BrokerageIndustry News

Luxury brands seek wider Web, international reach

Multitude of networks target high-end real estate

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The brand landscape of the luxury real estate market has changed much in the past few years -- and loyalties have changed, too. This big-money market segment is not such a lonely place -- a range of luxury networks are engaged in a high-stakes competition to be the best partner to brokerage firms seeking to reach the world's wealthiest home buyers and sellers. The expanded field has led some brokers to shop around for the best fit, in some cases abandoning longtime allegiances. In 2004, major real estate franchisor Cendant Corp., made waves in the luxury market when it announced the purchase of licensing rights to the Sotheby's real estate brand and plans to launch a real estate franchise network. Previously, brokerage companies could pay a licensing fee to use the Sotheby's name when marketing luxury properties. The change to a Sotheby's franchise model created a rift, with some Sotheby's affiliates aligning with other luxury networks and some choosing to sign on as franchi...