SmartZip Analytics founder Frank Richards has been named the co-CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate, and will run the company together with Chairman of the Board Ed Krafchow.

"Frank has led some of the most innovative initiatives in the real estate industry. His experience is invaluable to our organization, which is committed to evolving with the needs of agents and consumers," Krafchow said in a statement. "We welcome him with enthusiasm as the youngest CEO of a major real estate company in the U.S."

Mason-McDuffie announced last week that it was re-affiliating with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, ending a 13-year relationship with Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services Inc.

The brokerage, which has 1,900 agents working out of 36 offices in Northern California and Nevada and handled $2.8 billion in sales volume last year, has ambitious growth plans.

Mason-McDuffie had previously partnered with SmartZip Analytics to provide home investment ratings on its website. SmartZip Analytics has scored over 70 million properties nationwide, rating their investment quality on a scale of 1-100.

Richards founded SmartZip Analytics in 2008 and served as the chairman of the company’s board of directors. He also founded an investment and financial advisory firm, NorthPoint Financial Group, in 2001, that’s helped clients direct more than $1 billion in residential real estate investments nationwide.

Richards continues to serve as chairman of the board of directors for NorthPoint Financial Group, a company that "has a close strategic alliance with Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate," according to a spokeswoman.

Previously, Richards founded Protocall, a direct marketing services firm, leading the company through its acquisition by Intek in 1997 and an initial public offering in 2000.

Richards has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Davis and did post-graduate work at The University of Essex, England. A professional real estate investor who owns a portfolio of residential investment properties around the country, he lives in Pleasanton, Calif.

Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate is independently owned and operated, and has joint ventures with JF Finnegan Realtors, Highland Partners in Piedmont, Calif.; Sonoma-Gold in Healdsburg, Calif.; and Tri-Valley Realty in Pleasanton.

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