Franchise co. leader says 'extreme service' is key for real estate agents

Real Estate Executive Profile: Sherry Chris

During a visit to Northern California in April, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC President and CEO Sherry Chris spent a day shadowing a Sonoma-area real estate agent and visiting open houses.

She was particularly impressed by one open house in which the listing agent had set up a cappuccino bar for visitors.

"It encouraged agents to stay around and talk a bit," she said, adding that such details can be key for a relationship-based business.

"Providing that extreme service — going above and beyond — needs to happen at the industry level and the agent-to-agent level," said Chris, who has built up the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate franchise network to about 200 offices and 7,000 sales associates, with operations in 21 states, since its formal launch under the Realogy Corp. umbrella in 2008.

Realogy entered into a long-term relationship with Better Homes and Gardens magazine publisher Meredith Corp. to obtain rights to the real estate franchise. GMAC Home Services had earlier licensed the Better Homes and Gardens name for a real estate network, and Meredith had operated its own real estate franchise network from 1978-98.