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Movers & Shakers: ERA, Coldwell Banker and Better Homes and Gardens


Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC announced that Gaetano Marra, the lead of the Gaetano Marra Homes Team, has opened a new Connecticut brokerage and affiliated with Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate. The new Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gaetano Marra Homes is based in Monroe and serves Fairfield and New Haven Counties.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gaetano Marra Homes is the first company in the BHGRE® brand’s history to affiliate with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate through an entirely virtual process. Marra, the broker/owner, will be joined by nearly 30 agents and his existing support staff, in the new brokerage. The team did 281 transactions in 40 different communities in 2019 equating to $67 million in sales volume.


ERA® Real Estate, a global franchising leader within the Realogy family of companies, announced the affiliation of Nations Realty in Seatac, Washington. Founded by broker/owner Kennedy Akinlosotu in 1998, the firm will now do business as ERA Nations Realty.

A boutique agency with a focus on helping immigrants achieve the dream of homeownership, the firm boasts affiliated sales associates from five countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Congo, Portugal and the United States.

 Akinlosotu intends to leverage his affiliation with ERA to recruit agents from additional countries to further support the company’s mission, which is inspired by his own personal experiences as an international college student. Following graduation from the University of Nevada, a college professor encouraged Akinlosotu to purchase his own home in 1987 and helped him navigate the process, which Akinlosotu found challenging. After receiving his MBA in marketing and financing, he decided to pursue a career in real estate to help others like him become homeowners.

Akinlosotu has identified the need for first-time homebuyer education in his target market and anticipates that his growing rank of international agents will be able connect with clients in their native languages. As president of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Akinlosotu is leading an outreach effort to African and African-American millennials to showcase the emotional and financial benefits of homeownership.   


Coldwell Banker Premier Properties announced that it has merged with the Schmidt Family of Companies, one of the nation’s largest real estate firms. Based in Traverse City, Mich., the Schmidt Family of Companies operates more than 90 Coldwell Banker offices with approximately 2,000 agents on both coasts of Florida, western and northern Michigan, northeast Ohio and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Schmidt Family of Companies is a fifth generation, full-service real estate brokerage firm that was founded in Michigan in 1927. Led by Ken Schmidt and his son Mike, the company generated a combined 18,765 transactions and $3.9 billion in sales volume in 2019. It now moves into the top 30 of the largest real estate companies in the nation according to REAL Trends.

Coldwell Banker Premier Properties is one of the top 50 Coldwell Banker franchisees nationally with 1,323 transaction sides in 2019 leading to more than $400 million in sales volume in 2019. The company was founded in 1998 by Steve Cupolo and grew to 11 offices with 250 agents serving eastern Florida from St. Augustine and northern St. John’s County down through Daytona Beach. The company will retain its name and Cupolo will now serve as Regional Vice President maintaining leadership of day-to-day operations. 

“We have known Steve for a long time and our values align so well,” said Ken Schmidt, CEO of the Schmidt Family of Companies. “As we have grown from our roots in northern Michigan and into the Cleveland area, we strategically chose to expand further with a concentration in Florida. Coldwell Banker Premier Properties is another that affords us the opportunity to focus on waterfront, resort and luxury markets where our experiences can assist in growth. We look forward to the local expertise Steve and his agents provide and know they will benefit from our size, scope, and ability to develop natural referral opportunities.” For more information visit www.schmidtfamilyofcompanies.com.

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