European Franchise Enters California - Engel and Volkers Introduces New Model to USA

Services for Real Estate Pros with New York Times Bestselling Author & International Speaker

Evolution is all part of the process of re-engineering the real estate industry and the home buying process so every time I come across a new business model that is working I get excited.  Some may say that this concept is not truly new, but with its format and European origin, it is definitely unique and very different.

Originally launched in 1977 as Engel & Cie., the company changed its name in 1987 to Engel & Völkers. It operated pretty much as a traditional real estate franchise until the mid 1990's when its owner and Managing Director, Christian Volkers, decided to completely change the direction of the company.

Engel & Volkers

The concept was to create a Real Estate Shop Concept. Similar to most franchise businesses where the design, layout, system and brand of the franchise is more uniform. Volkers felt that if you wanted to maintain high quality then you need more consistency and there was no reason that real estate franchises should be any different than other service industry franchises.

The first Real Estate Shop in 1995 and the company never looked back. Now in over 25 countries with over 350 Real Estate Shops, Engel & Völkers has become one of the world's truly global real estate brokerage companies offering a much higher quality of service and consistency to their high-end clients for the brokerage of prestige residential property, commercial real estate and yachts.

I first wrote about the company in 2006 and mentioned them in the 2007 edition of the Swanepoel TRENDS Report. Since then they refined their shop model for the American market and have opened some 14 Engel & Völkers shops in New York, the Hamptons and Florida. And now Engel & Völkers has expanded to the single largest real estate market in the world - California - by opening their West Coast Head Office in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.

Some initial responses might be that the shop concept won't work in the American real estate industry, but I think that the 350 shops in 25 countries, include the US disprove that. The shop concept is unquestionably not for everyone, but it is a progressive new concept for an industry that has long been looking for innovation.

I definitely think there is a place for this concept and it is going to be interesting to watch their growth in the US. What do you think?


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Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL

There are several Engel & Bolkers shops that have opened here in the Tampa Bay area. It's too early to tell what their market share is going to be.

Dec 04, 2008 09:18 AM #1
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Hi Stefan, Thanks for sharing this companies shop concept. THis was an interesting read and I will follow through with a more thorough look into their business model.

Dec 04, 2008 01:43 PM #2
Gregg Fous
Market America Realty and Investments, Inc. - Fort Myers, FL

I own a shop in Fort Myers. Almost one year old.  The branding is very strong and the international reach broad. It is a listing powerhouse to say the least.  E and V suffers with most in this soft market, but the international diversications and their shop concept offer agents a different stroy that is easy to understrand and easier to sell to both buyers and sellers.

They have raised the bar higher for professionalism in real estate.

Dec 04, 2008 11:21 PM #3
Stefan Swanepoel
New York Times Bestselling Author & International Speaker - Ladera Ranch, CA

Wow, good to hear from you Gregg. Thanks for the first-hand comments.

"Raised the bar for professionalism" - I like that. Keep us posted on the progress.



Dec 05, 2008 06:38 AM #4
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Stefan, this is very interesting where in BH are they located?

Dec 05, 2008 05:45 PM #5
Stefan Swanepoel
New York Times Bestselling Author & International Speaker - Ladera Ranch, CA

Endre, they haven't opened an actual shop in Beverly Hills, but a regional corporate office on Avenue of the Stars. I believe that they have two dozen or so shops open in Florida, New York, etc. The first in CA is scheduled for Spring 2009. I loved to see it too so I will post up more details of when and where, when I get them.



Dec 08, 2008 09:32 AM #6
Mathias Bode
Engel & Voelkers California - Los Angeles, CA

Stefan I will make sure that you get the information for the opening of our first shop in California so you can advise your readers.

Mathias Bode
CEO, Engel & Volkers California

Dec 09, 2008 09:21 AM #7
Martin Dayton

Europe has long been considered a premier destination for culture, history, and excitement. Nowhere else in the world can one find such diverse offerings, such beautiful scenery, and so many things to do. Real estate and homes for sale in Europe are located in vastly different and diverse environments, ranging from forest to oceanfront and coastal to mountainous. We have started a website for people to sell and buy property without commision.  Direct from seller to buyer. is where you should have a look. Wherever you go in Europe, you can find something that fits your needs and wants. The most famous destinations on the planet can be found on this continent, scattered across countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Russia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

Mar 26, 2009 01:58 AM #8
Abraham Valentino Corporation - San Francisco, CA
Founder CEO & Nummus ICO

Hi Stefan,

Thank you for your post. As a Luxury Realtor in San Francisco Bay Area, I was approached by E & V. It did not take me but just the initial meeting to sign up and buy the franchise rights for San Francisco Southern Marin County.

I have a very strong business currently expanding from Silicon Valley to Marin County coupled with international advertising and dominating web presence in luxury market, however I believe this branding will certainly help me offer better service and global marketing to both my sellers and buyers.

Thank you once again for your post. I hope more luxury minded Realtors join the shops or become part of the brand. Please introduce my name to anyone you might know who could benefit from joining my team. My private number is 415-425-3500.

May 08, 2010 04:58 AM #9
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