Newest NextHome franchise fills a niche in NC relocations

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Pleasanton, CA — November 22, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce the latest addition to the franchise, NextHome Built By Referral Realty. The Jacksonville-based brokerage represents the 18th NextHome franchised location opened in the state of North Carolina. The office is owned and operated by Jacksonville-local Karen Stewart and Rodger Thixton will be the broker of record. 

NextHome Built By Referral Realty is happy to serve clients around Jacksonville including Onslow and surrounding counties. 

Located just 30 miles north of Wilmington, Jacksonville is known as the home of Camp Lejeune – the largest Marine Corps base on the East Coast. The area is also known for its beautiful beaches, picturesque riverfront properties, and ocean breezes. Jacksonville is one of the fastest-growing small cities in the United States.

With their decades of combined experience in Jacksonville real estate, the NextHome Built By Referral Realty team is well-positioned to help first-time homebuyers and residential relocations. 

Karen began her career in real estate after spending decades married to a military officer, whose career caused them to move all over the country and abroad. Because of her own frequent experiences with relocations, Karen wanted to use her experience and knowledge to help others. 

“Being an officer’s spouse for 25 years and moving over a dozen times (often single-handedly), relocating became part of my routine,” Karen said. “I saw an industry with challenges, and I wanted to shift my abilities toward helping people deal with those relocation challenges in a better way.”

In 2011, she obtained her real estate license and began working with a large franchise. However, because Karen was starting her career following a national recession, those first years were both a struggle and a priceless learning opportunity. 

“I learned by trial and error,” Karen said. “And because of those obstacles, I became more passionate about succeeding and refining my systems to better serve my clients.”

After five years with the national firm, Karen had the opportunity to become a trainer and office manager at a family-run, independent brokerage. She utilized all the lessons learned through trial and error and helped agents at the boutique brokerage find new levels of success. While working there, Karen was also tasked with recruiting new talented agents and working as the backup broker in charge.  


During that time she met Rodger through mutual friends in the real estate training business. Rodger had decades of experience in Jacksonville’s real estate and had extraordinary insights pertaining to marketing and “out of the box” problem-solving. Rodger gave her some advice that she will never forget. 

“I thought I just needed some marketing wisdom from him,” Karen recalled. “He said, ‘You either need to get into this industry or get out. If you think that you can do this halfway, you are fooling yourself.’”

The advice changed the trajectory of Karen’s career.

“I thought a lot about it and I had accomplished my mission with the small brokerage,” Karen said. “One morning I woke up and it occurred to me that I’ve done this for someone else, why can’t I do it for myself? Then Rodger introduced me to the NextHome franchise.” 

NextHome had everything that the team was looking for: the streamlined tools, eye-catching marketing, and a nation-wide network of agents who share a common philosophy. NextHome had the culture that made sense.

“I love NextHome’s ‘Humans over Houses’ platform,” Karen said. “Whether agents or clients, we want people to be happy and succeed.”

Karen and Rodger are setting NextHome Built By Referral Realty apart in their area by providing tailored training and support for agents.

“My philosophy is to help agents identify their goals, create a strategy to get there, and to consistently work that strategy,” Karen said. “It’s profoundly simple and action-based. Implement a system.”

When it comes to clients, NextHome Built By Referral Realty is building relationships that last long beyond the home buying process.

“When we sit down at the settlement table with our clients our relationship is just beginning, not the ending,” Karen said. “We establish lifetime relationships with people, many become incredible friends.”

To do that, the Jacksonville natives have compiled an extensive list of trusted vendors for those who are new to town. After moving so frequently, Karen understands how stressful it can be to create connections in a new place. NextHome Built By Referral Realty keeps up with a network of businesses with options for just about anything: attorneys, home inspectors, plumbers, and even hairdressers. 

“We have an extensive list and plenty of choices for first-time homebuyers and those relocating to the area,” Karen said. “Our team provides a solid foundation in the area for someone who is new to the community.”

Karen is the proud mother of three boys: Ryan (21) who is studying biology at North Carolina State University, Connor (15) a freshman in high school, and Aiden (12) who just started sixth grade. 

Outside of building her business and helping people relocate, Karen enjoys going to the beach and indulging her sons’ love of roller coasters and theme parks.

Please join us in congratulating Karen and Rodger on the opening of NextHome Built By Referral Realty in Jacksonville, North Carolina!


Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at


Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

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