Coming soon to a grocery aisle near you: Homes for sale

grocery cart
grocery cart

New England's largest real estate company announced plans to team up with the region's largest food retailer to develop small real estate offices based in supermarkets in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. Well, why not? If it's convenient to have your bank's ATM machine right near the checkout, why not someone in the supermarket to remind you that your pantry is minuscule for all the groceries you just bought, and besides, you hate your kitchen?

RE/MAX of New England expects to open up to 17 realty offices in Stop & Shop stores. Personally, I think this takes the one-stop shopping experience a bit too far. Won't the ice cream melt while an agent yammers on about what a great time this is to buy a house? In any event, this marks the first time that a major real estate brand has partnered with a large consumer retailer to house real estate offices in its retail spaces.

The practical side of this arrangement is that RE/MAX is selling franchises for these mini-offices, and realty brokers might find the rent near the meat counter a better bargain than leasing a commercial office space. And you can't deny the foot traffic, especially when it's double coupon day.

While in this economy almost every business is willing to take a gamble on the off-chance it might work, the sales logic here of mixing grocery shopping with home-buying does seem to be flawed, according to several real estate practitioners.