The Biggest Real Estate Companies in the U.S. The real estate industry is one of the most competitive fields in the modern economy. Not only do firms compete for customers and listings, but they also compete to bring on qualified agents that can help them grow. This means the companies that grow quickly often treat their agents well and receive word-of-mouth recommendations from customers.
Get to know some of the biggest real estate companies in the field and learn why they are the best. Here are the 10 names you need to know.
Founded in 1983, Keller Williams Realty quickly grew into one of the biggest real estate companies on the market. In 2018, this firm topped the charts in agent count, closed units, and closed sales volume. To get an idea for the scale of the company, Keller Williams closed more than one million units in the United States and Canada in 2018 — accounting for more than $332 billion in sales revenue.
Keller Williams started in Austin, Texas, and continues to expand each year. Its business model is based on a 70/30 split with agents — meaning the agent takes home 70 percent of the commission while the brokerage takes 30 percent. After the agents hit a certain commission cap, they take home 100 percent of commissions. The model favors agents, attracting more Realtors to its franchises.
RE/MAX (short for Real Estate Maximums) is another big name in real estate sales. Boasting more than 125,000 agents across the country, RE/MAX was named the top real estate brokerage franchisor by the Franchise 500 in 2020. This is the eighth straight year that RE/MAX has taken home this title, based on objective factors like unit growth, franchise stability, and brand power.
Founded in 1973 in Denver, Colorado, RE/MAX quickly expanded across the West and into Canada. It has been a top-ranked national firm since 1987.
The Coldwell Banker firm was started in 1906 by Colbert Coldwell and Benjamin Banker in the wake of the Great San Francisco Earthquake. The business was started just two years before the National Association of Realtors was founded. With over 100 years of history to its name, Coldwell Banker is going strong. It boasts more than 3,000 offices in 49 countries across the world.
In 1981, Coldwell Banker was sold to Sears, Roebuck and then passed through various buyers in the years following. Today, the firm is a subsidiary of Realogy.
4. Century 21
Century 21 is another pioneer in the history of American real estate. Founded in 1971in Orange County, California, Century 21 grew into an international brand. Today, there are over 11,600 franchise brokers and 127,000 employees in 83 countries. This makes Century 21 a globally recognized logo.
This real estate firm is known for its customer service. In 2016, J.D. Power gave Century 21 an award for the highest overall satisfaction amongst buyers and sellers. The mission of this company is to “defy mediocrity and deliver extraordinary experiences,” something its franchises strive for each year. Century 21 is a subsidiary of Realogy.
Berkshire Hathaway is notably owned by Warren Buffett, widely considered to be one of the most successful investors in the world. Buffet has continued to grow his company into one of the biggest real estate companies in the United States. In 2018, the company closed 346,629 residential real estate transactions, standing well above most other firms.
Berkshire Hathaway credits its success to its size. The company has grown its internal team of real estate professionals while also acquiring smaller brands. To date, it owns over 90 other businesses.
Compared to the other power players on this list, Compass might seem small. It boasts 17,000 agents across a few key regions in the United States. However, this company shows promise. It continues to grow and attract customers through modern technology and a customer-centric business model.
In 2019, Compass was ranked among the top 10 brokerages (number three) for the most sales volume, closing more than $97.5 billion in sales that year. It also ranked number five in transactions, with more than 84,732 transaction sides. Expect to see more from this company in the future.
6. eXp Realty
eXp Realty claims to be the largest residential real estate brokerage by geography. It also has more than 40,000 agents in the United States. While eXp Realty might not have the same name recognition as Century 21 or RE/MAX, its employees are committed to growth and making this brand one of the biggest real estate companies out there.
Currently, eXp operates in seven additional countries outside of the United States, including South Africa, Portugal, and India.
Sotheby’s is a truly international real estate firm. This brokerage company is part of the same brand that operates the iconic art and wine auction house. Today, Sotheby’s boasts more than 1,000 offices globally in 70 different countries.
There are more than 23,000 sales associates that account for $114 billion in annual sales. While this firm might be on the small side compared to others on this list, the amount sold for these luxury properties makes it one of the biggest real estate companies in terms of revenue.
HomeServices of America is a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate with 1,600 employees. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this company provides brokerage services along with mortgage financing, title insurance, and closing services.
Its slogan, “local real estate nationwide,” highlights the neighborhood connection it makes with customers while maintaining its national infrastructure. Its variety of services make it appealing to buyers and sellers who want to work with just one company during the translation process.
9. EXIT Realty
Since 1996, EXIT Realty was started by Steve Morris, a former RE/MAX agent. Like Keller Williams, EXIT Realty follows the same 70/30 split commission model, enticing Realtors to sign on with this franchise. After agents earn more than $100,000, the commission rate drops to a 90/10 split. This company has strong plans for growth in the future. It hopes to have more than 3,600 franchises and 100,000 agents across North America.
Founded in 1969, Weichert has grown into a large firm with over 10,000 employees. Their business model boasts a “one-stop” shop for everything related to finding a house, securing a mortgage, and closing. It prioritizes training and building up its real estate agents so they can perform at their best.