Every year, several millions of dollars of money generated locally is sent outside the Central Coast to the parent companies of franchised real estate brokerages, with a big chunk of it going to pay “suits” on the East Coast. While a nationwide real estate name used to mean something 10-20 years ago, I don’t see any benefit they bring to Sellers or Buyers in today’s marketplace which was a major reason why I recently left a franchise brokerage. The latest report from the National Association of Realtors showed that only 2% of Buyers felt the brokerage name associated with an agent was important. When you use a real estate agent at a franchised Brokerage, 6-8% of what you pay in commissions goes to these parent companies. With the Internet changing the way real estate is sold, these old brokerage names have been replaced by the brands of the new forces in real estate including Google, Trulia, and local sites like SloCountyHomes.com.
One of the largest parent companies of real estate franchises is Realogy, based in New Jersey, which was a spin-off of the Cendant corporation a few years ago. A lot of people outside the real estate industry don’t know that this single corporation owns many of the franchise real estate brands including Better Homes and Gardens, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, and Sotherby’s.
If you want to support our local economy, use an Independent Brokerage that isn’t forced to send 6-8% of their earnings outside our area for the use of a name! There are many local independent brokerages who have been working hard for many years to make a name for themselves, rather than having to use someone elses name (and having you pay for it).