Century 21, Re/Max and Coldwell Banker are the most recognized real estate brand names used by brokerages, according to an online survey of U.S. homebuyers and sellers commissioned by Century 21 and conducted by Millward Brown, a global brand research company.

The multiple-choice survey, which polled 1,204 randomly selected U.S. adults who have either bought or sold a home in the past two years or plan to buy or sell a home in the next two years during two separate two-week periods in 2012, showed that 96 percent of respondents had "seen or heard of" Century 21.

Re/Max, Coldwell Banker and Prudential rounded out the top four with 91 percent, 86 percent and 70 percent of respondents, respectively, indicating that they had ever "seen or heard of" the brands.

A similar survey by Millward Brown last year showed Century 21, Re/Max and Coldwell Banker retaining similar leadership positions in brand awareness.

Other brands in the poll, which was conducted Feb. 5-19, 2012, and Aug. 12-26, 2012, were Keller Williams, ERA, Real Living, Realty Executives and Weichert, Realtors.

Brand Percentage who "have ever seen or heard of" the brand
Century 21 96%
Re/Max 91%
Coldwell Banker 86%
Prudential 70%
Keller Williams 44%
ERA 42%
Real Living 24%
Weichert, Realtors 20%
Realty Executives 16%

Source: Millward Brown 2012 real estate brand research study

This year’s survey marked the first time respondents were asked to identify the "most respected" brand in the real estate industry. Century 21, Re/Max and Coldwell Banker also topped this list.

Brand Percentage who selected the brand as "the most respected in the industry"
Century 21 22%
Re/Max 17%
Coldwell Banker 16%
Prudential 12%
Keller Williams 11%
Weichert, Realtors 8%
Realty Executives 8%
Real Living 7%
ERA 5%

Source: Millward Brown 2012 real estate brand research study

Respondents were also asked how likely they were to recommend one of the leading brands to someone else. Century 21 revealed only whether more or less than 25 percent of respondents would recommend a brand.

Less than 25 percent said they would recommend Coldwell Banker, ERA, Keller Williams, Prudential, Realty Executives or Weichert. More than 25 percent of respondents said they would recommend Century 21 or Re/Max.

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