Realty Biz News Q&A with Sherry Chris
RBN: We recently caught up with Sherry Chris, president and CEO of ERA Real Estate, on the occasion of the brand’s 50th birthday. Founded on a spirit of innovation, the brand is widely known for its uniquely collaborative culture and deep commitment to community. Sherry, what have been some of the ERA brand’s highlights over the years?
Sherry: We were originally called Electronic Realty Associates and the founding premise was to innovate the industry through the use of technology. Every new franchisee received a state-of-the-art fax machine to enhance it service to clients. But the interesting evolution of this innovation was that ERA brokers quickly realized they could easily connect to other brokers throughout the network – not just to share referrals, but to share ideas, best practices and support. Because of this proprietary networking benefit, ERA agents were able to outpace their competition and outperform the industry. The fax machine formed the keystone to what became one of the brand’s defining characteristics – its highly collaborative culture. Obviously, we have come a long way from those early days, and we are still continuing our mission of innovation and collaboration five decades later.
RBN: That is fascinating. A brand head of its time. I understand there are many other firsts in the brand’s history.
Sherry: Yes, in 1973, ERA Real Estate offered the first nationwide home warranty program and a few years later, the company introduced its ERA Sellers Security® Plan, a unique program that offers qualified sellers a specific price and sales date. In 1996, it became the first real estate franchise to post listings online and launch a website. Another important first came in 1981 when ERA became the first real estate franchise to expand internationally with the founding of ERA Japan. We have a highly engaged international community and regularly connect with our colleagues in other countries to expand our understanding of real estate trends and practices around the world. For example, we recently collaborated on a report about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on real estate in countries around the world.
RBN: I’ve often heard you describe the brand as one with both a global reach and deep local roots.
Sherry: If you think about real estate's role in society, our work involves strengthening communities through homeownership. At ERA, we understand that real estate is local. his is why we offer our affiliated real estate professionals the programs, resources, and tools to help them create stronger connections with their clients throughout and beyond the real estate transaction. What’s also truly special about the ERA network, which we refer to as Team ERA, is they are deeply committed to providing support to the many local efforts that make the places we all live and work better. And when we join together as a network, we can accomplish such amazing things. For example, last year, the ERA network collected an unbelievable 11,631 toys for Toys for Tots as part of Giving Tuesday. One of the things that fill me with pride is that everyone on Team ERA makes it a priority to put those in need first and come together for causes like this. We’ve even made community a key element of our 50th birthday celebration with what we’re calling the ERA Cares Across Communities Volunteer Challenge. We are encouraging each ERA affiliated office to volunteer at least 50 hours this year to the charities and organizations making a difference in their communities.
RBN: Please keep us updated on this exciting initiative. What else is on the horizon for the brand?
Sherry: In addition to our core business values of collaboration, innovation and diversity, we are keeping technology at the forefront of our value proposition. We’ve made it easy and convenient for people to connect with an ERA agent using text messaging, which is increasingly the preferred method of communication for today’s consumers. We have also introduced MoxiWorks, a multi-faceted real estate marketing technology platform, to help ERA affiliated agents be more effective and efficient to support their business-building efforts for the long term. Our goal is to ensure that we position the ERA network for continued success well into the future. Market conditions will change, new technology will emerge, and consumer preferences will evolve, but our value – and our values – will endure.