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Navigating the Competitive Real Estate Brokerage Landscape: A Look at Compass and its Competitors

Real estate is one of the oldest and most lucrative industries in the world, constantly evolving to stay relevant in the times. Real estate brokerage, in particular, has come a long way, transitioning from simple phone calls and fliers to digital marketing and data analytics.

One of the fastest-growing real estate brokerages in recent years has been Compass. Its rise to prominence has been attributed to a combination of factors, such as its technology, proprietary software, and strategic funding.

This article will delve deeper into the background and founding of Compass, factors contributing to its success, as well as its competitors.

to Compass and its Rise to Prominence

Compass’s Background and Founding

Compass is a real estate brokerage that was founded in 2012, formerly known as Urban Compass. It was founded by Mike Weiss, Ori Allon, and Robert Reffkin, with Ugo Di Girolamo also one of the original co-founders.

The company was started to address the challenges that sellers and buyers face when navigating the real estate industry. The founders envisioned a technology-driven, streamlined, and customer-focused brokerage, and that’s precisely what they built.

Compass combines technology with the experience and knowledge of its agents to deliver a unique real estate experience. Factors Contributing to Compass’s Success

One of the most significant contributing factors to Compass’s success is its technology.

With proprietary software such as Compass Insights and the Marketing Center, Compass agents can analyze market trends, identify the most effective selling strategies, and create customized marketing campaigns for each client. Another factor is the company’s funding.

Compass has raised over $2 billion in funding, with SoftBank being the most significant contributor. This funding has allowed Compass to expand its operations, acquire other brokerages, and invest further in its technology.

The acquisition strategy has also contributed significantly to Compass’s success. The company has acquired over ten small to medium-sized brokerages since its founding, acquiring both market share and best practices from top-performing brokerages.

Compass’s commitment to its agents’ success, offering stock options, and the announcement of an IPO all add to its success.

Competitors of Compass

Realogy Brokerage Group

Realogy Brokerage Group is Compass’s biggest competitor and the second-biggest brokerage in the US by sales volume. The Realogy portfolio of brands includes Coldwell Banker, Century 21, and Sotheby’s International Realty.

Realogy has capitalized on its strengths and opportunities, investing in marketing and rebranding and acquisitions of small brokerages. It also offers franchise opportunities to new and established brokerages, with four brands: Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ERA Real Estate, and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

The franchise model allows for increased revenue streams, increased market share, and more significant national brand recognition.

HomeServices of America

HomeServices of America is the real estate brokerage division of Berkshire Hathaway, owned by Warren Buffet.

HomeServices of America is the largest brokerage in the US by sales volume and has several subsidiaries.

HomeServices of America’s business model revolves around increasing its market share through acquisitions of market-leading brokerages and subsidiaries.

HomeServices of America has close to 50 operating companies and over 43,000 agents, representing 1,500 offices across the US.


As the real estate industry continues to evolve, it is essential to have a strong brand, technology-driven operations, and a customer-centric approach. Compass and its competitors have taken different approaches to capture market share and remain relevant.

Understanding their strengths and weaknesses will help buyers and sellers make more informed decisions when navigating the real estate industry.

Competitors of Compass (continued)

eXp Realty

eXp Realty is a cloud-based brokerage founded in 2009, long before Compass’s launch. eXp Realty’s unique online focus allows for improved efficiency and cost savings, making it a profitable option for agents.

Unlike traditional brokerages, eXp Realty offers agents attractive commission splits, stock options, and a supportive network. In recent years, eXp Realty has experienced exponential growth, with a strong international presence.

The company reported revenue of $1.8 billion in 2020, up from $980 million, representing a growth rate of 81%. eXp Realty’s growth strategy relies on innovative technology, offering a seamless homebuying and selling experience.

Although eXp Realty does not have physical offices, the company hosts virtual meetings and training programs to support its agents. eXp Realty’s culture supports its agents’ success and encourages collaboration, making it a compelling alternative to traditional brokers.


Redfin is a technology-enabled real estate brokerage founded in 2004. The company operates an online platform that offers homebuyers and sellers access to real-time data on home prices and sales activity in their area.

Redfin’s unique value proposition is lowering the transaction fees for clients.

Redfin offers an online presence that is easy to navigate, as well as an iBuying option. The company’s Home Selling Calculator allows sellers to compare the potential proceeds from selling with

Redfin to a traditional agent while the iBuying program allows for a direct cash offer.

Along with the traditional brokerage services,

Redfin offers an online homebuying experience, and customer reviews on its website are extensive.

Redfin’s technology-enabled marketing tools and wealth of online resources allow it to remain highly profitable. It offers flexible commissions and competitive pricing, which makes it an attractive option for tech-savvy buyers and sellers.

Competitors of Compass (continued)

Douglas Elliman

Douglas Elliman is a long-standing real estate brokerage founded in 1911, with a particular focus on the New York area. The company has a strong reputation for luxury real estate marketing and sales and has experienced significant growth in recent years.

Douglas Elliman’s growth strategy involves expansion beyond traditional markets and into high-demand areas. The company acquired Teles Properties, a boutique brokerage in California, to boost its presence in the state.

Douglas Elliman has also made plans for an IPO that would raise funds for expansion and allow for accelerated growth. Douglas Elliman is known for its focus on agent success, investing in training programs, and providing marketing tools to help agents grow their businesses.

All agents are equipped with the latest tools and technology designed to help them provide the best possible service to their clients.

Keller Williams Realty

Keller Williams Realty is a real estate franchise that was founded in 1983. The company operates internationally, with over 180,000 agents worldwide.

The unique value proposition of Keller Williams is its commitment to training and technology tools. Keller Williams offers a broad range of training programs that focus on agents’ personal development and growth.

These programs aim to help agents build their customer base, increase sales, and provide better customer service. The company’s technology tools help agents stay ahead of competitors, such as a mobile app, a CRM tool, and scripts and templates to align the sales process.

Keller Williams has experienced significant growth in recent years, achieving over $387 billion in sales in 2020. The company’s international expansion has allowed it to capitalize on new markets and grow its client base.

Keller Williams’s focus on training and technology has proven to be a winning strategy, making it a formidable competitor in the real estate industry.


The real estate brokerage industry is an ever-changing landscape, and successful companies must adapt to remain competitive. Companies like Compass, eXp Realty,

Redfin, Douglas Elliman, and Keller Williams all leverage unique value propositions and strategic growth plans to establish themselves in the market.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each company will allow buyers and sellers to choose a broker that aligns with their needs and goals.

Competitors of Compass (continued)


RE/MAX is a real estate franchise founded in 1973, with over 130,000 agents worldwide. The company’s unique value proposition is its commission-based model, allowing agents to keep more of the commissions they earn.

RE/MAX has a strong track record of revenue growth, with reported revenue of $5.8 billion in 2020. RE/MAX’s franchising model allows for rapid expansion, with franchise owners in over 110 countries.

The company’s international presence and recognizable brand make it a compelling option for buyers and sellers worldwide. RE/MAX offers a broad range of services, including mortgage lending and title insurance, further capturing revenue streams.

In recent years, RE/MAX has invested in technology tools to make its agents more successful. These tools allow agents to streamline their operations, handle transactions more efficiently, and generate leads.

The company’s marketing tools are also designed to help agents build their personal brand and establish their expertise.


Zillow is a real estate website that provides homeowners and buyers access to data and tools to make informed decisions. The

Zillow platform allows users to browse homes for sale, rentals, and quickly see comparable home values with its Zestimate feature.

Zillow’s unique value proposition is how it captures revenue streams. The Premier Agent program connects buyers and sellers directly with real estate agents willing to pay for leads in their target market.

Zillow also has an iBuyer division,

Zillow Offers, which serves to purchase homes for cash and sells them on its platform. These revenue-generating streams make

Zillow a significant and diverse competitor in the real estate industry.

Zillow spends heavily on advertising, which has enabled the company to establish a strong brand presence in the market. The company’s competition with

Redfin is particularly intense, with each company offering similar tools and services to buyers and sellers.

Zillow’s success lies in its user-friendly platform and innovative revenue generation strategies. Its ability to capture revenue streams and be a threat to traditional brokerages is impressive, indicating

Zillow’s potential to become a dominant player in the industry.


The real estate brokerage industry is highly competitive, and companies that want to remain relevant must innovate continuously. Companies like RE/MAX and

Zillow, with franchising and website models, respectively, focus on revenue generating streams to remain competitive.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor, such as commission-based models, technology tools, and unique revenue streams, will help buyers and sellers choose a broker that aligns with their needs and goals.

In conclusion, the real estate brokerage industry is evolving rapidly, with companies like Compass, eXp Realty,

Redfin, Douglas Elliman, Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and

Zillow competing for market share.

These companies employ different strategies, such as technology-driven operations, innovative revenue models, and international expansion, to remain competitive and attract buyers and sellers. Understanding their unique value propositions and strengths can help individuals make more informed decisions when navigating the real estate market.

As technology continues to shape the industry, it is crucial for buyers and sellers to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor to find a brokerage that aligns with their needs. Remember, the real estate industry is ever-changing, and staying informed is key to success.

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