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Wint plugs into real estate network through Better Homes franchise

Published:Sunday | March 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
Realtor Edwin Wint.

Jamaican realty company La Maison Property Services Limited has become a franchisee of an American operation called Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC and has rebranded under the new name.

La Maison's name change to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Jamaica Limited was effected on March 13. The company now operates from Trafalgar Road in New Kingston as its main base and maintains its outlet at Fairview in Montego Bay.

CEO Edwin Wint said the service offerings have also changed under the new partnership.

"We no longer offer auctioneering, project management, and advisory services. We offer only sales and rental, valuations, and property management under Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Jamaica," Wint said Thursday.

The company plans to add new branches in the next three years in other parts of Jamaica.

The company has rebranded its Montego Bay operation, located in the Fairview Town centre under the new name. Over a period of three years, Wint outlined, other branches will be established in new areas of the island.

The Better Homes deal gives Wint a link into a wider network, comprising independently owned and operated franchises in the United States and Canada.

Better Homes is itself trying to expand its presence in the Caribbean, targeting persons seeking a second home and lifestyle enhancement.

"By consolidating their local expertise and diverse range of services with our comprehensive network of resources, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Jamaica is the ideal partner to help us strengthen our foothold in the Caribbean market," said Better Homes President and CEO Sherry Chris in a statement announcing that La Maison had become the company's newest franchisee.

Better Homes Real Estate was launched in 2008 by Realogy, which secured rights to the name from Meredith Corporation, a media and marketing company and publisher of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

In October 2007, Meredith Corporation granted Realogy the right to license the Better Homes and Gardens name and related trademarks for 100 years. Realogy relaunched the Better Homes and Gardens franchise network on July 1, 2008, and named Sherry Chris, then COO of Coldwell Banker, the CEO and president.

"We have the backing of two Fortune 500 companies Meredith and Realogy. We have the magazine. We have 97 percent brand awareness, the highest of any company, in the BHG markets," said Wint as he laid out the benefits of the partnership.

"These are tools that the other Realogy brands do not have. Meredith has a database of 100 million to which we can send our listings," he added.

At the offices that Wint opened in Kingston, he now employs a staff of 12, plus 21 agents, and is looking to hire more people.

He said that the investment in the new venture was subject to confidentiality agreements but noted that it was "significant".

"With very strong tools, technology, training, and support, we expect to see a significant increase in our real estate income and we are actively recruiting new agents," he added.

Better Homes Jamaica will be developing a new business line related to second-home sales in this market, said Wint, but he noted that his franchise agreement did not extend to the Caribbean.