Real Living Inc., one of the largest U.S. residential real estate firms, this month announced that it ranked 23rd out of 50 for Entrepreneur magazine’s top new franchises and 360th among the magazine’s top-500 franchisors.

Real Living, which became a national franchisor in 2003, announced that the company expanded its market presence in 10 states in 2005 and experienced a 50-percent growth in its franchise operations for the year.

Harley E. Rouda Jr., CEO and managing partner of Real Living Inc., said in a statement, “Although 2005’s growth was impressive, it does not compare to the growth we are planning to experience in 2006. As we continue to revolutionize our state-of-the-art agent toolset, we are also launching a new consumer platform in March that will enhance the consumer experience when working with a Real Living agent.

“The bottom line: Real Living will have the tools to grow our franchises in an ever-changing market – which will be the perfect opportunity for other brokerages to franchise with us.”

Existing markets of growth for Real Living were primarily in Southwest Florida, Central Texas and Northwest Ohio. Real Living’s new market growth was in South Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia. The largest growth period was in the fourth quarter, entering the downtown Chicago market place with three new franchise offices, the company announced.

Real Living is the largest independently owned residential real estate firm in the Midwest and the fifth-largest in the country. The company has about 5,000 sales associates and employees, nearly $9.1 billion in annual sales and more than 140 offices throughout the Midwest, Florida, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, according to the company announcement.

In addition to real estate brokerage services, Real Living Inc. also offers a range of affiliated business services, including home financing, title, relocation, corporate relocation management and home warranties.

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