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NAR report on franchises shows Keller Williams is largest brand

Franchise fees among 28 brands run from $1,000 to $35,000

The number of real estate brokerages affiliated with a franchise brand dropped to 11% this year from 13% two years ago, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors

That study, based on a poll of NAR’s 1.2 million members who are known by the trademarked term Realtors, also saw a drop in the share of individuals associated with a franchise. About 42% of respondents said they were affiliated with a franchise, down from 43% two years ago. The report covered 28 franchise brands, including Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, and ERA.

Keller Williams was the No. 1 brand in 2019 with 153,904 agents, up from 149,203 in 2017. Coldwell Banker was No. 2 at 85,192 agents, down from 89,000 two years ago. Next was RE/MAX, with 62,664 agents, up from 62,441, and Century 21 at 53,571, down from 55,346.

The smallest brands in the study were Flat Rate Realty, with 25 agents, up from 12 two years ago. Pink Realty, which launched last year, has 66 agents.  

Initial franchise fees, the amount that covers items such as the licensing of trademarks, logos and other assets, range from $1,000 to $35,000. In some cases, there’s a bigger fee for a first office and lower fees for subsequent offices.

The cheapest was Realty Executives, a franchise with 6,500 agents that charges $1,000 to $10,000. Equity Real Estate, with 3,324 agents, charges $1,600, and NextHome, with 3,200 agents, charges $3,500 to $7,500. 

At the high end, Keller Williams charges $35,000. Better Homes and Gardens, with 12,277 agents, also charges $35,000. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Coldwell Banker cost $25,000. 

NAR said the information was supplied by the companies, and some numbers were rounded. The study was first reported by NAR’s Realtor Magazine.

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