 40 salespeople when it opened its doors in October 2002 to 14 offices with more than 800 salespeople today.


Intero Real Estate now has operations in Morgan Hill, Hollister, Gilroy, San Jose, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Los Altos, Pleasanton, Danville, Blackhawk, Orinda, Walnut Creek and San Carlos. A 15th office is set to open soon in Antioch. That location will be the first licensee of the Intero brand name and will manned by a former Intero salesperson, according to broker/owner Gino Blefari.


“The next thing that Intero will do is franchising,” he said.


Blefari, a former NRT executive, claimed Intero now has the “number one office in the history” of several of the Silicon Valley communities. He attributes that achievement to the company’s corporate culture and management.


Intero’s first 14 offices were financed by Mercury Cos., a real estate company that owns half a dozen title companies, a mortgage documentation company, a travel agency and other interests. Blefari said the company achieved operational profitability in March and now can finance future expansion without an absolute necessity for outside capital.


“The company can stand on its own,” he said.


Blefari, a former NRT executive, started Intero after more than 20 years in real estate sales, development and management. His career started in 1982 and was followed by 14 years during which he sold 61 homes per year on average, according to his official biography on Intero’s Web site. He has recruited a small army of his former colleagues to the company’s roster.


One of Intero’s office managers is Kevin Moles, a real estate veteran who brought on board 45 agents when he joined Intero in late 2002. His brother is Bob Moles, head of Cendant Corp.’s real estate group. Moles plans to return to northern California on a full-time basis later this month after his seven-year stint in Cendant’s executive offices in New Jersey.


Blefari wasn’t unaware of Moles’ intention to pursue unspecified entrepreneurial ventures in the local area. Moles was the head of Century 21 Contempo Real Estate in northern California before NRT acquired that company.


“If you talk to Bob Moles before I do,” Blefari joked, “tell him to send me his resume.”


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