Fast facts Featured

6:11am EDT September 30, 2005
  • Real Living Inc. is ranked as the fifth-largest brokerage in the country as measured by closed transactions. The company reported real estate sales of nearly $9.1 billion in 2004.

  • The company sells a home every 12 minutes, on average, and attracts more than 14 million Web site visitors each year.

  • More than 5,000 agents and support staff operate more than 140 offices in 10 states.

  • When HER Realtors merged with Cleveland-based Realty One to form Real Living in 2002, the biggest surprise, says CEO and managing partner Harley Rouda Jr., was buying power. “Before the merger and acquisitions, we always thought we were a big company that had the best deal anyone could possibly negotiate,” rouda says. “We were constantly patting ourselves on the back for beating up vendors on pricing. When you get to the next level for whatever size you are and whatever type of company you are, there’s a whole new set of vendors out there that want to do business with you.” Rouda says the company had budgeted savings into the proformas it expected to obtain from the greater buying power but underestimated how much it would actually be. “We completely missed the mark. We so underestimated savings in that area, it was the biggest surprise of the merger.”

  • Finding businesses to acquire in any industry is challenging, as they often aren’t advertised for sale. Rouda says the best way to find them is to find people with a reputation for being deal-makers, whether they are accountants, investment bankers or attorneys. “If you want to be a buyer in an industry, get to know those people and treat them very nicely. They will bring you deals,” he says.