In 1996, Cendant, which was known as HFS Incorporated at the time, formed a National Realty Trust when the company purchased Coldwell Banker Corporation in order to purely remain a franchisor. The initial purpose of the National Realty Trust was to own the nearly 400 brokerage offices that had been acquired in the Coldwell Banker purchase. It was also responsible for continuing to acquire offices and renaming the new companies with one of Cendant's brand names (Coldwell Banker, ERA and Century 21).
In August 1997, Cendant and Apollo Management formed the company that stands today – NRT LLC. The joint venture operation was established because they desired more acquisition growth than a trust could handle. Subsequently, major acquisitions were made in 1997 in both Northern and Southern California as well as expansion in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In 1998, NRT entered new markets in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Minnesota and Washington, D.C. Significant additions to NRT's Florida and New Jersey holdings were also made.
In 2000, NRT set a "real estate industry record, surpassing $100 billion in closed sales volume" and acquired Fred Sands Realtors, a $5 billion company based in Los Angeles. By the end of the year, NRT had acquired over 150 companies.
In 2002, Cendant acquired 100 percent of NRT's common stock and bought out Apollo Management. It was a "$224 million stock deal in which Cendant paid the $166 million that NRT was slated to pay Apollo as part of the original joint venture agreement." NRT incorporated itself within Cendant, operating within its Real Estate Services division. By year end, it had acquired the largest independent real estate firms in Florida and the New England area. NRT's corporate headquarters relocated from Mission Viejo, California, to the NRT Home Office in Parsippany, New Jersey.[clarification needed]