Founded in 1973 and headquartered in New York City, Corcoran serves its original markets—New York City, the Hamptons and South Florida—while growing in new ones across the country and around the world.
“We’re the No. 1 brokerage in Manhattan (New York) and have a long history on the East Coast and in high-end luxury markets,” says Stephanie Anton, president of the Corcoran Affiliate Network. “In 2018 we started franchising the brand, and it’s been so successful that we’ve been named the fastest-growing real estate brand in the industry. We came out of the gate in February 2020 with a franchise on the West Coast.”
The company promotes what it considers its biggest differentiator, the brand, because it’s fresh, with a distinct point of view and voice—not a stodgy luxury brand. According to Anton, Corcoran is a very premium, upscale brand that speaks to the consumer in a completely different way from its competitors, allowing Corcoran to carve out a unique spot in the industry while adding a lot of services, tools and resources—along with the ability to grow.
“We’re very much focused on growth,” says Anton. “About 70% of our companies have grown through acquiring another company in the first two years of us doing franchise business, so it’s working. What we’re not doing is putting three or four or five franchisees in one market. We’re looking to partner with a strong operator, someone who really loves marketing, and help them bring the brand to life in that local market and help them grow there. That’s very different from how a lot of other companies franchise.”
The firm likes to describe the brand as inclusive, not exclusive. They have a brand marketing fund, and because they’re based in New York City, they have a sophisticated group of marketers who are crafty about how they promote Corcoran in all the local places in which the firm is active.
And while the higher end is Corcoran’s bread and butter, “that’s where we’re targeting and growing,” says Anton. “We’re not likely to affiliate with someone whose average sales price is in the lower half of their area.”
- The Corcoran real estate brand is in 45 markets, domestic and international.
- The brand resonates the best in urban, high-end suburban, resort and second-home communities.
Founded in Memphis in 1977, Crye-Leike REALTORS® serves markets in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
“Over the past 45 years, Crye-Leike has built a highly respected brand based on stellar service, dedication to detail, advanced technology, marketing support, great agent training and inspired leadership,” says Keith Sullivan, chief marketing officer and vice president at Crye-Leike REALTORS® and president of Crye-Leike’s franchise division. This has culminated in over 800,000 real estate transactions companywide (corporate and franchise locations).
Founder and CEO Harold Crye is still very hands-on with day-to-day operations. Always looking ahead at what’s next in the real estate landscape, he makes himself available to agents, brokers, franchise owners, etc.
This leadership style has created a company culture that feels like family. Crye-Leike is committed to the success of all its franchise locations and offers comprehensive, ongoing training programs, like Crye-Leike College, as well as special events, such as hosting nationally renowned speakers that enable associates to keep their professional edge.
“As the real estate landscape continues to change, Crye-Leike spends a great deal of time vetting tools and services that can help our agent base stay ahead of the curve,” says Sullivan. “We’ve also launched tools for buyers in this competitive market. For a nominal fee, they can turn their offers into all cash to help win the deal. We also recently launched a new transaction coordinator program to help our agents save time, scale their business and ultimately make them more efficient.”
- Over the last year, the company launched Crye-Leike Advantage, a tool that allows agents to create a comparison for sellers (open market, instant offers and bridge solutions) so they know and understand all their options.
- Over the last five years, the company’s franchise sales volume has doubled.
Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Ontario, Canada, EXIT Realty has been “disrupting” the real estate industry with a business model built on human potential and focused on positive consumer experiences.
“Every company has to have a differentiator; what is it that makes you so unique?” explains Craig Witt, CEO of EXIT Realty US. “A lot of brokers these days are trying to find ways to attract and retain agents, and coming up with creative ways to offer incentives, through either profit sharing or revenue sharing so that they can give them something more than just their commissions.”
The company has done just that. The EXIT formula was built on 10% off the top of single-level residuals paid down to its people for every person they introduce to the company for as long as they stay with the company.
“We’ve done this from day one,” says Witt, “then added a 7% retirement benefit to all of our people. So if I sponsor you into the company, I get to enjoy equal to 10% off the top of everything you sell, up to $10,000 a year. That gives me additional income streams based on revenue, not based on profit. When I get ready to retire, I get to take that with me and continue to earn 7% as a retirement benefit. If something happens to me, the 5% flows down to my family as a beneficiary, not once, but every time a deal closes.”
The plan has given agents and associates an additional income stream to live and build a lifestyle with. It has also helped brokers recruit, because now it’s not just the owner recruiting agents into the company.
While agents are looking for good talent to bring into the company, its business model also helps with retention because agents make more money and are more financially stable. This leads to agents being able to sustain themselves if they go through a couple of bad deals, get sick, injured and can’t work…or simply want to take a break from selling.
“If I were to say we’ve got great technology, tools, training or culture…everybody says that,” notes Witt. “Those aren’t differentiators. You should have all those things as a franchisor. But what if I could offer you something no one else can get?”
EXIT Realty makes sure its people stay focused on the job at hand, not listening to the noise in the marketplace. Stressing the fact that with chaos comes opportunity, 5½ million homes will be sold a year in recessions and good times alike.
- EXIT Realty ensures that corporate leaders stay in close touch with all franchise owners, equating to 650 offices and 25,000 agents.
- The privately held franchise company has been around for 26 years and has been profitable nearly all that time.
Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, HomeSmart’s agents receive their own SmartSites to brand their individual business and optimize their listings.
“HomeSmart has been around for 22 years,” says Bryan Brooks, senior vice president of franchise sales at HomeSmart. “It was founded by Matt Widdows, a very tech-focused person, who wanted to simplify real estate.”
HomeSmart is a tech-powered company, with its own proprietary technology stack focused on operational efficiency. A key point includes simplifying the transaction with tools like RealSmart Broker (providing total visibility into the performance of the business at all times) and RealSmart Agent (a platform that boasts an all-in-one capability that maximizes an agent’s productivity by streamlining business tasks). HomeSmart believes that this is part of an ecosystem for ancillary services moving forward in the business where it can centralize all its operations in technology.
“So with any of our franchisees, we can help manage the transaction,” says Brooks. “It helps them be more efficient and they can handle the compliance piece. We all know if you’re not recruiting, you’re dying in this business.
“We like to empower all the parties with transparency through our tech stack,” adds Brooks. “We take manual, analog processes and make them digital. If we have to do something twice, we automate it.”
HomeSmart’s forward-focused model was built on a foundation of continuous evolution. The company wants to empower agents through flexibility, support and choice. Through technology, it can anticipate gaps in offerings.
“We’re fully invested in ancillary services moving forward,” explains Brooks. “The industry margin is kind of on shaky ground right now, so it’s almost going back to the basics and reeducating all of our REALTORS®. No one was used to telling sellers to take price reductions. Our forward focus is continuing with education and our tech stack to make everything more efficient for our agents.”
- HomeSmart’s technology stack puts the company at the center of every transaction.
- The company promotes a blending of human touch with technology for a consistent, more efficient experience.