Franchises vs. Independents


Most REALTORS® are likely to be affiliated with an independent, non-franchised company. The decision to join a franchise or an independent firm can be difficult. There are pros and cons to each.


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Firm Affiliation of REALTORS®

  • 51% of REALTORS® are affiliated with an independent, non-franchised company.
  • While brokers and broker associates (56%) are most often affiliated with an independent, non-franchised company, sales agents (48%) are more evenly split between independent non-franchised and franchised companies.
  • Less REALTORS® reported an affiliation with a franchised company (43%) than with an independent company (51%).

Source: 2017 National Association of REALTORS Member Profile , chapter 4


Franchise vs Independent , (Real Estate Business, Mar. 9, 2016).

Brokers on the Move?, (Central Penn Business Journal, Aug. 7, 2015). E

The Future of the Franchise, (REALTOR® Magazine, July 2015).

2015 Residential Franchise Report, (REALTOR® Magazine, 2015).

2013 Franchise Report: What They Offer, (REALTOR® Magazine, July/Aug. 2013).

Employee or Independent Contractor?, (Realty Times, Feb 13 2012).

2011 Franchise Report: What's in a Name? (REALTOR® Magazine, June 2011).

Franchise can help you afford retirement (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Sept. 24, 2011).

10 Reasons to Purchase a Franchise (Entrepreneur, Sept. 24, 2009).

Favoring Franchises (National Real Estate Investor, June 1, 2009).

2007 Franchise Report: Affiliation up (REALTOR® Magazine, Sept. 2007).

Merge, Die or Thrive? (National Real Estate Investor, Apr. 1, 2007).

Top 10 reasons for buying a franchise (Entrepreneur, Dec. 2007).

Frequently asked questions about franchising (Franchising World, June 2005).  E

Advantages & challenges of franchising (Franchising World, June 2005). E

...or Independents?

Former Exit More agents open independent brokerage , (Watertown Daily Times, Aug. 29, 2016). E

A Growing Independence, (Journal of Business, Jun. 5, 2014). E

Independent Contractor Status in Real Estate - 2015 White Paper, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2015).

Decline of the Independent Broker-Dealer, (Investopedia, May 6,2013).

Leaving a real estate franchise to become an independent broker (AGBeat, Feb. 5, 2012).  

Independent real-estate agents skip trend to join corporate franchises (Chicago Business, Jun. 28, 2010).

Merger of independents bucks buyout trend (Realty Times, Feb. 5, 2007).

What Does the Research Say?

The shift toward independent brokerages [Special Report], (Inman, Jan. 5, 2015).

Choosing a Real Estate Office, Part 2: Franchise vs. Independent, (Placester, June 26, 2013).

5 Keys to Choosing the Right Real Estate Office, (Placester, June 19, 2013).

Franchising in residential brokerage (Journal of Real Estate Research, 2006). E

Useful Websites

Buying a Franchise: A Consumer Guide (Federal Trade Commission, Feb. 2008).

eBooks & Other Resources

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. 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 Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Creating An Independent Income In Real Estate! (Adobe eReader)

Free Agent Nation, (Adobe eReader)

Real Estate Confronts the Future (Mason, OH: South-Western, 2005). HD 1375 SWCR

Business lessons for entrepreneurs: 35 things I learned before the age of thirty (Mason, OH: South-Western, 2003). HD 2346 C89

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