Abstract Earth view from space with fiber optic cables rising from major cities.
(World Map Courtesy of NASA: https://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=55167)
While ERA Real Estate was founded in the United States, it has become a global brand. Today, the company has a presence in 34 countries and territories throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
In 1981, it became the first real estate network to franchise outside North America with the opening of ERA Japan. In 1993, it launched its first European master franchise with ERA France.
ERA Asia Pacific Headquartered in Singapore, ERA Asia Pacific has been pioneering real estate concepts, technologies and services in Asia since its inception.
ERA Asia Pacific now has a vast network of offices throughout the region, composed of 17,818 associates spanning nine other countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam.
In Singapore alone, ERA boasts a large real estate presence, with more than 6,800 sales associates who provide a diverse range of professional services and solutions.
This past May, ERA Asia Pacific was awarded the Asia Pacific Property Awards highest industry honor—the 5-Star Distinction in the “Real Estate Agency Single Office” category. But Jack Chua, CEO of ERA Singapore and head of ERA Asia Pacific, isn’t done yet.
“Our objective is to grow our number of franchises, the number of sales associates, and, most important, the number of transactions. We want to establish ERA in more countries in the Asia Pacific region and strengthen our reputation as the real estate leader in Asia.”
Through its extensive network, specially curated training courses, innovative technological tools and refinement of the Ultimate Agent Training Programme, ERA Asia Pacific has been able to revolutionize associates’ skills, equip them with the latest trends and market insights, and help them stay ahead of the competition.
ERA Europe Francois Gagnon’s commute is sometimes eight hours—by plane. The president of ERA Europe and ERA France, Gagnon is currently based in the U.S. and spends at least two weeks each month in Europe. “I typically spend one week in France, where I’m heavily involved in day-to-day operations, and then I’ll go to other countries depending on my meetings or where I’m needed.”
Established in 1993, ERA France was the first master franchise established in Europe. In the years since, ERA France grew from five offices to over 400 offices with nearly 2,500 sales agents and brokers. ERA Europe now comprises 1,108 offices with 17 European member countries.
“You have to take into consideration the cultural differences, along with legal differences and licensing requirements,” explains Gagnon. “Where some countries have very strict licensing requirements, others have none. That plays into development strategies, and who you choose to move forward with from a development perspective.”
Understanding the culture of each franchise has helped Gagnon navigate the challenges of developing business in vastly different cultures and countries.
A major example Gagnon points to is ERA’s Commitment to Service, which he calls “a genius idea.” Essentially a written assurance of what services will be performed during the sale of a property, the Commitment to Service stipulates that if those duties aren’t performed as promised, the seller has the right to cancel the listing.
“It’s a very important tool for us because in most of the European countries, securing exclusive listings is challenging,” Gagnon explains.
Both Chua and Gagnon will tell you that translating the educational materials is the easiest part of developing business in foreign markets. The real challenge is adapting materials so they address the unique cultural norms and laws of a given region. ERA, a company built on its ability to create change, has enabled leaders like Chua and Gagnon to “grow their way with ERA” all over the globe.