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10 Common Real Estate Agencies


The home-buying process can seem incredibly stressful, regardless of whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran. Fortunately, you can find a real estate agent who’s willing to do a lot of the grunt work for you. SmartAsset took the time to create a list of some of the most common real estate agencies in the industry. Consider working with a financial advisor as you decide on buying a residence for yourself or investing in a rental property.


Short for Real Estate Maximums, RE/MAX has been in operation since 1973. In its approximately half-century of existence, the company has grown to encompass more than 135,000 sales agents working in franchise-owned and operated offices in more than 100 countries and territories. More importantly, RE/MAX is regarded as one of the country’s most productive real estate sales forces.

Century 21

The 10 Best Real Estate Agencies

A real estate powerhouse in its own right – and one of the industry’s most recognized brands – Century 21 boasts a global operation throughout Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. There are approximately 14,000 independently owned, operated broker offices, with 147,000 associates in 86 countries and territories. Century 21 has established itself as a leader in e-marketing and has emerged as one of the most respected brands in the industry.

Keller Williams

Keller Williams Realty, Inc. is a real estate force to be reckoned with. Today, Austin, Texas-based kwx is the holding company of Keller Williams, which bills itself as the world’s largest real estate technology franchise by agent count. With more than 1,100 offices and 200,000 associates worldwide, Keller Williams is also No. 1 in units and sales volume in the United States. As of 2024, it was home to more than 189,000 agents in the United States and Canada.

Coldwell Banker

Founded in San Francisco in 1906, Coldwell Banker has a rich history of providing dependable real estate services to its clients. Today this American real estate franchise is owned by Realogy and has 3,000 offices in nearly 50 countries and territories. It is known for providing top-rated services and thoroughly training its agents.

ERA Real Estate

ERA, which stands for Electronic Realty Associates, is operated by Realogy, the parent company of Century 21, Coldwell Banker and Sotheby’s International Realty. Founded in 1971 as Electronic Realty Associates, ERA was motivated to champion a then-novel technology (the facsimile) to bring real estate services to heightened functionality.

The ERA Real Estate network includes more than 39,000 affiliated brokers and independent sales associates and approximately 2,350 offices throughout the United States and 33 other countries and territories, including Saudi Arabia, Germany and Japan.

Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976. Once it formed a strategic alliance with Realogy in 2004, the real estate agency was able to offer franchise opportunities to select real estate brokerages. As of 2022 it had approximately 25,000 associates in about 1,000 office located in 70 territories and countries.

The company has many clients with a high net worth. Numerous residential sales for Sotheby’s fall in the million-dollar range. Most recently, the agency expanded its presence in Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines and Thailand.

The Corcoran Group

The 10 Best Real Estate Agencies

Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran used a gimmick known as the one-day sale to sell 81 apartments within a 24-hour period. Her tactic was to take an assortment of properties around the city and sell them all at the same price to her agents’ best friends. In 1995, the Corcoran website debuted and became one of the first online portals for the real estate industry.

In 2001 the firm was sold to NRT, a joint venture of Cendant Corp. and Apollo Management. As of 2024, Corcoran comprised offices owned by a subsidiary of Realogy Brokerage Group LLC and franchised offices, which are independently owned and operated. The firm has more than 5,000 associated agents in more than 100 offices.

Camden Property Trust

Specialists in owning, developing and managing multifamily residential apartment communities, Camden Property Trust has become one of the largest publicly traded companies of its kind in the U.S. As of 2024, it held interests in 172 apartment communities containing 58,634 apartment homes in the U.S.

The company remains committed to maintaining a diverse portfolio of high quality apartment structures. In addition, Camden Property Trust is focused on providing a proactive, dynamic and vibrant work environment for its employees. Perks include discounted rentals for employees and a hefty 401(k) matching program.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

Launched in 1978 by the Meredith Corporation, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is now one of Realogy’s real estate brands. Since then, the real estate firm has emerged as one of the more reputable brands, partially because of its kinship with a magazine sharing the same name. In 2008, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate entered into a new franchise system, which is helping to catapult it further up the ranks.

Zillow, an Independent Real Estate Resource

While not a real estate agency, figures prominently in the search for property by millions of retail buyers, in effect being a gateway to many of the agencies listed above. Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, who are former Microsoft executives who also started Expedia, founded the online portal in 2005 and the company has grown tremendously since then. Zillow is unique in that it strives to provide its users with the tools and applications to make sound real estate decisions independently.

Tips on Real Estate

  • Before starting the search for your new home, it’s a good idea to first get an idea of how much house you can realistically afford. Consider how much you’re earning and how much you’ll likely spend on expenses like a mortgage, insurance, maintenance and taxes.
  • Figure out how buying a home fits into your full financial picture. To ensure your purchase will align with your long-term financial goals, consider consulting a financial advisor before you close. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Photo credit: flickr/WillAugust, ©, © Keating