Editor’s note: A previous version of this story contained erroneous information about the number of brokerages that affiliated with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in 2009, 2010, and 2011. The story has also been updated to correct that Sherry Chris joined Realogy Corp. in 2006 as COO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, not CEO.

A leading Houston brokerage is dropping its affiliation with Prudential Real Estate Services and will operate as a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate franchisee.

With more than 850 agents operating out of 20 offices, Gary Greene Realtors was among the top 60 U.S. brokerages last year, racking up $1.58 billion in sales volume and 6,509 transaction sides, according to data compiled by Real Trends. Since 2007, the company claims to have closed more transactions than any other brokerage in the Houston market.

Signing up the brokerage as a franchisee "marks a significant milestone for our brand," Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate CEO Sherry Chris said in a statement. Better Homes Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene is the brand’s fifth Texas affiliate, giving the franchise network coverage in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.

Owners Mark Woodroof and Marilyn Eiland "have grown an impressive brokerage based on trust, integrity and a superior reputation," Chris said. "Our shared vision and values make this a strong partnership that I’m confident will continue to flourish as both the brokerage and the brand continue to expand."

Woodroof called affiliating with Realogy Corp.’s newest brand "a strategic decision," saying Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate will "best support us in providing unparalleled consumer real estate experiences and company growth opportunities in the Greater Houston area."

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene has also joined Realogy’s relocation subsidiary, Cartus Broker Network, as an associate member.

Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services was sold last year for $110 million to Brookfield Residential Property Services. The Canadian-based franchisor provides services in the U.S. under the Real Living brand, but has allowed Prudential real estate brokerage affiliates to continue to use the Prudential brand based on the terms of their franchise agreements.

Before the acquisition, Prudential Real Estate lost one of its biggest brokers — Pleasanton, Calif.-based Mason-McDuffie Real Estate Inc. — to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, in September, 2010.

Realogy paved the way for the launch of the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand in October 2007, entering into a 50-year licensing agreement with Meredith Corp. to own, operate and franchise the brand. According to Realogy’s most recent annual report to investors, the company pays Meredith an annual minimum licensing fee, which began at $500,000 in 2009 and will increase to $4 million by 2014.

Chris — who came to Realogy in 2006 as COO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, and has held executive positions with Real Living (Ohio) and Prudential California-Nevada-Texas Realty — quickly got the new brand off the ground.

So far this year, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has signed up eight brokerages, and its network now includes approximately 7,500 sales associates and more than 200 offices in Canada and 24 U.S. states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington

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