Brokerage

Inclusion a core value for Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate

This summer, the company's core values changed (slightly), but how it treats people hasn't

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Better Homes & Garden Real Estate (BHGRE) CEO Sherry Chris makes a big deal about her company’s “core values,” but she is not too rigid to tweak them when the times warrant it.

The company’s core values — until recently — were passion, authenticity, innovation, growth and excellence.

This summer, the New Jersey-based firm swapped out the overused term “innovation” for the term “inclusion,” which seemed to be received well by her broker members.

For example, North Carolina BHGRE brokerage Go Realty produced a video about inclusion that captures in a very human way the importance of diversity and inclusion.

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This is Go from Go Realty on Vimeo.

But not every broker embraces the BHGRE strategy.

One broker who was considering joining the franchise walked away because the owner felt the values of the brokerage did not fit with the “inclusion” philosophy.

“Everyone is entitled to their point of view,” said Chris. “That is the whole idea of inclusion.”

BHGRE made its case about inclusion last week at the National Lesbian Bi Gay Transgender (LBGT) Real Estate Conference in Fort Lauderdale, where — among other things — it argued that agents and brokers should not ignore the economic benefits of being inclusionary.

In a collaboration with consulting firm OUT Leadership, the two firms published a “leadership briefing” released at the conference with several key findings:

Although it constitutes just 3.8 percent of the population of the United States, the LGBT+ community has disproportionate economic influence because many straight people view themselves as allies of their LGBT+ friends and family members, and 82 percent of self-identified allies take a company’s perspective on LGBT+ issues into consideration when making purchasing decisions.

Many LGBT+ people currently live in jurisdictions where they are not protected from housing discrimination, and they may be particularly keen to engage with real estate professionals who identify as inclusive.

The advent of marriage equality means that more LGBT+ people will form households; 52 percent of unmarried LGBT+ people have expressed the intent to marry in the future, and marriage is a leading driver of real estate market engagement.

Millennials are the most pro-LGBT+ generation by significant margins. They’re more likely to self-identify as LGBT+, and they’re also more likely to be allies.

LGBT+ inclusion is what millennials expect, both when they’re making a purchasing decision and when they’re looking for work.

Finally, inclusion is an important issue no matter where you work, from Salt Lake to San Francisco — LGBT+ people and their allies are everywhere, even in very conservative cities and states.