Brokerage

Lasting Impact: Weston Edwards, founding chairman, Merrill Lynch Realty

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Lasting Impact: Weston Edwards brought the first wave of outside capital to the industry

Merrill Lynch’s entry into residential brokerage was the opening salvo of a massive wave of investment in residential brokerage. They were the first. Edwards led that effort and from 1977 on for the next 10 years he and his team solidified the term “one-stop” shopping for residential real estate and acquired dozens of leading residential brokerage firms. By the mid 1980’s they were among the top five residential brokerage firms by sales in the country.

Merrill Lynch was then recognized as one of the most powerful and well-run investment/securities firms in the world. Their move into residential real estate, led by Edwards opened the door to a wave of acquisitions by such firms as Sears (through Coldwell Banker) and numerous savings and loan institutions among others along with today’s Anywhere Real Estate and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Steve Murray is a senior advisor for RealTrends and a partner in brokerage consulting firm RTC Consulting.

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