ERA Real Estate is a global property franchisor that was founded in 1971 by Jim Jackson, and was originally called Electronic Realty Associates as Jackson wanted to utilize all available electronic technologies to deliver a superior service. The brand has grown prodigiously since then and is now present in 46 states and the District of Columbia.
ERA has a strong global presence too; with offices in 31 countries and counting. While the global pandemic lowered house-buying activity, ERA Real Estate managed to secure a master franchise agreement in Paraguay in October of this year. A recently released report by the real estate brand strongly suggests that the industry is rebounding after COVID-19 and seeing increased demand for property due to a variety of reasons.
We caught up with Sherry Chris, the CEO of ERA Real Estate for a snapshot of how the industry is coping with COVID-19, and what the plans are for the future.
RP: How long do you see the impact that COVID-19 had on various property markets continuing?
SC: The real estate industry has generally been very buoyant – we have had two very successful years. While we hypothesize COVID-19 is here to stay for many more years to come, the reality is that the real estate industry is incredibly resilient.
“The most significant attitude shift for consumers comes from a re-evaluation of their lives which has resulted in people moving out of cities for other lifestyle opportunities”
Over the last two years, we have adapted and will continue to adapt, thus diminishing the virus’s overall impact on business as we create new ways to solve today’s problems. In some cities, the pandemic has escalated home prices and may continue to do so as a result of supply and demand issues and other macroeconomic factors.
RP: Has there been any kind of attitude change in homebuyers during the course of the pandemic?
SC: The use of technology has been paramount in serving our customers through the pandemic. Methods of home purchases might have shifted, with more online shopping for listings and more technology-assisted showings and document management, but the buying and selling of homes remain.
The most significant attitude shift for consumers comes from a re-evaluation of their lives which has resulted in people moving out of cities for other lifestyle opportunities they can pursue because of the possibility of working remotely. Working from home has also led to a desire for more space with larger social areas.
RP: Which global markets look most primed for growth for property franchisors?
SC: We have seen that a global brand can be effective in mature markets with strong brand awareness such as Canada and in developing countries like Thailand where a global brand can add value to the real estate industry. We believe countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and the Caribbean Islands are well-positioned for real estate franchisors because of the inherent growth opportunities in developing nations.
RP: Do you feel as if there are a growing number of competitors in your space?
SC: Yes, but choice is good, and we are extremely proud of our position in the marketplace. ERA Real Estate is a global leader in real estate franchising because of our proven track record over nearly 50 years and our commitment to innovation. But at the end of the day franchising is a proven, successful way to grow a business both as a franchisor and franchisee alike, so having options is always a benefit.
RP: What markets are you set on expanding into in 2022 and 2023?
SC: We take the approach that the world is truly our oyster. We are constantly monitoring global markets for expansion opportunities as well as qualified candidates to fuel growth for the brand. Of course, entering a new market is very exciting because of the growth potential.