Franchise real estate offices are closing, consolidating, and selling out to other companies in these tough times. These stories have been in the news around the country, and every franchise brokerage, especially the top heavy bricks-and-mortars, has been hit hard in the recession. That’s not front page news anymore, but the issue I want to address here is how all this effects clients. How are buyers and sellers effected when franchise real estate offices close? The answer may surprise you.
Franchise Real Estate Offices Closing
I am consumer-centric, so I often ask questions that business analysts don’t ask. When there are major changes in business models, consumers’ best interests are often left out of the discussion. If you are a buyer or seller, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that around the country many large franchise real estate offices have been closing since 2007 and every year since. In the Tacoma and Seattle area many franchise offices have closed and consolidated. Even in Sequim and Port Angeles we have seen offices closing and consolidating. We lost a REMAX office that was closed permanently. We lost two large independent offices that have been around for a long time. One went out of business permanently and the other lost their big building and moved into small offices. A Windermere office consolidated with another Windermere office. Now rumors abound about the possible closing of more offices.
The Meaning for You When Franchise Real Estate Offices Close
There are several very significant consequences to you as a consumer when franchise real estate offices close. Do you know what these consequences are? Here is a bullet list that should get your synapses firing rapidly.
- Since franchise offices and large brokerages own the clients and the marketing systems with websites and typically the lead generation systems, and often the CRM (customer relationship management) systems as well as all the files and data, when franchise real estate offices close, all those systems do not necessary go with the agents when the agents move to a new brokerage. In fact, they rarely do. That means everything that was in place for listing clients can go “poof.” Gone. Get ready to start all over again with another brokerage.
- When franchise real estate offices close, all the website or blog search engine ranking may just fall off into nothingness, because the franchise SEO (search engine optimization) will not transfer to a new brokerage. All the SEO related marketing done for a listing client may just disappear.
- When franchise real estate brokers close, all the years of branding the name implodes and is of no further help to buyers or sellers.
- The agents can end up suffering a major upset in their business and in their relationships with clients and prospective clients. If the franchise maintained ownership and control of their websites and lead generation systems, and if they maintain control of all the clients, an agent could end up starting his or her business all over again.
Franchise Real Estate Offices and Consumers
The key for consumers (buyers and sellers) will be continuity in all marketing systems, and certainly in the stability of your broker. A financially strong and experienced independent broker probably has the advantage today over franchise offices. You want to know your broker will be around for a long time, and you want to know your personal agent has ownership and control over all the marketing systems that impact you. Now you know why consumers and real estate agents can get hurt when franchise real estate offices close.
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