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Small Brokers Turn to Heft of National Systems

The new breed of franchisees acknowledges that there’s a cost to joining a national system. But they say they’re viewing royalties as an investment rather than a payment.

(Boonton, NJ, February 9, 2017) — After 15 years as an independent Realtor, Nick Olson thought he’d never join a franchise.

Why pay the fees and relinquish control to an out-of-state company?

But Olson changed his mind. In late 2016, his 21-agent firm in Fargo, ND, became Coldwell Banker Element Realty.

"I was one of those that said, ‘I will stay independent forever,’" Olson says. "But times change."

Olson was among a wave of independent brokers who opted to join national systems in 2016. It’s difficult to say whether the latest wave of franchise affiliations represents a trend or just part of the usual ebb and flow. But brokers in general say they’re under more pressure than ever to invest in technology, training, and other support services for agents.

"The technology piece is huge," Olson says. "The consumer wants more information. For a small company, it’s just not possible to make the investment in technology."

Details on why and how small brokers are aligning with larger companies appears in the February issue of Real Estate Broker’s Insider newsletter.

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