Blog : Education

Tales from a service dog: what I want the public to know about me and my handler

Tales from a service dog: what I want the public to know about me and my handler

NextHome is a proud supporter of Canine Companions for Independence. They are a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs at no charge to the recipient. Learn more about their impact from the blog below by guest blogger and Canine Companions graduate, Ryan Honick, submitted on behalf of his service dog, Pico.

The following is a public service announcement brought to you by Pico Honick, service dog.

It’s hard to believe, but this past February marked four years from the day Canine Companions for Independence® matched me with my handler. To some, he’s Ryan the Professional. To others, he’s Ryan the Goofball. To me? He’ll always be “The Tyrant with the Leash.” I say this with love, of course, and I’ve earned the right to say it. I’ve been his right hand—and sometimes his left—for almost half a decade, and we’ve been through a lot together. In fact, every day is an adventure, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to school you on what life’s like as a service dog, and share some of the basic stuff that’s important for you, as a member of the general public, to know.

1). I’m highly trained. Do you know how hard it was to land this gig? I spent two years training before getting matched with Ryan. 18 months of that was with my volunteer puppy raiser, (Hi, Amy!), and I spent another six months at the Northeast region of Canine Companions where I mastered over 40 commands. I survived a rigorous training schedule and am one of the mere 55 percent of pups who have successfully proved they have the skills, temperament, and stamina to do the tough things this job requires. I am, in short, the cream of the crop.

This is one of the many reasons it really sticks in my paw when I see you slap a vest you bought online on your beloved pet. Just because a guy’s wearing a Michael Jordan jersey doesn’t make him Michael Jordan. It makes him, at best, an admirer, and, at worst, an impostor. And if he happens to trash the place or behave like a fool in public? Guess who suffers the consequences? You may get hit with a fine depending on the state you’re in, but more importantly, the next time I’m out, I’m the one who will be stared at and left to fight the stigma associated with service dogs because of what your untrained pooch did. You’re tearing me apart, dumb dumb. Note to self Contact Weird Al for collaborative effort parodying Bon Jovi with “You Give Service Dogs a Bad Name.”

2). I need to focus. Do I come into your office and talk your ear off about my weekend plans, or show you dog videos on YouTube while you’re trying to write? Of course not. That’s because I’ve got a job to do, and I take my work seriously. So please, for the love of dogma, let me work. Even if it looks like I’m not working, I am. Don’t pet me, play with me, make kissy noises at me, or do anything that prevents me from focusing on the one thing I’ve been trained to do: help my handler. I’ve got discipline, and you taunting me with anything your pet dog may enjoy could throw me off my game. I’ve got patches on both sides of my vest and a bright neon yellow leash wrap that screams “DO NOT PET.” I’ve also got a note tucked under my collar that says “help me” but that’s a story for another time….

3). I’m medically necessary. Let’s just tell it like it is: I’ve seen this dude on his own. It’s not pretty. He’s stumbling, falling over, constantly exhausted, and can barely remember what day it is. That’s why I’m around. I make life a little easier and ease the stress on his body, too. I can open doors, drawers, retrieve and deliver items, and, when his Amazon Alexa “malfunctions,” I can even turn light switches on and off with ease. I’m here to help 24/7/365, but I can only do that if I’m with Ryan. That’s why federal law ensures anywhere he goes, I’m his guaranteed plus one. Other assistance dogs can try, but like The Lord of the Rings, I’m the one dog to rule them all. Emotional support dogs (ESAs), therapy dogs, and even puppies in training aren’t guaranteed access like me. We’re a package deal, period. That means restaurants, clubs, sports arenas, hospitals, hotels, even ride share platforms like Lyft and Uber must accommodate us. It’s taken some time, but both of these companies have finally cracked down on drivers who refuse to pick us up for fear I’ll “mess up their ride.” I never understood this one. I spent two years in training, unlike the drunk guy you picked up at 2 a.m. last Friday who yakked all over your back seat. It’s a sweet gig, but getting businesses to follow the law isn’t always easy. I’m looking at you, Stonewall.

While we’re on the subject, “medically necessary” also means that if for some reason I get knocked on my tail, medically or otherwise, Ryan and I are both out of commission. He’s my lifeline as much as I’m his.

4). I don’t need documentation. That’s right sports fans. I worked my tail off to get to the big dance and I don’t need credentials to go anywhere. Heck, I don’t even need a uniform according to federal law. Shirts or skins, it doesn’t matter. Most of the time, I only wear my vest to make it blatantly obvious that I’m working. Plus, I’m a dog. If I walk around “naked” all the time people get handsy. (Remember the whole “do not pet” thing?) In addition, there’s absolutely nothing my handler needs to carry around with him, either. We’re U.S. citizens, and anywhere Ryan can go, I’m allowed to go with him. End of story. The only two things you need to know are 1). I’m a service dog required for Ryan’s disability and 2). I’m trained to perform certain necessary tasks. Beyond that, it’s not our job to prove anything to you. If you want a demo, I’ll invite you to my next meet and greet with fans. For $20, I’ll even throw in a selfie.

5). Questions are fine, most of the time. I get it. To you, I’m a rock star, and, in a way, I am. When I have doggy dreams, I’m in a room full of people chanting my name. “Pico! Pico! Pico!” I am really good at my job, and I’ve proven it day-in and day-out for years. And, while I appreciate being recognized (it happens), the more likely scenario is a well-meaning onslaught of questions Ryan has to answer over and over again. So, ladies and gentlemen, here are my stats. Soak ‘em in:
Name: Pico (aliases: Pico Man, Pico D. Pup, Pico De Gallo, His Royal Peekness, and The Prime Minister)
Breed: Purebred Labrador Retriever
Age: 6
Current Position: Service Dog, 2014 – Present
Special Skills: Opening and closing doors and drawers; turning light switches on and off; retrieving and delivering items; reducing anxiety; offering non-stop cuddles and kisses; acting as a casual conversation-starter.
Relationship Status: Ryan is my one and only handler, but I’m available for play on nights and weekends.
What I’m looking for: A place to lay down until Ryan needs me. Toys that squeak, tennis balls, and…where did I put that Nylabone?
I really should get this stuff printed on a baseball card.
In all seriousness, if you’ve got questions, please feel free to ask. We’re both here to educate and inform. But let us at least have our coffee first. Deal?

6). I get plenty of play time. The Canine Companions slogan may be #giveadogajob, but just like most employees, I get vacation and good health insurance, too. In fact, I would argue my benefits are likely better than yours. I work hard, and I play harder. I’ll work a pretty rigorous day (with lots of naps), and then I get to come home and unwind, just like you. Sometimes that involves chewing on a bone, playing fetch, snuggling on the couch while watching TV, or just passing the heck out on my dog bed while enjoying the wonderful world of doggy dreams. (The latest one involved Ryan and I switching places, and I was his handler. Boy, was that grand!)

Truthfully, I get plenty of freedom, and if I need my space, I know where to get it. I’m spoiled rotten and content as could be. I couldn’t ask for anything more. OK, maybe a second helping of dinner … damn is that stuff good.

7). We know what we’re doing. You want me to get on a crowded elevator? No, thanks. Both Ryan and I need plenty of space to do our thing. You see an open space for an able-bodied person walking upright. I see 10 people crammed into a tight space, including three kids under the age of five, a stressed-out mom with a double-wide stroller, the businessman in a dark suit (who I may inadvertently shed on in such tight quarters), and the guy with headphones on who, because he’s engrossed in his music, probably isn’t paying attention to what’s going on around him.

The two of us working together is like a well-choreographed dance routine. We’ve rehearsed it a thousand times and know exactly how it goes. We know just how much space we need, and when and where it’s safe for us to operate. You may think a given scenario is safe, but you don’t know us like we do. I appreciate the sentiment, but I’ll stick to whatever plan Ryan has in store for us.

8). Please be mindful of what you say to us. Before you tell me you wish you could bring your dog with you to the office or everywhere you go—and talk about how “cool” that would be, remember that I am medically necessary. Yes, Ryan and I have fun every day, and I truly enjoy my work, but I’m around to help Ryan with his day-to-day life. He has a medically diagnosed disability that affects his daily life and he and I are protected by the ADA. So the next time you see us and think how much you wish Fido was by your side all day, ask yourself: would you really be willing to switch places and live your life as a person with a disability for the privilege of having a service dog?

Well, that’s it. Hopefully, you understand a little more about my job, why it’s important, and how I work to help Ryan every day. Each working team is unique and how they choose to work together or approach the scenarios outlined above may be different, too. Regardless, the relationship between a service dog and their handler is a sacred bond. My hope is that after reading this, the next time you encounter us or any one of the roughly 387,000 working service dog teams across the country, you’ll have a deeper appreciation and understanding for them.

If you’re still curious or have additional questions, you can ask Ryan. I’d answer them myself, but I think it’s time for a nap.

To learn more about Canine Companions for Independence and their partnership with NextHome, follow this link!

This blog was originally posted on Ryan’s LinkedIn.

NextHome Resource Realty is the newest NextHome Office

NextHome Resource Realty is the newest NextHome Office

Joleen Maltman

Pleasanton, CA — April 23, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Resource Realty. The new brokerage represents the eighth office location opened in the state of New York by the NextHome franchise. The Rochester-based brokerage will be owned and operated by broker Joleen Maltman.

Joleen will be joined on the leadership team by her business associate, John Colaruotolo. As the owner of ANCO Builders, John’s custom design/build firm, the company has been creating spectacular custom homes for years. John is also the owner of Resource One Property Management – a company that manages more than 200 units and Casa Larga Vineyards, a family owned winery.

John will be assisting Joleen in agent mentoring, recruiting, coaching and training for NextHome Resource Realty.

NextHome Resource Realty will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, rehab & resale, new home construction, and traditional single-family sales for the areas of Monroe, Ontario and Wayne Counties.

Rochester is located in upstate New York along the Great Lakes (Finger Lakes Region). With more than 700,000 in population in the area, the NextHome expansion into the Rochester area is an exciting opportunity for Joleen and her team.

Joleen has been licensed in real estate since 2002 and has been working with John for more than 15 years. As the head of sales for Resource One Realty, she has been selling high-end custom built homes throughout the upstate New York area for many years.

“We work with clients throughout the home building process,” said Joleen. “Walking them through the architecture and construction process creates a stress-free organized way for our clients to feel updated and involved. I feel that’s what’s caused our company to move to being a referral-based company. Having mastered the client relationship in the building process, it is a perfect fit to align with NextHome to offer this same specialized client service to buyers and sellers of existing real estate.”

While the brokerage was already successful, Joleen felt franchising with NextHome would enhance the company and its offering.

“I found NextHome in REALTOR® Magazine and thought it was the perfect addition to our brokerage,” said Joleen. “As a boutique brokerage, we wanted to provide technology and a world-class level to better serve our clients. Additionally, with the NextHome branding, we are giving our company a fresh new look that I feel our clients will really like.”

Joleen says what makes NextHome Resource Realty different from local real estate companies is the ability to provide customized personal service that clients will love.

By being connected to several real estate related business, NextHome Resource Realty will also be able to provide a variety of services that other companies are unable to do.

“We are able to provide land development, subdivision building, property management, and even temporary housing for clients who are having a new home built,” said Joleen. “We named our company after our ability to be a complete resource for buyers and sellers.”

Outside of selling real estate, Joleen focuses on family. She is a mother of two and loves spending time with her granddaughters.

She is a big advocate of education and attends as many real estate courses and trainings she can to further her knowledge. She attributes her success to having the follow-through mentality and always striving to go the extra mile for her clients.

“Having Joleen and John join the NextHome franchise has been a wonderful addition to our company,” said NextHome’s Vice President Imran Poladi. “We are very happy to have a brokerage of NextHome Resource Realty’s caliber be a part of our New York expansion. We are looking forward to seeing Joleen grow the company in 2019 and beyond.”

Please join us in congratulating Joleen, John and the rest of the team at NextHome Resource Realty on the opening of their NextHome office in Rochester, NY!

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.

5 Things You Should Do Before Moving into Your New Home

5 Things You Should Do Before Moving into Your New Home

Finally about to close on your dream house? Read this list to get some good tips on what you should do when moving into a new home to make the place your own.

Is there anything more exciting than moving into a new home? But preparing to move is a busy time. You’ve got to figure out how to pack for moving, pick up packing boxes and look up moving tips to make the whole process go more smoothly. Plus, there’s hiring movers, renting a truck, enlisting friends and family to help – and that’s on top of all the other stuff you’ve got to do to prepare for closing day and, once you’ve taken possession, get the place ready for move in.

Before you settle into your new home, these new simple home hacks can help you make the place feel like your own. Make moving day as smooth as possible, and stave off future new homeowner hiccups, with these moving day tips.

1. Change the Locks

The very first thing you should do after taking possession of a new home is change the locks, or have them re-keyed. If you’re handy, you can do this yourself with a re-keying kit from your local big-box hardware store, or you can buy new locks. These days, homeowners can choose from a range of smart locks, as well as old-fashioned ones.

Why change the locks? While the previous owners are probably great people, there’s no knowing who has keys to your home. There could be any number of copies of your house key out there, and you never know who has them. Make sure you and your loved ones are the only people who can access your new home. Locksmith rekey services are typically covered under your home warranty.

2. Forward Your Mail

Don’t miss important bills, housewarming cards or letters from Grandma – set up mail forwarding to begin on moving day. You can apply for mail forwarding online for $1.05, or you can do it in person at the post office. Of course, you’ll still have to change your address with your bank, credit cards, magazine subscription issuers and others who send you mail, but you’ll have 60 days to change your address for magazines and a year to change it for other kinds of mail.

3. Deep Clean the Whole Place

Just like you can’t know who has a copy of your house key, you can’t know how thoroughly the previous owners cleaned the place before they left. It’s a good idea to give your new home a good deep clean – clean the refrigerator, the oven, the walls, the floors and the cabinets inside and out, as well as the bathrooms. It’s easiest to do this before you start bringing your stuff in, or at least before you start unpacking it. If you don’t want to deep clean your new home yourself, you can hire professional cleaners to perform a move-in clean.

4. Check Your Smoke Alarms and CO Detectors

Smoke alarms and CO detectors are among the most important safety devices in your home. They could save your family’s lives in the event of a fire or a carbon monoxide leak. Before you move into your new home, test your smoke alarms to make sure they’re working properly.

Your new home may not have a carbon monoxide detector; many don’t. But carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless but can be deadly. Even when it doesn’t kill, it can cause serious symptoms, including brain damage. If your new home doesn’t have a CO detector, plan to install one on moving day. Make sure to calibrate it for the first time outside, so it can use fresh air for its baseline reading.

5. Look for Plumbing Leaks

If you have a leaking pipe in your new home, you need to know about it ASAP, and the easiest time to check for plumbing leaks is before everyone has gotten settled in. On moving day, check your water meter and either write down the reading, or take a photo of it. Wait two hours, making sure no one uses the water, and then check the meter again. If the reading isn’t exactly the same as it was two hours before, you have a plumbing leak somewhere in your home, and you need to locate it and put it on the priority list of things that need fixed right away.

While you’re looking for plumbing leaks, this is an excellent time to locate your home’s main water and gas shutoff valves as well as your breaker box. That way you won’t find yourself hunting for the breaker box in the dark with a flashlight or frantically hunting for the main water shutoff valve while a burst pipe fills your basement with water. Plus, if you find a plumbing leak, you’ll want to shut off the water to your home until you locate it.

Moving day is exhausting, stressful, and exciting – but it’s worth the work to finally settle into your brand new dream home. Make sure you take the time to do moving day right; it’ll save you a lot of trouble in the long run, and help you make your home your own a lot faster.

For more helpful tips, visit the American Home Shield blog!

NextHome Orange Blossom Real Estate is the Newest NextHome Office

NextHome Orange Blossom Real Estate is the Newest NextHome Office

Ana Afshin

Pleasanton, CA — April 16, 2019 NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Orange Blossom Real Estate. The new brokerage represents the 56th office location opened in the state of Florida by the NextHome franchise. The Minneola-based brokerage will be owned and operated by broker Ana Afshin.

NextHome Orange Blossom Real Estate will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, rehab & resale, commercial, senior living, and traditional single-family sales for the areas of Minneola, Claremont, Groveland, Kissimmee, and the remainder of the North Orlando area.

Ana also works with investors from overseas, particularly from Europe and South America.

Based in Lake County, the city of Minneola is located 40 minutes northwest of Orlando and is home to just under 15,000 residents.

Ana started her real estate career right out of high school in 1999 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her stepfather convinced her to work with him at his commercial real estate business. The two of them focused on purchasing and managing apartment complexes.

Ana worked as the leasing agent for one of his complexes and was responsible for filling the units with qualified tenants, as well as maintaining each unit. Shortly after, she assisted in selling and acquiring those apartment complexes.

After moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas in 2004, Ana got her real estate license, but not for commercial real estate reasons.

“While the money was good in commercial real estate, I really didn’t enjoy it,” said Ana. “My passion was in residential real estate, so I changed my focus to selling homes.”

Over the next five years, Ana worked at a local franchised office, before opening her own brokerage in late 2009. With residential sales slowing due to the recession, Ana went back to her roots and focused mainly on multi-family and commercial sales. During this time, she also purchased a large apartment complex that she rehabbed and resold for more than $1 million in profit.

“I take pride in not only knowing how to help investors evaluate how to buy and sell commercial and multi-family properties, but as an investor myself, I can share with them ideas and strategies on how to maximize their profits,” said Ana. “Additionally, I really loved being able to provide people with a nice home to live in.”

In 2015, Ana and her family moved to Florida after selling her Texas brokerage.

“My husband, Cameron, is from the Dallas area, but we always went to Florida for vacations with the family,” said Ana. “Since we spent so much time there, I was finally able to convince him to make the move and we relocated after we sold our brokerage.”

After making the move, Ana focused on raising the couple’s three children, while Cameron bought and flipped properties from 2015 to 2017.

In 2018, Ana was ready to come back and sell real estate full time and that’s when she found NextHome.

“I Googled every phrase related to ‘real estate franchise’ and NextHome kept coming up no matter what I searched,” said Ana with a laugh. “I was instantly intrigued because the orange colors were exactly what I used in my previous brokerage. But the thing that made me most interested in the franchise was the camaraderie between brokers– not competition.”

The NextHome Orange Blossom Real Estate difference will be the constant goal of earning client trust.

“I want our agents to know it’s not about the commission, but rather the families that are entrusting us to represent them as best as we can,” said Ana. “If we take care of our clients with top-level service, the money takes care of itself.”

Ana and Cameron have been married for 13 years and they have four wonderful children – sons Skyler (13 years old), Blaze (10), Jax (eight-months-old), and daughter Hailo (4). The family loves spending one full day a week enjoying the beach, Universal Studios or Disneyworld.

Please join us in congratulating Ana and the rest of the team at NextHome Orange Blossom Real Estate on the opening of their NextHome office in Minneola, FL!

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.

NextHome launches first Rhode Island office for the franchise

NextHome launches first Rhode Island office for the franchise

Brian Buonaiuto

Pleasanton, CA — April 9, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Ocean State Realty Group. This new brokerage represents the very first office location opened in the state of Rhode Island by the NextHome franchise. The Cranston-based brokerage will be owned and operated by broker Brian Buonaiuto. He will be joined at the brokerage by his wife, Tara, who is also a licensed agent.

NextHome Ocean State Realty Group will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, rehab & resale, military relocation, and traditional single-family sales for the entire state of Rhode Island. The brokerage also works closely with the Homes For Heroes program – a home buying program specifically designed for first responders, military personnel, medical professionals, and school teachers.

“Our brokerage takes pride in being able to service the entire state,” said Brian. “Based on the size of Rhode Island, an agent can drive from one side of the state to the other in 45 minutes.”

Brian comes from a background in corporate management, where he had previously worked at several different Fortune 500 Companies such as Burger King, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Public Storage.

Knowing he was no longer interested in corporate America, Brian had an eye on pursuing his passion for real estate and in 2018, he left his management role to make the move to selling homes full time.

“I wanted to take my business experience and direct it towards a career where I felt I could really make a difference with buyers and sellers who were looking for great representation,” said Brian.

He started with a small independent brokerage in Cranston and did very well in his first year. But it was a conversation with a friend from Florida that caught his attention.

“I was anxious to start my own brokerage as soon as I was able,” said Brian. “My friend told me about her brokerage (NextHome Gulf Coast) and I looked into the franchise.”

“Everything I saw, I absolutely loved,” he added.

Brian says the NextHome Ocean State Realty Group difference will be having “a company that delivers high level technology that not only helps the buyers and sellers, but also allows agents to provide a ton of value for their clients.”

Brian and Tara have been married for six years and they have a five-year-old son, Jack. With Jack having autism, the couple are very involved with multiple charities and organizations that provide support to families with autistic children.

Please join us in congratulating Brian, Tara and the rest of the team at NextHome Ocean State Realty Group on the opening of the first NextHome office in the state of Rhode Island!

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.

NextHome Announces New Charity Partnership with Canine Companions for Independence

NextHome Announces New Charity Partnership with Canine Companions for Independence

Pleasanton, California — April 5th, 2019 – NextHome proudly announces its new national charity partner, Canine Companions for Independence®, a nonprofit with the primary purpose to enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs. The partnership will drive national donation efforts from its local offices to generate additional funds that will provide Canine Companions assistance dogs to children, adults and veterans with disabilities free of charge.

The partnership with Canine Companions was revealed during the fourth annual NextHome conference. The three-day event in Las Vegas brought together hundreds of NextHome franchisees, brokers and agents from across the country to take a first peek on trending industry insights and introduce new programs, such as this partnership.

“As a firm believer in investing in your own team and giving back to local communities, it made perfect sense to associate NextHome with an organization that is equally dedicated to society by delivering the greatest resources to individuals in need,” stated Chief Executive Officer James Dwiggins. “Our hope is that our matchmade partnership with Canine Companions for Independence will enrich the lives of those people through the support of our offices, agents, followers, friends and families.”

Canine Companions introduced the concept of assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities in 1975. With professional instructors who possess hundreds of years of cumulative experience in both training assistance dogs and being able to instruct people with over 60 different types of disabilities, Canine Companions is now known as the largest provider of assistance dogs in the world.

“We’re excited about this new partnership with NextHome and appreciate that they share our belief in the value of collaboration and community,” added Paige Mazzoni, Chief Executive Officer of Canine Companions for Independence. “With the support from NextHome and their franchise with hundreds of offices across the nation, we’ll be able to unite more people with dogs in a powerful program that opens up new opportunities and new possibilities and allows us to expand the work that we do that improves the quality of life for so many people.”

NextHome is encouraging its members, friends, families and supporters to help raise funds to support the mission of Canine Companions for Independence. Donations will allow Canine Companions to continue to provide expertly trained assistance dogs and follow-up services free of charge to adults, children and veterans.

To learn more about the new partnership and ways to support Canine Companions for Independence, please visit

NextHome launches the 350th office for the franchise

NextHome launches the 350th office for the franchise

Andrew and Brittany Geotes

Pleasanton, CA — April 4, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Simplicity. This new brokerage represents the third office location opened in the state of Mississippi by the NextHome franchise. The Long Beach-based brokerage will be owned and operated by top-producing REALTORS® and husband and wife team of Andrew and Brittany Geotes.

The new office represents the 350th office launched by the NextHome franchise.

NextHome Simplicity will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, multi-family, land, military relocation and traditional single-family sales for the areas of Long Beach, Gulfport, Pass Christian, Waveland, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and the remainder of Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties.

Located ten minutes west of downtown Gulfport, the town of Long Beach is known for its affordable housing, with most homes sold under $200,000. There is a Naval Construction Battalion base in the area which employs many military service men and women. Long Beach is also known for its school districts and many families that have migrated to the area want to have their children in these particular schools.

Before meeting each other, both Andrew and Brittany were very successful individual REALTORS® in their own right – each selling in opposite sides of the coast. Ironically, they met in Gulfport, which sits directly in the middle of their respective sales areas.

Starting as a residential appraiser in 2004, Andrew has more than 15 years of real estate experience. His expertise includes rehabbing and flipping properties as an investor himself. He started selling real estate in Fall 2012 and quickly became a top producer at his local brokerage, selling more than 35 homes in 2013.

Brittany got her real estate license in 2014 and worked at the local RE/MAX. In her very first year, she sold 12 transactions. Since then, she has doubled her sales every year she’s been in real estate.

Andrew and Brittany met in 2015 during a real estate transaction, started dating later that year, and were married a year later.

Brittany spent the majority of her career selling in the Bay St. Louis, Waveland and Pass Christian, with a focus on the second home market. Andrew worked mainly on investment and resale properties on the opposite side of Gulfport.

The couple attributes a significant portion of their success on their commitment to re-investing back into their business.

“It’s really important to us to invest in our marketing for our clients and their properties,” said Brittany. “We take pride in making sure our listings are well represented and that our sellers have the very best marketing to get them top dollar for their home.”

In 2017, the Geotes’ made the move to a NextHome office in Gulfport – NextHome E-Realty.

“While I was still at RE/MAX, I saw a NextHome sign on a home and I actually pulled over, backed up, and took a picture of the yard sign,” said Brittany with a laugh. “I really was blown away by how great the marketing was for the brand.”

Consistently award winning agents, Team Geotes sold more than $14 million in real estate in 2018 with 84 transactions closed.

With the intention of always opening their own brokerage, the couple felt that 2019 was the right time to go out on their own and open NextHome Simplicity.

“The name NextHome Simplicity stands for how we want our clients to feel when they go through what might feel like a very stressful situation,” said Andrew. “We want our clients to feel like they will be taken care of and that our process makes the transaction as simple as possible.”

Please join us in congratulating Andrew, Brittany and the rest of the team at NextHome Simplicity on the opening of their brand new office in Long Beach, MS!

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.

Meet your March 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Meet your March 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Please join us as we celebrate our NextHomie of the Month for March 2019, Scott Louser of NextHome Legendary Properties! With offices in Minot and Bismarck, North Dakota, Scott serves his community in more ways than one making him the perfect fit for the Culture Committee’s NextHomie of the Month title.

For Scott, real estate and public service are a part of his DNA. His father owned a real estate franchise when Scott was growing up, and at the same time, his mother served on the state’s real estate regulatory board. While he started in a retail career, it wasn’t long before Scott realized his calling was in real estate, and that is exactly where he went.

In 1997, Scott obtained his real estate license in North Dakota and got straight to work. In 2001, Scott served as the President of the Minot Board of REALTORS® Association. In 2005, he served as the North Dakota State Real Estate President. In 2006, he was recognized as REALTOR® of the Year. In 2007, he purchased his first franchise. Oh, and in 2012, he went on to serve as the Vice President of a little group called the National Association of REALTORS®, you may have heard of them.

Scott Louser is a true servant leader and to him, that’s what life is all about. “It’s not a dirty little secret, it’s a clean big secret,” said Scott. “I get back way more than I give by tenfold. If you give back and pay it forward, you’ll always get back more than you give.”

Even after all of that, he still wanted more. In 2010, he decided to run for public office and he was selected to serve as Minot District 5’s State Representative. Since then, he has won two additional elections and continues to serve as the Assistant Majority Leader of the House today.

“I’ve always had a passion for politics,” said Scott, “I was tired of sitting back and just complaining.”

Scott first found NextHome in 2015, where he had a unique start. “I was involved in putting together the Danger Report for NAR,” said Scott, referring to the report first released in 2015 that targets the dangers and risks that impact the residential real estate market. “I talked to James Dwiggins [the CEO of NextHome] about the report twice, then we hired him to present that report to the National Association of REALTORS®.”

While working on the Danger Report together, Scott and James began working on a project of their own. Shortly after, in December of 2015, Scott announced his move to NextHome and he opened his first NextHome Legendary Properties office in Minot, North Dakota.

So, why NextHome?

“I stole this quote from (NextHome Vice President of Sales) Charis Moreno,” Scott said with a laugh, “but I wanted to be a part of something bigger. Culture is everything. They (NextHome Corporate) feel it and they work it. You can’t just say you have it, you have to work it. There’s a feel in this brand that doesn’t exist anywhere else. I was nervous, but I knew together I couldn’t fail.”

So, what’s next for Scott?

He and his wife, Alexa, have three beautiful children together. For now, serving as a father, a husband, a legislator, and a NextHome Franchise Owner of two office locations is more than enough to keep him busy.

“If I’m fortunate enough to get reelected, I’ll continue with the legislature. I’d like to expand and open other NextHome offices, but we’ll just have to see how things go.” Whatever Scott’s future may hold, we are certain it will be filled with passion and the same desire to serve that has filled his life in both real estate and politics.

“Being a REALTOR® means making a lasting difference in a client’s life, and being a Broker means making a lasting difference in a REALTOR®’s life,” said Scott.

“And being Scott Louser means making a lasting difference for what you believe in,” added Randy Lenz, Culture Committee Chair.

Congratulations, Scott Louser!

Three NextHome Franchises Make The 2019 REAL Trends Five Hundred Up-and-Comers List

Three NextHome Franchises Make The 2019 REAL Trends Five Hundred Up-and-Comers List

Three NextHome franchises were recently recognized in the 2019 REAL Trends Five Hundred Up-and-Comers list – a supplemental list to the top 500 firms representing the industry’s rising firms that closed a minimum of 500 transaction sides in 2018. The featured franchises included NextHome Experience (Worthington, Ohio), NextHome Experience (Bangor, Maine) and NextHome Realty Center (Cypress, Texas).

For 31 years, REAL Trends has been the leader in ranking the top-performing residential real estate brokerages firms. This year, over 1,250 firms qualified for the Up-and-Comers list by closing a minimum of 500 transaction sides. The 2018 Up-and-Comers list included three NextHome franchisees:

  • NextHome Experience – Worthington, Ohio closing 837 transactions
  • NextHome Realty Center – Cypress, Texas closing 634 transactions
  • NextHome Experience – Bangor, Maine closing 508 transactions

“Having three of our NextHome franchisees highlighted by the REAL Trends Up-and-Comers list is a remarkable recognition,” stated James Dwiggins, CEO of NextHome. “This accomplishment places our real estate brokerages among the industry’s elite. We are not only honored to be named, but we are beyond grateful for the hard work and dedication our NextHome franchisees are putting forth in this highly competitive industry.”

Congratulations to our NextHome offices who made this year’s list! We are honored to be in business with you today and in the future, supporting your goals any way we can!


NextHome opens newest brokerage in Waynesville, Missouri

NextHome opens newest brokerage in Waynesville, Missouri

Lisa Ellis

Pleasanton, CA — March 26 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Team Ellis. This new brokerage represents the sixth office location opened in the state of Missouri by the NextHome franchise. The Waynesville-based brokerage will be owned and operated by top REALTOR® and Broker of record, Lisa Ellis.

NextHome Team Ellis will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, multi-family, land, military relocation and traditional single-family sales for all of the St. Robert and Fort Wood area. More than 90% of NextHome Team Ellis’ business is working with military families. The agents at the brokerage are experts in working with unique military loans and programs such as Veteran’s Assistance and Homes For Heroes.

Located two-and-a-half hours west of St. Louis, the town of Waynesville is known for its deep military roots. As a military post, Waynesville is the home to the United States Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School.

Now in her 21st year, Lisa started real estate in 1998 at a local independent brokerage in St. Robert.  She made the move to a Coldwell Banker franchised brokerage in 2000 and saw a huge rise in her business.

In 2004, Lisa moved to a local RE/Max and grew her personal real estate sales year-over-year and was consistently a top producer in her market.

In keeping up with her business, Lisa moved to Century 21 Prestige in 2010 to manage the 12 agent brokerage, while forming her own personal real estate team – Team Ellis. She grew the team to three agents, selling more than 60 transactions annually.

After seven years of managing and running a real estate team, Lisa returned to the RE/Max brand to fully focus on sales with Team Ellis. In 2018, the five-person Team Ellis group sold more than $12 million and 87 transaction sides. Incredible numbers for an area with an average sales price of $133,000.

Lisa attributes the growth and success of the team to focusing on world-class service and client care that has her buyers and sellers returning again and again.

After 20 years in real estate and selling at the highest level, Lisa was ready to take the next step in her career – owning a brokerage.

“As I was doing some research about various franchise models, a real estate friend of mine suggested I check out NextHome,” said Lisa. “Everything I saw about the NextHome franchise fit what I was looking for. The branding, marketing and friendly feel of the company really had me intrigued. I had a great conversation with (NextHome’s VP of Sales) Charis Moreno and I brought all the info back to our team.”

“The Team Ellis members were excited and totally onboard,” she added.

Besides Lisa, NextHome Team Ellis is comprised of five dynamic REALTORS® – Angie Masterton, Hazel O’Donnell, Maryanne O’Brien, JP Macormic and Linda Wyatt.

Lisa and Team Ellis are very involved in the community. They work closely with Fort Leonard Wood, supporting military events as local sponsors and volunteers. Team Ellis also sponsors local youth sports teams in basketball and soccer.

Lisa and her husband, retired US Army E7 First Sergeant, Renard, have four children and four grandchildren.

Please join us in welcoming Lisa and the rest of the team at NextHome Team Ellis on the opening of their brand new office in Waynesville, MO!

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.