So you’ve struck out on your own: You’re following your dreams and controlling your destiny by starting your own brokerage. Now it’s time to set up healthy systems and routines, develop consistent and effective branding, and find strategies for generating company leads. You will also find resources for staying up-to-date on the legalities of running a brokerage, tips for hiring and recruiting, and ways to keep your finance in check.  Learn how to develop office policies that speak to the culture you’re building, find out how other brokers overcame some of their toughest problems while starting a new business, and get advice on everything from advertising on social media to establishing a wellness program.


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.

From the REALTOR® Store

Real Estate Brokerage Essentials® - Real Estate Brokerage Essentials®: Navigating Legal Risks and Managing a Successful Brokerage, Fourth Edition is the most comprehensive business tool for brokers to run their offices efficiently and minimize their risk for legal liability. This is a must have for all Brokers! (Item 126-359)

Real Estate Office Management - Based on the S-7 Management model, this indispensable resource explores the seven interdependent variables for managing a successful brokerage office, with emphasis on planning, capital, marketing, and people. (Item 141-341)

Striking Out on Your Own

How to Start a Real Estate Business in 2021 (AZ Big Media, Jan. 11, 2021)

How to Start a Real Estate Brokerage in 2020 (Without Going Broke) (The Close, Jun. 24, 2020)

How to Plan, Start, & Grow a Real Estate Business: 22 Essential Tips (HubSpot, Apr. 15, 2020)

Alternative Real Estate Business Model (The Balance, Nov. 20, 2019)

How to Start a Real Estate Brokerage (Placester, Sep. 17, 2019)

The ABCs of Opening Your Own Brokerage (REALTOR® Magazine, Jun. 26, 2019)

How to Open a Real Estate Brokerage (WikiHow, Mar. 29, 2019)

Creating a Business Plan and Choosing a Brokerage Model

Infographic: Establishing Your Business

Alternative Real Estate Business Models (The Balance, Jan. 7, 2019)

Real Estate Broker Business Plan (Erica Ramus, Dec. 21, 2018)

These Full-Service Agents are Saving Home Sellers Thousands (Philly Voice, Dec. 11, 2018)

Why This Brokerage is Offering a Salary and Benefits to All Agents (Real Estate Express, Aug. 28, 2018)

The Profile of a Successful Brokerage in the Future of Real Estate (Forbes, Aug. 10, 2018)

Develop a Business Plan That Propels Your Entrepreneurial Success (Investors Business Daily, July 17, 2018) E

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Real Estate Business Plan + Free Template (Placester)

Starting Out in Real Estate: Franchise, Independent Firm or Solo? (Intuit Quickbooks)

Write Your Business Plan (Small Business Administration)

Business Plan Preparation (Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado)

Useful Websites

U.S. Small Business Administration — This website should be the first stop for anyone wanting to start a business. Topics covered include startup basics, writing a business plan, financing, marketing, employment, and tax topics. This site also has special areas for women business owners, veterans, minorities, Native Americans and young entrepreneurs. You can also find a local SBA office for further assistance.

SCORE Association — As "Counselors to America's Small Business," SCORE provides counseling for would-be entrepreneurs through email and confidential one-to-one meetings. 389 chapter offices provide this free service. SCORE's website offers free e-newsletters, online articles, quizzes, tips and a business toolbox.

Entrepreneur Magazine — From choosing a business structure to naming your business, this website highlights the nitty-gritty basics of business star-ups. How-to guides, online newsletters and a resource center of articles provide helpful information for your start-up.

Inc.com — Inc.'s website provides information on starting, growing, and leading your business.

America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) — America’s SBDC represents America’s nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) – the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States and its territories. There are nearly 1,000 local centers available to provide no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses. Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can go to their local SBDCs for FREE face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training on a variety of topics.

Minority Business Development Agency - MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that promotes the growth of minority-owned businesses through the mobilization and advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research.

National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) — NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries; and with chapters across the country. With far-reaching clout and impact, NAWBO is a one-stop resource to propelling women business owners into greater economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide.

Books, eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

18 Steps for Starting Your Business (Kindle, eBook)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting Your Own Business (eBook)

Start a New Real Estate Brokerage, Economically! (Kindle, eBook)

Starting a Business for Dummies (Kindle, eBook)

Your First Business Plan (Kindle, eBook)

The Accidental Startup (eBook)

Business Plans Kit for Dummies (eBook)

Business Plans That Work: A Guide for Small Business (Kindle, eBook)

How to Write a Business Plan (eBook)

The Real Estate Entrepreneur: Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Own Brokerage (Kindle, eBook)

Write Your Business Plan (Kindle, eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Broker to Broker: Management Lessons (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2006) HF 5500 F87b

Real Estate Brokerage: A Management Guide (Chicago: Dearborn, 2004) HF 1375 C99 Ed. 6

Real Estate Brokerage Essentials: Managing Legal and Business Issues (Chicago: National Association of REALTORS®, 2006) HD 1386 N21

Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.

The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.


Common Brokerage Models

This infographic shows common brokerage models, compensation structures, and other details of brokerage firms.