It may not be a natural choice for some, but real estate franchising is a worthwhile endeavor for the right kind of entrepreneur.
Investing in property has always been considered a financially savvy choice, and history has shown that – for the most part – the buying and selling of homes or commercial space is a good way to diversify and bolster your income.
Not surprisingly, this has also opened up the real estate market to franchising. Hundreds of franchise concepts now exist around the world to facilitate property sales, and although the industry is prone to fluctuations, some of the biggest players have grown into hugely successful businesses.
Take the likes of RE/MAX, for example, which initially entered the market in 1973, and has now developed into a household name. And why wouldn’t it? At 7,350 offices around the globe populated by over 110,000 agents, it managed to achieve the kind of numbers that emerging franchises can only dream of.
It’s not just growth figures that highlight why real estate franchising is a worthwhile cause, of course. In 2018, it was estimated that the real estate franchise industry produced roughly $53bn in revenue. Just the year before, the construction of new residential and industrial buildings in the U.S. added $1.03tr to the economy. Buildings mean big business, and for the right kind of franchisee, they can also mean a rewarding career and an exponentially growing network of like-minded partners.
One brand looking to carve up a segment of the real estate franchising market is easyProperty. Relaunched by CEO David Brierley in January 2020, easyProperty almost immediately ran into the first U.K. lockdown brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, it continued to attract investment from franchisees that saw the potential of the sector, and by September, it had expanded to 41 locations and announced aggressive expansion plans for the new year.
“We attracted a mix of existing high street estate agents who see the future in more flexible working and more tech-enabled working,” says David Brierley. “And then we’ve got people who are in business and who see property as an interesting way of earning a living – and a reasonably lucrative one.”
The steady growth of easyProperty highlights a key aspect of the real estate franchise industry that investors from other market segments will find familiar: the inexorable shift toward tech. Rather than traditional brick-and-mortar offices, easyProperty instead handles much of the admin side of things online and has licensed agents who can visit clients on the ground to keep the human touch intact.
We’ve got people who are in business and who see property as an interesting way of earning a living – and a reasonably lucrative one”
And in a world where businesses from every industry are struggling to justify a wholly brick-and-mortar approach, it’s ironic that a brand dealing in property is working on a solution.
“We term it ‘tech-and-touch’,” explains Brierley. “So the ‘touch’ is our licensed agents on the ground who can make a visit to a property and interact with the consumer. The ‘tech’ allows the consumer to interact 24/7, request viewings, book valuations. A lot of the work that the traditional agent would do over the telephone is handled via technology. Which is what the consumer wants; it’s what Amazon does. You don’t talk to anybody at Amazon, you just order it and it arrives. That’s pretty much what the consumer wants in all aspects of their lives these days.”
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