San Diego, CA – Thomas R. Wilkins, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associate recently attended the 2014 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Owners’ Retreat hosted at the world famous Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, California.

The Owner’s Retreat (May 4th through 6th, 2014) was hosted by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate corporate and sponsored by select vendor partners of BHG.  Sherry A. Chris, CEO/President of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate stated, “The 2014 Owners’ Retreat was well attended by Brokers and Owners of the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate franchises from all over the United States.  In addition, this year’s retreat included perspective franchisees from as far away as Hawaii.”  Also in attendance were representatives of Meredith Corporation, owner and publishers of the Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

“I am always excited to introduce Tom Wilkins because he was our first franchisee to join Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in July of 2008.  He attended the launch of the BHG brand at the Inman Convention along with me and other key persons from Realogy.” said Chris.  “He’ll always be No. 1”, Chris further stated.

Sherry Chris presented the opening remarks followed by Alex E. Perriello, III, President and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group, who welcomed everyone to the retreat.  Other keynote speakers and moderators included, for the most part, upper management personnel with the BHGRE brand.  The subjects covered included Marketing/ updates, Legislative Issues and Trends; Broker Sharing; Best Practices on Key Trends, Mergers and Acquisitions; and Strategies for Success.

Said Mark Foreman, Sr. V.P. Broker Services and Operations, “This year we did a number of panel discussions, which we feel is a first in our industry.  We always thought of ourselves as being on the cutting edge and moderating the Sellers’ Perspective—a consumer panel, and our Real Estate Agent panel—what sticks with talent attraction, where we spoke openly to sellers (who had recently closed a transaction) and Real Estate Agents from competing Brokerages about what they looked for in a Broker was truly the cutting edge.”

During the Sellers’ Perspective, Brokers and Owners were able to hear direct from consumers who had recently sold their homes.  The panel included first time sellers, move-up sellers and luxury sellers.  Those in attendance found out what sellers wanted, what sellers didn’t want and what was expected from their Sales Associate and Brokerage companies.  After which, a select panel from those Brokers and Owners in attendance discussed what was said by the consumers and how they reacted to the different parts of the real estate transaction.  Thomas R. Wilkins was part of the panel of four Brokers/Owners who then addressed the attendees and spoke openly about the consumer and commented on what they had to say.

Said Wilkins, “First off, I was honored to be a part of the panel discussion and secondly, it was so interesting to listen to consumers about what they expected in a transaction, how their agent interfaced with them and, of course, the different types of sellers and how each were unique in their own specific wants and needs.”  In addition to Wilkins, the panel included Jennifer Fredericks, BHGRE Preferred Living; Fran Reali, BHGRE Safari Realty; and David Winans, BHGRE David Winans & Associates.

Another high point of the retreat was the Real Estate Agent panel where the Brokers/Owners “heard it direct” from unaffiliated Real Estate Agents as to what would entice them to make a move to another Brokerage company.  Said Wilkins, “There’s been a huge move in the real estate brokerage business.  It’s no longer about the commission split, instead we found that real estate agents are looking more for technology, a broker who is familiar with online marketing, the culture and make-up of an office and, of course, the company’s ability to drive leads, buyer and sellers, to the real estate agent.”

The Brokers/Owners were treated to cocktails and dinner aboard the USS Midway which is dry-docked in San Diego and currently a museum.  The retreat was held at the Hotel del Coronado, a landmark in San Diego, built in 1886 and reportedly, Thomas Edison was the electrician engineer who drew the initial electrical configuration for the hotel.  Rich in history, noted persons such as Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, Charlie Chaplin, Kurt Douglas, Marilyn Monroe, and a host of other celebrities often frequented the Hotel del Coronado.

“The Hotel del Coronado is California’s answer to Skytop Lodge and Pocono Manor.” chuckled Wilkins.

The Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate name is owned by Meredith Corporation, publishers of the Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.  The name is licensed to Realogy, a publicly traded company in Madison, NJ who also own Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ERA Realty, and Sotheby’s.  While being the newest member brand to Realogy, the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate name, in addition to its partnership with Meredith Corporation, is quickly becoming the leading real estate franchise in the United States.

Said Wilkins, “There’s no other franchise I would have ever have thought about joining other than Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.  They are truly an American tradition and when you partner Meredith with Realogy, the branding BHG offers us as Broker/Owners is something that no one else will ever have in the Poconos.”

Wilkins owns and operates Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates, Wilkins & Associates Commercial Brokers, Inc.; NEPA Management Associates, Inc.; and Wilkins & Associates—PROPERTY MANAGEMENT.  All offices are open 7 days a week.  In 2013 the Wilkins organization celebrated their 25th year in business.