How Housing Franchises Got Back on Their Feet

The subprime mortgage crisis wreaked havoc on the U.S. housing market, but several franchises that operate in the sector managed to weather the storm.

Bill Redfern was hoping to launch his American invasion sometime in the mid-2000s. After becoming Canada's largest home-inspection franchise in just two years, his company, A Buyer's Choice Home Inspections, was eyeing the U.S. But in 2006, as Redfern saw the subprime loan crisis push millions of Americans into foreclosure, he reshuffled his playbook and turned elsewhere, developing his franchise in New Zealand, Chile, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

It was a smart move. Between 2006 and 2010, U.S. homes on average lost close to 35 percent of their value. Some 4 million properties went through foreclosure proceedings. And the idea of homeownership as the cornerstone of the American dream? It fell hard.

In the franchise world, concepts that served homeowners or the business of residential real estate were also victims of the housing crisis: Movers, home inspectors, realtors, house flippers, painters, redecorators and dozens of ancillary service providers were all

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