NextHome is leaning into what makes the franchisor strong: an unwavering dedication to the humans who buy and sell houses. That focus on relationship-based real estate has positioned the company to ride the waves of disruption, even leading the charge forward into uncharted territory.
At NextHome’s core is the concept of Humans Over Houses®, or the idea that if people are the priority, profits will follow. This approach has built remarkable success. Standing strong today with more than 615 offices and 5,600 associates nationwide since launching only nine years ago, NextHome is one of the fastest-growing franchises in real estate.
Along with all other real estate brands, NextHome will have to weather what’s to come. Continuing low inventory, high interest rates, pending compensation lawsuits and more mean that challenges lie ahead for anyone who buys or sells homes.
Whatever headwinds are on the horizon, NextHome remains committed to its core values: emphasizing quality over quantity, growing with strength and always putting people first. Here, we sit down with Vice President of Sales Charis Moreno for an inside look at how NextHome continues to thrive amidst challenging market conditions.
What has been NextHome’s focus for the year?
Charis Moreno: It’s interesting to see how many brokers and agents jumped into real estate during the high times, thinking it was their golden ticket, only to realize in the tougher times that maybe it’s not their true calling after all. Transactional volume has been stagnant or declining for a year, mortgage rates are stubbornly hovering around 7% and numerous class-action lawsuits threaten our industry. If you choose to stress about these factors, all outside our control, then it’s easy to see why so many agents are leaving their careers in real estate.
At NextHome, we are focused on empowering the talented and determined professionals who remain. Our goal is to provide them with unparalleled support to not just survive but thrive—no matter what the market brings.
We are fond of saying that “hope is not a strategy.” Rather, you have to give people a strategy in order to give them hope. This is why we take the burden of keeping a close eye on the current headlines and future trends shaping real estate, then provide the solutions and support our members need to become more successful. We aim to free up their time so they can do what they do best—guiding buyers and sellers on their journey to homeownership.
Each NextHome broker, owner and associate chooses to partner with us because we are the right fit for the way they want to do business. With every new office addition, anywhere between five to 10 new franchisees per month, our core only becomes stronger. This is where NextHome excels—emphasizing quality over quantity.
We are selective about who represents our brand and seek professionals who are deeply rooted in their communities, who care about the clients they serve, and who have the grit to roll up their sleeves and work hard. Buying a home is the biggest investment a person will likely ever make, and it’s an even bigger deal when the family dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. Between low inventory and rising interest rates, affordability is as hard as it has ever been. Our NextHome members are skilled at educating on these pain points and looking for creative solutions. They recognize that now more than ever, who you align with matters.
However, it takes more than tossing different products and tools at someone and hoping they stick. Most of us didn’t get into this profession because we love technology; we are in real estate because we are passionate about helping people navigate a stressful process. NextHome empowers members to leverage technology in a way that gets them more face time and less screen time. We’ve been very successful at it and have an unmatched adoption rate of nearly 75% across all our tools.
Everyone is worried about disruption in our industry. Where do you see real estate in the next five to 10 years?
CM: Before I give you my predictions, let me first share a little about my background. My career started with real estate portals—what many call the original disruptors. Over the years, I’ve seen the fear shift back and forth between Zillow, iBuyers, artificial intelligence and now class action lawsuits. I’m not worried about industry disruption; I welcome it. Since transitioning to franchising and helping launch NextHome, I believe we are equal parts disruptors. Our model proves that real estate franchising can be automated, integrated and affordable, without sacrificing value. NextHome is prepared to lead no matter what happens in the next few years.
Last year, we started laying the foundation for how to navigate today’s shifting market. Our executive team rolled out a six-week webinar series on how to approach the upcoming challenges. We added virtual town hall meetings and training for our members. We leaned into company-wide collaboration and helped our brokers and agents become even stronger in the basics of real estate. We’ve also been at the forefront of mapping out the solutions to the legal changes looming over our industry.
Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuits, real estate will be done differently on the other side. There will be fewer real estate professionals in the business, but the ones who adapt will survive. At NextHome, we’ve already been adapting.
We wake up every day and work on identifying where the real estate puck will be, not just where it is today. By getting ahead of market changes, we can tweak our marketing and tech stack to best support our members. Our goal is to give them the confidence to move forward without fearing the pace of change in our industry.
When I think about the future, I see real estate getting stronger at its core. Disruption is going to happen, and it’s going to force some people out of real estate. But for people who are prepared, disruption and innovation are the ways forward.
How do you balance the challenges of today’s market with maintaining your culture?
CM: NextHome’s culture is the very thing that empowers us to face the challenges of today’s market. We are a family of more than 5,600 brokers, owners and associates who come from different races, genders, religions, political backgrounds, etc. The diversity in our network is vast, yet when we all get together, it is one group pushing forward toward a common goal. You can see and feel this so clearly at our NextHome events, and it’s the most surreal experience I’ve had in my 20-plus years in real estate.
When growing at the pace NextHome has been expanding, you can’t rely on sheer luck to maintain a culture like that. You have to make a real effort to never lose sight of the human element. For us, this means gathering the stories of buyers and sellers who have worked with NextHome agents, and proudly sharing them on HumansOverHouses.com. It means being transparent with our members on where the company stands today and where it’s going tomorrow, and truly listening to their honest feedback. It means engaging our franchise owners deeper into the inner workings of the organization through committees focused on education, marketing, charity and more.
This company-wide collaboration is evident in The Academy. It’s a coaching program led by some of NextHome’s highest-performing professionals. They are taking time away from their own business to help others stay accountable and reach their goals. It’s uncommon for our industry. Too often in real estate, I see this mistaken belief that if someone else is doing well, there is no room for others to succeed. Our Academy coaches, along with the rest of our NextHome members, don’t like that approach, and we don’t embrace it.
Abundance creates success, and our brokers, owners and associates know that. When someone is interested in opening a NextHome franchise, they will often pick up the phone and talk to an existing owner. They discover that the person on the other end of the line genuinely wants them to thrive.
We lead by putting our members first. Then, our members in turn put their buyers and sellers first. By supporting each other in a collaborative, rather than competitive, environment, we maintain a great culture no matter the market conditions.
What do you do well that sets you apart from other brands?
CM: There are, of course, other good real estate brands out there. What sets NextHome apart is our ability to streamline these products and systems and make them work in a way that delivers results. Each addition to our tech stack is strategic and well thought-out, not a move designed to simply check a box. Our products are meant to complement your business and ensure your data remains yours, never sold back to you via referral fees.
As an included benefit, all NextHome members get access to a suite of 12 great technology tools. On their own, these tools are helpful, but we’ve integrated them all into one seamless, single sign-on system. There is no need to log into several platforms or remember multiple passwords because everything you need is all in one place.
Streamlining is only the first step. Since technology is only as useful as the person leveraging it, next comes training and support. Along with a full library of video tutorials, NextHome has an in-house member-services team to help our members learn how to use the tools at their fingertips. These are real people, not a chatbot, and they are truly invested in the success of our brokers, owners and associates.
The marketing and technology platform we offer is powerful, but it also retains a soft touch. We believe that the tools should move into the background and allow you to do what you do best, which is helping people through one of the most important decisions of their lives.
Flexibility also allows our members to create an office that will weather whatever comes. Owners can pick what works best for their business, whether it’s a large office with lots of agents or a virtual office of one. Our agreements are among the shortest in the industry, with owners selecting either a one-year or five-year term.
Earlier this year, NextHome was named the No. 1 franchise in owner satisfaction in the country for the third year in a row. After surveying nearly 38,000 franchisees from over 360 franchise brands, Franchise Business Review ranked us a top franchise for offering exceptional value in the areas of marketing, financial opportunity, training, support and more.
You could say the recognition is a testament to our flexible franchise model and corporate support, but we attribute it to our NextHome brokers and agents across the country. They work tirelessly to make the dream of homeownership a reality in their communities, and we’re proud to be their partners in this journey.