REAL ESTATE

Compiled by John O'Dell and Anne Michaud / Times staff writers

HomeLife's Headquarters: HomeLife Realty Services Inc., one of Canada's largest residential real estate franchise companies, has opened its U.S. headquarters in Newport Beach, joining several other big real estate franchise operations that call Orange County home.

Andrew Cimerman, HomeLife president, said the accessibility and demographics of the county are attractive. "It's a very prosperous area," he said.

Cimerman said his firm is offering franchises at half the price of Century 21 and Coldwell Banker, two other real estate franchisers with county headquarters.

Regional franchises for HomeLife cost $100,000, and individual franchises are $9,000 to $15,000 initially, with a flat monthly fee of $500 to $3,000. Coldwell Banker declined to comment on the new challenger. Century 21 executives could not be reached.

Cimerman said he can beat the opposition's fees because HomeLife is run "very lean at the top." He employs 15 people at the corporate office in Toronto.

The company has been in business for six years and has five regional franchises in Canada, with 5,000 sales agents. Cimerman said he has commitments for six regional franchises in Southern California and Florida and hopes to sell 50 to 55 more in this country, focusing on the relocation market.

He said he knows that this is a bad time for residential real estate but that entering a down market is his style. "We position ourselves when we feel competitors are shrinking operations," he said.

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