Weichert Sees Increased Interest from Unaffiliated Brokers in Challenging Market

June 25, 2008 // Franchising.com // MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. – Making the transition from the hot real estate climate of recent past has been a difficult adjustment for independently owned real estate companies across the country. Many have been left searching for solutions to stimulate their business. With a record of success and an array of systems and resources, more and more brokers are electing to join a national real estate franchisor. Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., the franchise arm of Weichert, Realtors®, has welcomed nearly 100 new franchisees since 2007, a large concentration of which have been in major markets like Boston, Chicago and Minneapolis.

"Independent companies across the U.S. are realizing that they can dramatically improve their business by joining our network," said Martin J. Rueter, president of Weichert Real Estate Affiliates. "Weichert's proven systems and support for our affiliated brokers and sales associates have resulted in increased opportunities for their company, despite the perceived state of the real estate industry."

Brokers who have chosen to align with a natural franchisor have experienced numerous benefits. According to the National Association of Realtors 2006 Profile of Real Estate Firms, 88 percent of real estate firms with franchise affiliations reported increased name recognition as a result of their affiliation. Additionally, 83 percent reported a positive impact on obtaining listings and 72 percent reported increased profits as a result of their franchise affiliation.

Not surprisingly then, recent statistics indicate that independent brokers are eager to obtain the many advantages that come with franchising their business. A 2007 survey by REALTOR® Magazine showed the number of affiliated and company-owned offices of major franchisors increased by and average of 15 percent over the last two years.

Since launching its first independently owned and operated franchise in January 2002, Weichert Real Estate Affiliates has expanded its franchise network to include over 7,000 sales associates in 36 states. Annually listed as a top franchise by Entrepreneur magazine, the company has dramatically increased its presence in major markets throughout the nation while being relatively new to the franchise scene. In Florida alone, Weichert Real Estate Affiliates now holds more than 60 franchised offices.

Blossoming from one Massachusetts-located office in 2004, the company recently opened its 11th office serving the Boston area. Bill Luther, owner and broker of WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Channing Real Estate in Cambridge, Mass., chose to join the Weichert network after independently operating his company for 21 years.

"Having been in the real estate business for over two decades, I felt the change in the market made it necessary to find new avenues for increasing our opportunities," said Luther. "Weichert's national reputation and cutting-edge systems have equated to opportunities and results that I would never have experienced as an independent company, particularly in today's market."

Weichert Real Estate Affiliates' expansion, however, has not been exclusive to the East Coast. The Windy City, in particular, has been a hotbed for Weichert's rapid expansion. The company opened its first franchise in Chicago in 2006 and has grown its roster to a total of 12 serving the greater Chicago region.

Jeff Ristine, broker and owner of the Chicago-serving WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Kingsland Properties, said many factors lead him to affiliate with Weichert. "Sticking out in the Chicago market and recruiting new associates was very difficult as an independent. With Weichert, we've affiliated with a nationally-recognized company that provides us with a plethora of proven systems and resources designed to expand our business."

The company has also extended its reach to include offices in the western U.S. Earlier this year, the company opened its first affiliate in Louisiana as well as Kentucky and added new offices in Minnesota, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Wisconsin.

Rueter expects this national trend to continue, noting that the company's rapid growth throughout key markets of the country is "indicative of Weichert Real Estate Affiliates' reputation as the desired choice for independent brokerages."

Primary to the benefits provided by Weichert Real Estate Affiliates is a carefully structured, yet dynamic platform for growth. The company's model, which consists of precisely-defined operating systems, market-driven programs, and customizable, field-proven tools, addresses all areas of business management, growth, and performance. Broker-owned and broker-managed, Weichert offers a multitude of training resources through Weichert University, as well as an award-winning Internet lead-generation platform, an international relocation company, and recruitment programs.

Weichert has nearly 18,000 sales associates in more than 500 company-owned and franchised sales offices in key markets throughout the U.S. A family of full-service real estate and financial services companies, Weichert helps customers buy and sell both residential and commercial real estate, and streamlines the delivery of mortgages and home and title insurance. For more information, Weichert's customer service center can be reached at 1-800-USA-SOLD or at Weichert's Web site, www.weichert.com. Each Weichert franchised office is independently owned and operated.

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