RE/MAX International Inc. ranked as the top real estate franchise company in an annual top-500 list published by Entrepreneur magazine.

RE/MAX ranked eighth overall in the latest Franchise 500 ranking, up from 10th place in 2005.

In order to be eligible for consideration in the list, a franchise company must have a minimum of 10 franchise units with at least one being a U.S.-based franchise, it must be seeking new franchisees in the United States, and it cannot be in Chapter 11 at the time the rankings were compiled, according to the magazine’s criteria.

Financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system, number of years in business and length of time franchising, startup costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and the availability of financing are among the criteria considered in the rankings. “We do not measure subjective elements such as franchisee satisfaction or management style,” according to a description at the magazine’s Web site. The magazine first published the franchise ranking list in 1980.

Century 21 Real Estate was 14th on the list, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. ranked 19th, while ERA Franchise Systems Inc. was 33rd, Help-U-Sell Real Estate was 49th, Realty Executives International Inc. was 63rd, Keller Williams Realty was 66th, and Assist-2-Sell was 73rd on the list. Century 21, Coldwell Banker and ERA are all brands of Cendant Corp.

The estimated start-up costs can vary widely at some of these real estate franchise companies. According to the Franchise 500 list, startup costs at RE/MAX can range from $20,000 to $200,000. At Century 21, costs can range from $11,700 to $522,500; Coldwell Banker costs range from $23,500 to $490,500; ERA costs range from $42,700 to $205,900; Help-U-Sell costs range from $64,500 to $190,500; Realty Executives costs range from $18,600 to $88,100; Keller Williams costs range from $121,000 to $252,000 and Assist-2-Sell costs range from $35,00 to $62,000.

In 2005, Coldwell Banker was 20th, Century 21 ranked 27th, ERA was 41st, Help-U-Sell was 44th, Keller Williams was 70th, Realty Executives was 73rd, and Assist-2-Sell was 78th on the list.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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