The Franchise Decision - A Profile of Some of the Largest

Sign for Century 21 Real Estate
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Some of the nation's largest and most well-known real estate brokerage firms are franchises. Franchises such as Century 21, RE/MAX and Coldwell Banker have offices worldwide and share common branding, operational, marketing and agent recruitment methods, the belief being that consistency helps the franchises build name recognition and grow.

Century 21 Real Estate 

One of the oldest real estate franchises in the United States, and still one of the largest, Century 21 Real Estate is definitely an influential real estate franchise. The franchise isn't resting on its laurels either.

Coldwell Banker Real Estate

Definitely a force in the marketplace, Coldwell Banker is a large and respected brokerage firm. Its franchisees note that they appreciate the education they receive to better operate their businesses.

Exit Realty

A relative real estate franchise newcomer, Exit Realty has grown dramatically due to its business model of rewarding associates for recruiting new agents.

Keller Williams Real Estate

Keller Williams Real Estate has grown steadily since the company launched in 1983. Some of co-founder Gary Keller's business ideas were considered quite radical at the time, but the company's dramatic growth is proof of their validity.


Re/Max Real Estate has more than 100,000 agent affiliates around the world. Th company's first-on-the-scene 100 percent commission model grew its agent base steadily over time.

Research Franchises Before You Affiliate

There is no substitute for good research whether you're an agent looking for a managing broker or a broker considering taking the franchise route. There are a number of great choices in franchises, with a great deal of difference in philosophies and compensation models. For example, many brokerages offer 100 percent commission models, but agents may wish to research the cost at which such options are available.

This sampling of franchises is listed alphabetically, and not by importance or size. Each business unique characteristics, while all of them have a few similarities. The way the real estate business is changing, and the rapidity of change should generate even more and newer business models. These aren't all the franchises, only some of the largest. There are many more, some with dramatically different consumer pricing models, as well as agent recruitment, training, and retention.

If you're an agent, there really isn't a franchise-related culture to any great extent. With the independent nature of real estate agents and brokers, it's only natural that they would employ varying management styles in their brokerages. Though there are obviously marketing and business operations standards and rules in each franchise and they would be uniform across the offices, the feel and culture of any given office are much more likely to take on the character of the broker in charge.

If you aren't ready to make a decision, it's a little like the weather. Wait a short while and things will change, especially in today's new real estate business.