The REIQ is thrilled to welcome the President and CEO of the Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate franchise in the US, Sherry Chris, to deliver the keynote presentation at our annual Women In Real Estate lunch, 9 August.
Ms Chris has carved out a formidable career that began in banking before she moved into real estate, starting with Canadian real estate franchise Royal LePage in 1987.
By 2015, Inman News named her as one of the 33 people who are changing the real estate industry.
Additionally, since being named Inman Innovator of the Year in 2010, a prestigious and coveted aware that honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional vision and foresight to advance the real estate experience, she has been recognised six years consecutively as one of Inman’s 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders. Additional accolades include the Swanepoel Power 200 list (2013-2017), the Most Influential Real Estate Executives list by Real Estate Executive Magazine (2013) and Profiles in Diversity Journal’s annual Women Worth Watching list (2013).
“I was drawn to the real estate industry 30 years ago as a first-time home buyer. As I went through each step of the home buying process, I thought to myself, “I can do what my agent is doing, but I can do it better.” So, I set out to make a career change and started my journey into the real estate world,” she said.
“At that point in my life, I did not envision how greatly this career would challenge me and help me grow and cultivate my individual goals and values by inspiring curiosity and passion in my life. Today, I can’t imagine working in any other industry, and am so energized to be at the helm of such a dynamic, forward-looking brand – Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate,” she says.
A brand with soul
A brand with a difference and “a brand with a soul”. That’s how Ms Chris describes the BH&GRE brand in the US. And it’s also how Australian project lead Simon Cashman would like us to think of the franchise as it is poised to roll out in Australia.
“When we think about Better Homes & Gardens as a brand, it’s a lifestyle brand,” Ms Chris told the Elevate podcast.
“Today’s consumer is buying lifestyle and community, and so we see ourselves as the most relevant brand in real estate and that’s because we’re able to capture the interest of the consumer at a very early stage based on the wonderful content in the magazine and video content and online content,” she said.
“We’re a lifestyle brand but we go well beyond the transaction itself and really help people move onto the next phase of their life,” she said.
Mr Cashman, who is driving the rollout in Australia, has secured a dream content-sharing arrangement with Pacific Magazines. The synergies between real estate and the brand properties in Australia are the stuff dreams are made of, with an eyepopping range of opportunities for both the real estate brand and the broader media extensions to open up their reach into virtually every home in the country.
“From January the Better Homes & Gardens magazine, which has 2.5 million readers every month Australia-wide, will start carrying property listings in its pages,” he said. “That sort of reach and exposure is unattainable by any other real estate magazine. There’s a great future for real estate to flourish in the magazine,” he said.
In exchange, the real estate franchise will deliver new readers, offering a free three-month magazine subscription to every visitor who attends a BH&GRE open home plus more for those who are part of the transaction itself. Of course, the very successful Better Homes & Gardens TV show is an obvious piece of the media offering, so it must be asked, how could it tie in with the bigger plans?
“We are in coversation with the network (Seven) and things look promising,” Mr Cashman said. “Our immediate focus is establishing the foundations of our real estate business to ensure we have everything in place, plus our commitment to Pacific Magazines.”
Launching a brand in a busy real estate landscape is not without risks, but Ms Chris is confident that the BH&GRE brand has got the goods.
“When we think about ourselves as a real estate brand, we’re a values driven brand,” she said. “So our values, our passion, authenticity, inclusion, growth and excellence – that’s unique within our industry as well.
“Our promise to our consumer is that they should expect better and our promise to our agents and brokers is to be better for them.
“Finally, I believe that we’re a brand with a soul. We have a strong relationship with a charity that builds homes around the world for homeless people and families, called New Story, and we have a very strong relationship with them and of giving back not only to our own communities but giving back to the world.”
Mr Cashman said the focus in these early days before the official launch is targeting real estate influencers
and ensuring the brand attracts the right people.
“We’re very focused on finding just the right people, real people who love being real estate practitioners, where
empathy with home owners comes naturally. They are service-driven people who will want to work with us as they will see BH&GRE as that breath of fresh air that’s been a long time coming,” he said.
All WIRE event ticketholders will also have the opportunity to meet Ms Chris in an intimate meet-and-greet cocktail session immediately following the lunch. Grab your tickets at REIQ.com/WIRE.