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 the member's nar.realtor login.

Firm Affiliation of REALTORS®

  • 53% of REALTORS® are affiliated with an independent, non-franchised company.
  • While brokers and broker associates (57%) are most often affiliated with an independent, non-franchised company, sales agents are split more evenly with 50% belonging to an independent company, 45% belonging to a franchised company, and 5% reported as “other.”
  • Less REALTORS® reported an affiliation with a franchised company (42%) than with an independent company (53%).

Source: National Association of REALTORS® 2019 Member Profile

Franchises: The Basics

The Franchise Life (REALTOR® Magazine, September – October 2019)

2019 Residential Franchise Report (REALTOR® Magazine, Sep. 4, 2019)

REALTORS® Find a Better Model to Sell Homes (Business Observer, Jul. 5, 2019)

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Franchise (Forbes, Feb. 27, 2019)

Independents: The Basics

Do Independent Real Estate Brokers Need an Office? (The Balance, Dec. 6, 2019)

Less Hassle, More Creativity: The Independent Broker Advantage (RISMedia, Oct. 9, 2019)

A Real Estate Office on Wheels (REALTOR® Magazine, Sep. 6, 2019)

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

Franchise or Independent: How to Choose?

Pros and Cons of Buying a Franchise (The Balance, Sep. 28, 2019)

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

Indie vs. Franchise: Which Brokerage is Best for You? (PNC, Aug. 14, 2019)

The Real Trends 500: Ranking the Top Brokerages in the U.S. (REAL Trends, Mar. 27, 2019)

Choosing the Type of Real Estate Company to Work For (RISMedia – Real Estate Express, Mar. 8, 2019)

To Franchise or Not to Franchise? That is the Question (RISMedia, Dec. 12, 2018)

Pros and Cons of Independent vs Franchise Brokers (Sold.com, Aug. 7, 2018)

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.

Consultant & Independent Contractor Agreements (eBook)

Creating An Independent Income In Real Estate! (eBook)

Free Agent Nation (eBook)

Real Estate Confronts the Future (Thompson South-Western in association with RealSure, Inc., 2005) HD 1375 SWCR

Business Lessons for Entrepreneurs: 35 Things I Learned Before the Age of Thirty (Thompson South-Western in association with RealSure, Inc., 2003) HD 2346 C89

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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.


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