An independent real estate broker is a professional who provides services to clients that go beyond those offered by a real estate agent, and functions without having a connection to any type of franchised real estate business. A broker of this type normally has experience as a real estate agent and has obtained additional certification and licensing that makes it possible to provide additional services to clients. An independent real estate broker typically charges fees for his or her services, with the amount of those fees dependent on the exact scope of tasks performed on behalf of the client.
The scope of activities that an independent real estate broker may perform can include all the services that can be obtained from a real estate agent, such as managing listings of properties for sale, arranging showings, and aiding in the preparation of the paperwork required to complete the sale of a piece of real estate. In addition to those tasks, the broker can appraise properties, own and operate some type of real estate firm, and also serve as the manager of other real estate personnel including agents as part of a locally owned firm.
One of the benefits of working as an independent real estate broker is avoiding what can be substantial franchise fees that are paid out when the broker is associated with a real estate franchise rather than operating an independent firm. The range of fees charged by a franchise can begin with application and initiation fees and go on to include costs that have to do with the preparation of branded marketing collateral, promotional items, and even the collection of a percentage of the commission that the broker earns when closing a real estate deal. Independent brokers note that while being associated with a franchise can be helpful in terms of establishing immediate brand name recognition and having a support network, the advantages of this type or working relationship may not always offset the disadvantages, making the decision to go independent all the more attractive.
There is no inherent difference between the quality of expertise offered by an independent real estate broker and a broker who is part of a franchise. Both will have to meet the criteria for certification required in the jurisdictions in which they operate, and both must continue to observe certain codes of conduct in order to maintain their licenses. When considering any independent broker to aid with buying or selling property, always investigate the reputation of that broker, and talk with past clients if possible. Doing so will make it easier to select a broker who is honest and ethical, making the chances of enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship all the better.