In the 2010 Swanepoel TRENDS Report, scheduled for publication on February 8th, 2010 - reserve a copy now at www.RETrends.com) - a whole trend is dedicated to analyzing real estate franchising.
Franchising entered the residential real estate industry 40 years ago and shaped the industry like few other concept. Its impact ranks with the MLS and Internet as the top three game changing strategies in real estate since WW II.
Today a groundswell questions the value proposition of real estate franchising. Older models offer little more than a brand; a brand of questioned value in today's online world.
A franchise company's long term success (or failure) is therefore dependent upon both its model standing the test of time and its implementation systems supporting the local franchisee in successfully putting those models into operation.
In the Swanepoel report, the changes discussed have occurred during the last year from bankruptcies to acquisitions and large mergers to the re-introduction of previously dormant franchise brands and the launch of several new ones.
The Top 20 largest franchises -- based on agent count as of December 2009 and inclusive of recent changes and acquisitions are included.
However, as an additional test RealSure (www.realsure.com), the publishers of the Swanepoel TRENDS Report and the Swanepoel SOCIAL MEDIA Report, decided that it would be interesting to compare agent count rankings with the perception and recognizability of franchise brands by the industry itself.
So on Thursday December 3rd a nationwide online survey was launched to determine the "Most Recognizable Franchise Brand in Real Estate."
With real estate agents being independent contractors and fiercely loyal to their respective brand the vote quickly garnished huge attention. It went viral through various social media networks, blogs and emails encouraging agents to vote.
In the end 11,355 agents voted, casting just over 390,000 votes for 33 different real estate franchise brands. It was the largest survey of its kind in the industry.
Real estate professionals voted for a franchise from 0 - 5; starting from "Never heard of the brand" to "Excellent brand." The brand's scores in all categories were taken into consideration to determine the overall rankings. In the end there was a significant difference in the vote count between most of the top 10, thereby solidifying the placement of the brands.
Another survey can produce different results but this is a snapshot of brokerages and the industry's current opinion of the franchise brands that serve them.
The Top 10 real estate franchises, most recognized by the real estate industry as quality national brands are:
•1. Keller Williams Realty
•2. Coldwell Banker Real Estate
•3. RE/MAX International
•4. Century 21 Real Estate
•5. Prudential Real Estate
•6. Sotheby's International Realty
•7. EXIT Realty
•8. ERA Real Estate
•9. Weichert Real Estate Affiliates
•10. Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate
The franchises that made it to the Top 5 were to be expected and are also the five largest real estate franchises in the country. The Top 5 also comfortably attracted more votes than the second five on the list, strongly pointing to the industry's own internal belief that these are the top five franchise brands that agents would like to work for.
Keller Williams Realty's surprising #1 ranking was most likely due to the strong, above average online and social media presence of their agents and the fact that during 2009 KW surpassed RE/MAX in agent count according to a widely published REAL Trends survey..