Century 21 franchise

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Century 21 is an international real estate franchise operator. They provide branding and business support to individually owned real estate brokerages across the globe. Claiming to have more brand awareness than any real estate label, Century 21 say their mission is to reinvent the industry by capturing the hearts and minds of those who are buying, selling and working in real estate today.

Century 21 business details

Established in 1971, and offering franchise opportunities since 1972, Century 21’s head office is located in Madison, New Jersey. They are the largest real estate franchisors in the world and are part of a group of real estate agencies that includes Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s International and Better Homes and Garden Real Estate. Currently, Century 21 has over 12,000 franchised offices worldwide and operates in 86 countries. 

Century 21 at a glance:

  • Offices: More than 12,000
  • Required Investor net worth: £150,000
  • Required investor liquid cash: £75,000
  • Min. investment: £25,000
  • Max. investment: £450,000
  • Standard franchise term: 10 years

Can I start a Century 21 franchise?

Century 21 states that they are seeking franchisees who are keen go-getters, determined to defy mediocrity and deliver extraordinary experiences in the real estate industry. If this is you, and you have a net worth of at least £150,000, and liquid assets of more than £75,000, this opportunity may be of interest. However, for those seeking a passive investment, take note that a Century 21 franchise cannot be operated as a remote or semi-remote investment. The company demands that their franchisees are actively engaged in the day to day running of the office and you will be expected to grow a positive and helpful presence for the brand and your business within the local community.

How much does a Century 21 franchise cost?

Century 21 offers two basic franchise models and the costs involved can vary from the very low to the moderate. Be aware that Century 21 franchises for real estate sales offices in the UK are typically limited to owners of existing real estate businesses but, in certain situations, they may be offered to newly formed real estate brokerages. If you are converting an existing real estate brokerage business into a Century 21 franchise and your premises meet the minimum office requirements (1,800 to 3,500 square feet) your set-up expenses could vary from £25,000 up to £270,000. However, these costs will increase significantly if you are opening a brand new Century 21 franchise – expect to pay anywhere from £100,000 to £450,000 or more.

Century 21 charges a franchise fee of £23,500 but this may be waived for businesses that participate in Century 21’s diversity or veteran program. 

After opening, you are required to pay an array of ongoing fees and charges. They include:

  • Royalty fee: 6% of gross revenue derived from real estate sales
  • Property management fees: 1.5% of gross revenues derived from property management
  • Brand marketing and promotion fee: 0.5% of all gross revenues
  • Computer hardware and software maintenance and support: Up to £2,000 per year
  • Late fees: All past due payments accrue interest at highest legal rate (not to exceed 1.5% per month)
  • Transfer assignment fee: £5,000
  • International Leadership Academy (training): £399 per attendee

Estimated key costs to open a Century 21 franchise (conversion from existing business):

Key Costs GuideLowHigh
Franchise fee£0£23,500
Leasehold improvements£100£100,000
Technology – hardware and software£5,000£10,000
Exterior signage£1,000£20,000
Sale and yard signs£2,000£5,000
Opening advertising £0£10,000
Legal expenses£0£4,000
Other costs – three months£15,000£40,000

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Are Century 21 franchises profitable?

They can be, but the UK real estate market is mature and extremely competitive. Your office location, the performance of your agents, and the general strength of the real estate market in your area will determine how successful and profitable your franchise is. Note that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Century 21 group posted a net loss of £360million in 2020 and net income had been falling for at least two years before that. As a franchisor that derives a large proportion of their income from individual franchise revenues, the drop in income for the parent organisation may indicate performance weakness at the local office level. 

What is the failure rate for a Century 21 franchise?

Moderate to high. The Century 21 franchise failure rate as of 2020 (most recent data) was 9.4%.

Why should you start a Century 21 franchise?

People always need somewhere to live. Although real estate can go through up and down cycles, a growing UK population ensures that there will always be people looking for a home or commercial premises to buy. Century 21 offers franchisees the resources of a national network and the brand awareness of a major name for a relatively low investment. Yes, the success of your franchise will depend on where you operate and how active your market is, but favourable demographics and the unending urge of folks to own a home means you’ll never be short of customers.

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What are the franchise territory policies for Century 21?

Franchisees must operate their franchised business only from the office(s) identified in their franchise agreement. The company will not grant another Century 21 franchisee a location within a 1/4-mile radius from the franchisee’s office(s), but no franchisee is prohibited from seeking listings or buyers in any area. The franchisor’s holding company, may offer franchises to real estate brokerages that operate under their other brand names in your designated territory.

What franchise resources does Century 21 offer?

Century 21 support for franchisees includes:

  • Training: Franchisees are required to attend the International Learning Academy program within 24 months after signing their franchise Agreement. The franchisor does not provide other, on-the-job training.
  • Marketing support: The franchisor helps its franchisees with local and national advertising and marketing support. 
  • Third-party financing: Century 21 does not provide financial support for investors seeking franchise funding. Instead, you could work with the many independent funders who provide business loans to franchise operators.
  • Technology and innovation: The company offers initial technology support and access to proprietary software as well as providing continuing assistance to franchisees with respect to technological improvements and changes to the Century 21 system.

What is the process for starting a Century 21 franchise?

It starts with an application. Begin the process today

Secure franchise funding with Swoop

Starting a new franchise can be an exciting opportunity, but it’s easy to get lost in a maze of business loan applications that can make funding your new real estate business like too much hard work. Instead, cut out the hassle and cut to the chase. Swoop has the best lenders for the best franchises across the UK. Just tell us what you need and leave the rest to us.

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Written by

Chris Godfrey

Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Barclays Bank, Metro Bank, Wells Fargo, ABN Amro, Quidco, Legal and General, Inshur Zego, AIG, Met Life, State Farm, Direct Line, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of consumer and business finance and insurance.

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