CENTURY 21: Sandton Real Estate Leader - Our First Franchisee


CENTURY 21 South Africa today officially announced the signing up of their first franchisee. Richter Properties, a prestigious real estate company from Sandton, well known for their outstanding performance within the real estate industry, was hand picked out of 250 applications and enquiries to become this global property group’s first Gauteng-region franchisee.


Says Duncan Gray, CEO and national franchisor of CENTURY 21 South Africa: “Raymond, Joan and Trevor Richter of Richter Properties are renowned experts in the field. Their in-depth knowledge and understanding of the South African property market adds further value to our brand. We are enthusiastic about the prospects of having them on our team.”


Richter Properties underwent a strict selection process to become CENTURY 21’s first franchisee. The group’s ethos of delivering exceptional service every time dictates that only the crème of the crop will be offered franchise opportunities.  We had to be very careful in selecting our first franchisee as that particular company or agency would be laying the foundation for CENTURY 21’s franchise system in South Africa. That is why we are excited to announce Richter Properties as our first franchisee,” says Gray.


Franchise applications were classified as follows:

  • Existing operations wishing to obtain the big brand status, marketing and training depth and expertise
  • Existing leading estate agent within an operation wishing to branch out on his/her own
  • Start up from outside the estate agency business, e.g. entrepreneur, attorneys etc.


The existing operations were once again classified into the following categories:

  • Under R4 million per month sales
  • Above R4 million - less than R10 million per month sales
  • Above R10 million - less than R20 million per month sales
  • Above R20 million per month sales


Says Gray: “It is interesting to note how rarity sets in even in the second franchise selection category of  R4 million to R10 million sales each month. Offices above R10 million and especially those above R20 million sales per month are very rare indeed. We are therefore pleased that we have been able to appeal to these latter classes very successfully.”


Richter Properties has a strong share in the mid and upper end of the market. The company has been applauded recently for having achieved the highest prices for the Morningside area’s off-plan developments in 2005, when four cluster units they sold attained prices between R7 million and R9.2 million.


Under the experienced hand of Trevor Richter, CEO since 2002, Richter Properties saw a 57% per annum growth in company turnover from the end of 2002 to the end of 2005. And they are still going strong, having attained a figure equating to their total turnover for 2005 by August 2006.


“Our team is excited about our decision to align ourselves with the CENTURY 21 brand. Their franchise model allows us to be a part of one of the largest real estate groups in the world, while retaining our high levels of service, honesty and integrity, which have contributed to our success,” Trevor says.


He notes that CENTURY 21’s marketing and training expertise as well as its national and international coverage and unbeatable referral network were important factors in the making of their final decision to join the brand.


But how does the CENTURY 21 group resource system place it apart from the rest? “For five consecutive years, the Learning Magazine has voted our learning system among their Top 100 Learning Organisations across all industry types world-wide,” noted Gray. In addition, the Entrepreneur Magazine has ranked the group as the 8th Best Franchise System across all industry segments. CENTURY 21 will also provide Richter Properties with the finest marketing material available which will greatly enhance the sales process.


Says Trevor: “The national coverage, which comes with the CENTURY 21 brand, will have an immediate effect on our clients as they will benefit from the greater exposure. We will also be able to offer our clients value added services with regards to issues such as relocations.”


It was important for Richter Properties to join CENTURY 21 at ground level. “We want to play an integral role in the growth and development of CENTURY 21 South Africa,” Trevor says. CENTURY 21 aims to become the country’s largest residential property broker with 33 franchise offices operating by the end of February 2007, with 400 franchise offices in 10 year’s time. “We want to see CENTURY 21 become one of the most - if not the most - dominant real estate player in South Africa,” Trevor concludes.


CENTURY 21 may just do that - seeing that the group has received an average of 62.5 franchise enquiries and applications per month since announcing their entry into the South African property market in May this year. Globally, the group is significantly larger than the next placed international group within the property industry, with 144 000 agents and more than 8000 independently owned and operated franchised broker offices in 45 countries and territories worldwide.


Although CENTURY 21 has not appointed franchisees in the lowest sales category up to date, Gray noted that the group is definitely willing to do so. “We will consider cases where we see the potential for expansion, given the willingness of the operator to actively participate in expanding his current footprint and taking the operation up into the next category,” says Gray. He added that CENTURY 21 would allocate maximum resources to evaluate the potential synergies of a future association under the CENTURY 21 brand wherever an individual operator with vision and passion, as well as an understanding of the power of branding, especially international branding, steps forward.  “To help operators grow their business is a CENTURY 21 undertaking borne out by the CENTURY 21 global Profitability Study,” says Gray. The study, which is conducted annually, is used to identify best in class performances and the precursors to that success, i.e. the steps that need to be taken before business expansion and optimisation can take place.


Gray notes that he is not out to sell franchises just for the sake of selling it. “Franchise selling itself, is not that difficult. My aim is to establish an association that will benefit both the franchisor and franchisee, which will ideally result in a happy renewal of the agreement. There has to be that proverbial “win-win” factor – as rare as that is. In all instances, and the franchisees about to launch will bear testimony to this, is that the agreement has got to make sense to both the franchisor and franchisee,” he says.


Richter Properties, which operated as Joan Richter Properties until the beginning of 2006, will trade as CENTURY 21 Richter Properties as from 1 October 2006. They currently cover the Morningside, Sandown, Strathavon, Riverclub, Morningside Manor, Gallo Manor, Woodmead, Athol, Illovo, Dunkeld, Melrose and Killarney areas, but through the CENTURY 21 South Africa association, will soon be expanding to the Rosebank and Parks areas.


Richter Properties and other franchisees in the Gauteng area will be introduced to selected CENTURY 21 clients and guests at the group’s Media Briefing to be held at Monte Casino on 5 October.  Six more franchises are about to come on line in the Cape market as from November 2006.


Visit www.century21.co.za for more information.
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