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Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate hits Mobile, Alabama

Joshua Tanner, at left, and Leighton Dees, far right, opened Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Generations in Mobile, Alabama Tuesday. At center is Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate based in New Jersey. (Press-Register/John David Mercer)

MOBILE, Alabama — Real estate executive Sherry Chris arrived in Mobile at 10:30 p.m. Monday, and was greeted via Twitter by the newest generation of Better Homes and Garden Real Estate franchisees.

Oracle Real Estate owners Joshua Tanner and Leighton Dees in Mobile share Better Homes’ focus on social media and technology, and that helped convince them to buy the Better Homes franchise for Mobile and Baldwin counties.

On Tuesday, the partners launched the new company, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Generations at a celebration in the Sky View Lounge at the Downtown Holiday Inn.

To view the agency’s new website go to www.BHGgo.com.

The company has 30 agents, and the partners plan to acquire other Better Homes franchises around the state, Dees said.

Better Homes, based in Parsippany, N.J., was formed three years ago with the goal to reach out to the next generation of buyers and sellers, according to Chris, president and chief executive of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC.

“Who is buying and selling now? It’s the Echo Boomers, 18 to 34 years old,” she said. “That is the future group” of buyers and sellers.

The fact that BHG has a 97 percent brand recognition, was a big plus, Dees said. “We partnered with a media giant.”

Chris said 40 million consumers read Better Homes and Gardens magazine, which bucked the trend for most print media by increasing advertising revenues in 2009 and 2010.

Her company, a subsidiary of global real estate and relocation firm Realogy Corp., licenses the Better Homes and Gardens brand.

Dees, 32, and Tanner, 31, “are perfect examples of the types of companies we have all over the country,” Chris said. The partners share the same philosophy of the future of the industry, she said.

“Our role has changed, We are not the gatekeepers of information. Now we’re the collaborator and trusted advisor for the consumer. And we help them make their home buying experience better.”

Buying a house today is more about looking at lifestyle and the community than the actual house, she said.

The Mobile office is Better Homes’ first foray into Alabama, though the company now has more than 200 offices in 24 states and about 7,000 agents.

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