Brokerage

The Inman Busybody asks Alex Perriello, what’s up?

Please explain how 8 real estate brands can all operate under 1 roof

The Inman Busybody sent a letter to Alex Perriello, CEO and president of the Realogy Franchise Group. He graciously responded.

Dear Mr. Perriello,

Please indulge me. Something has been gnawing at me for some time. You are a savvy and very successful businessman who helped build the largest real estate franchise group in the country (world). Wow! But I am struggling with the fact that you have eight of the best real estate brands all operating under one company. I mean, let’s get real, they are competing sort of, but not really, right?

How does that work exactly? Are you all in the same building? Same floor? Do your brand CEOs meet up, or do they ignore each other? I was impressed that Rory McIlroy had breakfast with Sergio Garcia the morning before the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational golf match, even though they were locked in a heated battle to win the tourney. Seemed so civilized.

Does it work like that at Realogy, where Sherry Chris and Rick Davidson exchange pleasant words over egg beaters, but leave breakfast with the aim of ripping each other apart in the real estate battlefield? Please give me some color on this situation, Mr. Perriello — help me explain it to our readers at Inman News. Thanks much.

FYI: I want to order you a $10 Starbucks gift certificate for your trouble, but I thought maybe you prefer Peet’s or Blue Bottle. As calm and steady as you are, I bet you do not drink coffee. Just let me know.

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Good day, sir,

The Inman Busybody

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Dear Inman Busybody,

Thank you for your letter. There are three things you need to understand about the Realogy Franchise Group:

First, the staff supporting our six franchise brands shares a common purpose, mission and vision. To elaborate, our purpose is to help real estate entrepreneurs be more successful; our mission is to make certain our franchisees feel better off with us than without us; and finally, our vision is that every franchisee interaction begins and ends with a smile.

Second, our franchise brands do compete vigorously with each other. In alphabetical order, they are Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Commercial, ERA and Sotheby’s International Realty. Each brand has its own unique business strategy and dedicated resources. At the end of the day, their goal is to provide their respective franchisees with the best systems, tools, training, technology and marketing support possible. While they actually do operate under the same roof, each of our brands has its own distinct space to call “home” within the Realogy headquarters building. Our brands operate independently of each other and absolutely do compete, but because each is supported by the leadership and vision of Realogy, their individual successes accrue to the collective strength of our parent company. So yes, our brand presidents may have coffee together in the morning and then compete vigorously with each other that afternoon.

Third, our multibrand business model has stood the test of time. We have been operating multiple brands for nearly 20 years and we continue to grow and prosper. With that said, the proof is in the operating results: In 2013 our franchisee retention rate was 98 percent and our average franchisee tenure was 19 years across all of our brands (compared with 11 years for the real estate franchise industry).

So, regarding the Starbucks gift card … I would be delighted to buy you a cup here at our corporate offices in Madison, New Jersey (yes, we do serve Starbucks in the cafeteria). My java of choice is decaf-espresso. Seems counterintuitive to drink decaffeinated espresso, but when you love what you do for a living, artificial stimulation is not required.

Best regards,

Alex Perriello

President & CEO

Realogy Franchise Group