A History of Coldwell Banker

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC has a 117-year history of servicing the real estate needs of their customers.

The Coldwell Banker brand is the oldest and most established residential real estate franchise system in North America. In fact, in many ways it was the original real estate “start up.” Founded by young entrepreneurs Colbert Coldwell in 1906 and later Benjamin Banker changed the way people bought and sold homes across America, ultimately becoming one of the most trusted real estate brands in the world. More than 117 years later, the Coldwell Banker network is still continuously recognized for its innovation and leadership across 3,000 offices in 49 countries and territories.

In the aftermath of the Great San Francisco Earthquake, Colbert Coldwell founded Tucker, Lynch & Coldwell – a real estate company based on the principles of honesty, integrity, and service.

Having witnessed the devastating effects of the infamous 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires, the salesmen were acutely aware that the victims of the natural disasters were being preyed upon by unethical businesspeople.

On August 27, 1906 Colbert Coldwell (then just 23 years old) partnered with Albert Nion Tucker (aged 36, a bookkeeper), John Conant Lynch (aged 55, a well-known lawyer, speaker of the California Assembly in 1885, and a Unversity of California regent). Tucker and Lynch left the company in 1912.

Colbert Coldwell invites 28-year-old real estate salesman Benjamin Arthur Banker to join his firm. Within a year, Banker is promoted to partner for his exceptional work ethic and business acumen.

Coldwell and Banker’s partnership eventually formed the now globally known real estate company Coldwell Banker. The pair set rigorous standards for business excellence, performance, and principles when they founded their company.

There’s a great article from 2006 about the company’s origins written by George Raine, Chronicle Staff Writer at SFGATE.

“It was a very cutthroat, unethical, unprofessional business,” the current Coldwell Banker president and chief executive officer, Jim Gillespie, said of the San Francisco real estate market after the earthquake. Records had burned and salesmen duped clients to reap as much in commissions as they could finagle.Coldwell and Banker decided to go the honest route. They…

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Originally, the focus of Coldwell’s business was commercial property, however in 1925, Coldwell Banker founded their first office dedicated to residential properties in San Francisco.

Continued expansion throughout the state results in seven offices serving both Northern and Southern California.

Coldwell Banker became a prominent player in commercial real estate, contributing to the development of office buildings and large-scale shopping centers.

Coldwell Banker opened its first office outside of California, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Throughout the 1970s, Coldwell Banker acquired firms in Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. With the acquisition of several major East Coast firms in ’76, Coldwell Banker fulfills Arthur Banker’s dream of serving the entire continental U.S.

Coldwell Banker logo 1974-1980

In 1981, Coldwell Banker united with Sears Roebuck and Co. and by 1990, they’d expanded into 50 incorporated offices throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Coldwell Banker Logo 1980-2019

Coldwell Banker-affiliated agents became the first to advocate and practice the use of Sellers Disclosures well before it was law in some states, helping to improve real estate practices in many markets.

The first international Coldwell Banker office opens in Toronto, Canada and HTTP://coldwellbanker.com goes live, becoming the first website of a national real estate brand.

Coldwell Banker became the first full-service real estate brand to offer a concierge program. This program gave broker affiliates centralized access to various real estate-related services.

When Coldwell Banker celebrated their 100th anniversary, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom declared Coldwell Banker Week. President George Bush sent a congratulatory letter commemorating the milestone. Then President and CEO of Coldwell Banker, Jim Gillespie rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on August 21st, 2006.

With smartphones rising in popularity, Coldwell Banker became the first national real estate company to offer GPS-enabled listings and to configure its website for mobile users.

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The things that matter to you are the things that matter to us. Read our Mission Statement, learn about the Coldwell Banker Way, view the Coldwell Banker University Learning Center Course Catalog, view marketing resources, and more.
Powerful values guide everything we do, learn more.

Resource timelines are available here, here, here, and here.

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