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Why Renovation Sells is Becoming Every Real Estate Agent’s New Best Friend

By providing renovations specifically to help real estate agents sell houses faster and at a higher price, the emerging franchise has become a lucrative partner in the real estate world.

By Ben Warren1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSORED 1:13PM 10/23/20

In the three short years since home-renovations franchise Renovation Sells was founded, the business has grown rapidly, rehabbing more than 150 homes at an average cost of just $20,000 per project. If you’ve ever worked in home renovations, you know exactly how rare those numbers are, especially for an emerging brand. Maintaining a full pipeline of clients is never easy for a rehab company, no matter how stellar its reputation, but Renovation Sells has done exactly that. By standing out in this niche, they have built a thriving roster of clients eager to partner with the growing brand.

Renovation Sells’ key innovation was positioning real estate agents as the franchise’s primary client. Where most rehab companies take on custom projects with homeowners looking to upgrade their houses for their own families, Renovation Sells instead works with real estate agents who are helping homeowners sell their homes. That means that, rather than seeking endless one-and-done projects, Renovation Sells owners tap into a thriving network of real estate agents who maintain their own portfolios of houses that may benefit from upgrades to increase its sales time and price.

“The relationship with real estate agents comes naturally,” said Renovation Sells Co-Founder Michael Valente. “We make their job much easier, and much more profitable, so they want to use us for every project. When we work with a new real estate agent, one project can easily become two or three.”

The brand’s relationship with realtors also means that, unlike independent contractors, Renovation Sells’ clients aren’t shopping around for the best quotes.

“In this business, contractors are always getting edged out by a competitor who can offer a more attractive quote, even if they can’t actually fulfill it,” Michael said. “It’s a huge hurdle that our model completely avoids by relying on strong relationships with repeat clients.”

In addition to a thriving client base, Renovation Sells’ focus on rehabbing homes for sale has made its projects much more profitable than traditional rehab work, which can be unpredictable and too often exceed time and budget, eating into the rehabber’s profits.

“When you work with someone who is rehabbing their home for themselves, they don’t know anything about construction — they just have their own personal preferences,” Michael explained. “Worse, there’s always one more thing. There’s always a change in plans or an additional upgrade that makes it impossible to finish the job on time.”

But the goals of realtors, Michael says, are much more in line with Renovation Sells’ goals: namely, making a home as desirable to buyers as possible and getting it to market as quickly as possible. 

“In traditional renovations, there can be a tension between the client and the rehabber,” he said. “It can feel like you are playing for opposing teams, but with the realtor, you’re always on the same team.”

Renovation Sells other co-founder, Michael’s wife Amanda, says it’s not unusual for traditional renovations to cost $100,000 “for a kitchen alone.” But Renovation Sells approaches projects more strategically, finding cost-effective upgrades that make homes more attractive to potential buyers. That strategy has brought the franchise’s average kitchen refresh cost down to just $14,000.

“Our projects are smaller in scope, which makes them much more profitable,” Amanda explained. “We get in and out, and we don’t overspend on massive renovations that do little to raise the price tag on the home, so we’re able to take on more projects throughout the year.”

Briana Gershenzon, Renovation Sells’ interior designer, says the company’s customized design boards have also played an important role in the franchise’s early growth.

“It’s not a copy-and-paste template, so we can work with real estate agents to find the best design for the project, but we have a list of materials approved for each design board so we don’t have to waste any time going back and forth about material selection or other design-specific details,” Gershenzon explained.

That design model also means that Renovation Sells franchisees don’t need any design expertise to be successful. “We develop the design on their behalf, and they can simply present the options to the seller and get to work on the chosen model,” Gershenzon said.

In Renovation Sells’ first year, its clients’ homes sold at an average of 97% of the asking price. In 2019, as word spread, the company saw a whopping 310% increase in sales. That growth carried over into 2020, when, despite a pandemic that brought the economy to a screeching halt, Renovation Sells still saw another 20% increase in sales.

Much of that growth, Michael says, can be attributed to a rising demand for pre-sale renovations.

“With millennials, we have a new generation of buyers who mostly aren’t interested in the larger, older homes the baby boomers are now trying to offload. They want smaller, stylish homes, and that demand is only increasing,” Michael said. “That means a real estate agent with a stock of relatively drab or boring homes stands to make a killing with some key upgrades, and that’s where we come in.”

Now, Renovation Sells is preparing to build on its substantial early momentum in Chicago by bringing on franchisees to establish the business in new markets. 

“For business-minded construction professionals who are sick of the headaches that come with standard renovation projects, or even for entrepreneurs who see the growth potential in the housing market but aren’t sure quite how to jump in, this is an incredibly valuable opportunity,” Michael said. “We’ve got the business nailed — we just need smart, capable people to step in and start working it.”

The initial investment to franchise with Renovation Sells ranges from $78,208 to $101,142, including a $50,000 franchise fee. The brand is actively seeking franchise owners in Illinois. For more information on franchising with Renovation Sells, please visit https://www.renovationsells.com/franchise.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.

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