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The Coldwell Banker Story

The Coldwell Banker StoryAfter the devastating earthquake and fire that leveled San Francisco, California in 1906, unscrupulous dealers in real estate preyed on a vulnerable populace trying to rebuild. On August 27, 1906, a 23-year-old real estate agent named Colbert Coldwell recognized the need for integrity, ethics, and professionalism in the industry, and opened his new real estate firm with the customer as its focus. Coldwell's straightforward business principles set the cornerstone for one of the most successful brands in America's history. That brand is Coldwell Banker.

One hundred years after its founding, the nation's oldest national real estate organization is known as an industry leader and innovator, while still practicing the benchmark for outstanding customer service. The Coldwell Banker network has grown from one office in ravaged Northern California, to the largest real estate franchise organization and ninth largest franchiser in the world,* with $325.9 billion in closed sales volume, plus more than 126,000 sales associates working in more than 3,800 offices in 29 countries and territories.

Along the way, Coldwell Banker has set high standards for the real estate industry and has achieved many 'firsts'. It was the first to offer comprehensive service guarantees to homebuyers and sellers and the first to advocate the practice of Seller Disclosure. Coldwell Banker also transformed the real estate process into a consumer friendly experience through its easy to navigate website, which was first to provide nationwide listings in one portal. Its Coldwell Banker Concierge Service Program, matching customers to local service providers, such as contractors to assist in every facet of the home buying and selling process, was another innovation.

Coldwell Banker has paved the way for millions to enjoy the American Dream of homeownership, while serving as a community leader in the cities and towns that it serves. Through the '100 Homes by our 100th Anniversary' campaign, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation and its affiliated companies are in the midst of raising approximately $5 million to support 100 Habitat for Humanity home builds across the nation by its 100th anniversary, celebrated in 2006. Coldwell Banker affiliated companies also support countless charitable endeavors, including the United States Marine Corps Reserves program 'Toys for Tots.'

Coldwell Bankerwas independently owned until 1968 when it went public. The company was bought by Sears in 1981 and franchising operations began the following year. Sold in 1993 to the Fremont Group, Coldwell Banker was later acquired in 1996 by HFS, now known as Cendant. Cendant has announced that it will spin off its real estate group, which includes such world-renowned brands as Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Commercial,CENTURY 21, ERA, and Sotheby's International Realty in the second quarter of 2006.

The Coldwell Banker Fact Sheet

  • The nation's oldest national real estate organization was established on August 27, 1906, just 18 weeks after the 'Great Earthquake' that devastated San Francisco. Founder Colbert Coldwell, and later Benjamin Banker, helped bring ethics and professionalism back to the city's real estate industry.
  • Today, Coldwell Banker is the largest real estate franchise organization, and ninth largest franchiser in the world according to Franchise Times. The Coldwell Banker System earned $325.9 billion in closed sales volume in 2004 and has more than 117,000 sales associates working in more than 3,700 offices in 47 countries and territories, 3142 of which are in the US.
  • Coldwell Banker set high standards for the real estate industry and was the first national company to:
    • Offer comprehensive service guarantees to homebuyers and sellers and the first advocate of Seller Disclosure
    • Launch an award winning national Web site, www.coldwellbanker.com
    • Debut an interactive search engine that provides customers with customized e-mails with requested home listings information
    • Launch a Concierge program that matches customers to local service providers, to assist in every facet of the home buying and selling process.
  • The Coldwell Bankerorganization is a civic leader. Through the '100 Homes by our 100th Anniversary' campaign, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation and its affiliated companies are in the midst of raising approximately $5 million to support more than 100 Habitat for Humanity home builds across the nation by its 100th anniversary, celebrated in 2006. Coldwell Bankeraffiliated companies also support countless charitable endeavors, including the United States Marine Corps Reserves 'Toys for Tots' program.
  • Coldwell Banker has a global reach, with offices on six continents and 29 countries and territories. There are more than 500 offices outside of the United States in the following countries:
    • Aruba
    • Australia
    • Bahamas
    • Belize 
    • Bermuda
    • Canada
    • Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman)
    • China
    • Costa Rica
    • Dominican Republic
    • Egypt
    • France
    • Honduras
    • India (Mumbai only)
    • Indonesia
    • Ireland
    • Israel
    • Jamaica
    • Japan
    • Korea
    • Lebanon
    • Malta
    • Mexico
    • The Netherlands
    • Netherlands Antiles (Curacao, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, Saba and St. Maarten)
    • Nicaragua
    • Panama
    • Peru
    • Poland
    • Puerto Rico
    • Romania 
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Singapore
    • South Korea
    • Spain
    • St. Kitts & Nevis
    • St. Martin
    • Turkey 
    • Turks & Caicos
    • United Arab Emirates
    • United State 
    • Venezuela 
    • Virgin Islands (British: Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, along with smaller cays and private islands)
    • Virgin Islands (U.S.: St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas, Water Island, several smaller islands)

Key Fun Facts From 1906

Real Estate Facts

  • The national average price for a three-bedroom home in 1906 was $2,400.
  • The emerging home style trend was that of the California bungalow, which was described as a 'house that looks as if it had been built for less money than it actually cost. '
  • The most desired additional room and luxury item at the time - a sewing room
  • The cost to rent a furnished apartment in San Francisco's Nobb Hill, including gas range, sink and closets, was $17.50 per month.
  • The cost of 124 acres of farm land, 16 miles from Atlanta was $20.00 per acre in 1906.
  • A ten-room house near Peachtree Road in Atlanta cost $4,500 in 1906.

General Facts

  • The average annual income per family in 1906 was $486 per year.
  • The price of a new Ford automobile was $750.
  • The price of one gallon of gasoline was 28 cents.
  • The price of a pound of bread was 5 cents.
  • One gallon of milk cost 28 cents.
  • The New York Times cost 1 cent per issue.

*Franchise Times annual "Top 200"

Coldwell Banker celebrates its 100th anniversary!