SHERRY CHRIS: ERA was founded in 1971 by Jim Jackson and began franchising a year later, making this year our 50th birthday. Since the beginning, ERA has played a major role in the evolution of the real estate industry. We were the first real estate franchise to expand internationally with the launch of ERA Japan in 1981. The ERA network was also the first national real estate brand to offer home warranties in 1973 and we were also the first to offer a guaranteed home sale program. We also are very proud that ERA was the first to post listings online in 1996.
There are many other firsts, but one that shows our relevance today is that we pioneered the flexible branding model. Our Powered by ERA branding model offers companies the ability to utilize the power of ERA while retaining the brand equity they’ve worked hard to build in their local markets.
Today the ERA Real Estate network includes more than 40,000 affiliated brokers and independent sales associates and approximately 2,390 offices in 33 countries and territories including the U.S.
As we celebrate 50 years, we are also looking ahead. ERA has never been a brand that rests on its prior achievements. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to help our affiliated brokers and agents maintain their competitive advantage and strengthen and grow their businesses.
REALTY BIZ NEWS (RBN): You launched Prosper with Team ERA at your recent IGNITE conference to help your broker's agents best balance their work and personal lives. Can you talk about the program?
SHERRY CHRIS (SC): Real estate can be a fast-paced and intensive career. Since the ERA brand is built on support and collaboration, we want to do more to invest in that culture – especially for our affiliated agents and brokers. Prosper with Team ERA is a new multi-faceted program to educate, inspire and motivate our network in the areas of stress management, nutrition, physical movement, and sleep and recovery. We believe that by supporting their well-being, it will in turn help real estate professionals make healthier decisions in their day-to-day work and life commitments.
REALTY BIZ NEWS (RBN): ERA is having a great year so far in attracting new franchisees and being recognized by Entrepreneur as a franchising leader. What is the reason for this success?
SHERRY CHRIS (SC): ERA is having an exciting year! We are proud that ERA has maintained its powerful momentum and continues to attract outstanding new affiliated companies. There is no doubt that our newer affiliates, along with our existing ones, are drawn to two main ERA pillars – our collaborative culture and incredible connection to the local communities we serve.
ERA is widely known for its unique, collaborative culture, which we call Team ERA. I am continuously amazed at how ERA brokers/owners, staff, and agents work together and learn from each other. They routinely share information, ideas, and best practices – a characteristic especially powerful during market shifts, like the one we are facing today.
ERA is also a brand that has always understood that real estate happens at the local level. Our goal is to harness the entrepreneurial spirit of our brokers and agents and provide them with innovative technology, marketing infrastructure and programs to empower our affiliates to build their businesses the way that works best for them.
Of course, our entire strategic growth team, led by Diana Wall, has done a fantastic job. We have already signed 12 new firms in 2022 in 11 different states. We also signed Master Franchise agreements with ERA Uruguay and ERA Spain, adding to our international presence.
REALTY BIZ NEWS (RBN): I understand that so far 14 ERA companies reaffirmed their commitment to the brand by renewing their franchise agreements this year. What does this type of loyalty mean to you?
SHERRY CHRIS (SC): For so many to renew is a testament to ERA’s culture, the value our brand support team provides, our dedication to training and local marketing materials and advertising programming, and the value our parent company Anywhere Real Estate Inc. provides.
It really speaks volumes when companies renew. They truly believe in the brand and know ERA provides a tremendous value that resonates with their agents, buyers and sellers.
Along with renewals, it’s important to point out that our team also supports our existing brokerages in their M&A activity. We have helped several of our larger firms already this year.
REALTY BIZ NEWS (RBN): In closing, you’ve talked a lot about culture. Why is that so important?
SHERRY CHRIS (SC): Let’s face it. Real estate is a very competitive business with a variety of models. Choosing a brokerage or brand should not be based solely on the splits and other financial incentives. I know you have a lot of agents reading this and I want them to know that doing your homework on company and brand culture is a really critical step in choosing a firm. Not every company or brand is the same. And you likely will not thrive if you are not happy and surrounded by like-minded individuals. The fit has to be right. ERA has an amazing culture. There is such pride in the brand and being a part of Team ERA. And, as I’ve shared with you earlier, collaboration is part of ERA’s DNA. Support, assistance and counsel are always available to anyone in the ERA network – I’ve yet to meet an ERA professional who doesn’t value our connected community.