One of the nation’s largest indies gains a foothold in five new states and acquires a stake in a company with a franchising division.

Chicago-based @properties, a top indie brokerage in the United States, acquired a stake in the Virginia-based real estate company Nest Realty, the two firms confirmed to Inman Tuesday.

Thad Wong | Photo credit: @properties

The acquisition gives @properties a presence in five additional states, as well as a franchisor revenue stream. For Nest Realty, selling a stake to @properties gives the company’s franchisees access to @properties proprietary technology platform.

“I don’t think there’s another boutique brokerage firm in the country that delivers services to agents with the same quality, care and sophistication as Nest,” Thad Wong, the CEO and co-founder of @properties said in a statement. “With the addition of pl@tform and the marketing and training resources we provide, Nest agents and franchisees will have a significant competitive advantage over local independents and other national franchise brands.”

The companies declined to disclose the financials, but Jonathan Kauffmann, Nest Realty’s co-founder and partners, Keith Davis and Jim Duncan, will retain an ownership stake and Nest and continue to oversee day-to-day operations of the real estate firm, which has 15 offices in five states on both the owned-brokerage and franchise side.

Jonathan Kauffmann | Photo credit: Nest Realty

Nest will retain its brand identity in all markets and continue to expand under the Nest brand with additional company-owned or franchise locations. Currently, the Virginia-based company has a brand presence in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky and its 350 agents did nearly $1.4 billion in sales in 2019.

“As we started to take a serious look at this opportunity, we asked ourselves: Could we bring more value to our agents, our clients, our franchisees and our staff through a partnership with @properties?” Kauffmann said, in a statement. “On every account, the answer was unequivocally yes.”

“Not only does this partnership move our tech development up 3 to 5 years, it also gives us opportunities to grow while maintaining the ‘Nester’ culture we’ve worked so hard to build.”

The proprietary technology platform that Nest Realty hopes will continue to fuel growth, since the company started franchising in 2017, is @properties’s “pl@tform” and includes a customer relationship management tool, deal management system, internal communications app and marketing tool. A transaction portal for homebuyers is set to launch this year.

The investment also gives Nest Realty access to @properties’ marketing infrastructure and proprietary coaching programs, as well as group health benefits and, soon, the firm’s joint mortgage venture with Guaranteed Rate.

It’s the second major investment for @properties in the past year. In March 2019, the company acquired a stake in Ansley Atlanta Real Estate, a Georgia-based brokerage with 225 agents and $1.25 billion in annual sales. In that situation, the brokerage also kept its branding, its leader Bonneau Ansley, and gained access to @properties technology platform.

Many real estate leaders have predicted that COVID-19 could lead to further consolidation in the real estate industry and Wong himself, in a statement, said he was bullish on the future of his business, despite the uncertainty.

“Now is the time to grow,” Wong said. “Now is the time to focus on relationships and putting the best technology, training and resources into the hands of agents.”

“As we build from this moment, we feel very fortunate to be alongside like-minded leaders like Kauffmann, Davis, Duncan and Ansley.”

Email Patrick Kearns

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