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.


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 a password.

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


Residential Franchise Report (REALTOR® Magazine, 2017)

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)

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

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

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)

What Does the Research Say?

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 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.

Creating An Independent Income In Real Estate! (eBook)

Free Agent Nation (eBook)

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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