Why We Remain an Independent Brokerage

Real Estate Broker/Owner with J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY License # 49FA1074963

Sold by J Philip Real EstateLet me preface my words clearly that I have no beef with franchises and treasure my many colleagues at other firms, large, small, independent and corporate. Everyone should hitch their trailer to the train that they feel best about. 

My choice is that of an independent broker with no franchise or corporate affiliations because that is right for me.  I am approached from time to time about merging with a franchise, but I don't think that's a fit for me. Many of the agents with our firm were at one time with a franchise. We were a better match. We also have parted ways with a small number of licensees who sought greener pastures at a franchise. That worked for them. 

The reasons for my choice have always been personal, and I have resisted writing or explaining them because I don't want anyone to think I am knocking franchises; I would never do so. However, since I have just spent 2 paragraphs disclaiming any bias, I'll explain why I remain an indie. 

First, I dig building my brand. It is what inspires me. I have always felt that you either build your own dream or work for someone else's. This is mine. It matters that the name on the sign is mine. I am proud of what I have built over the past 7 years in a tough market period and a competitive area. Everyone who knows me knows what kind of a guy I am to do business with and what kind of an operation I run. When an agent joins our firm, they know they may not be expected to sell a billion dollars a month, but they are expected to be honorable above all else. And I am humbled by the group of people we have now. 

Second, I greatly value my autonomy. I never lose a moment of sleep over what a coporate entity might say about my blog posts, my methodology, or my policies. I never have to ask for permission to explore a new plan or idea. I am completely comfortable with my destiny being in my own hands- as a matter of fact, I prefer it that way. This is my masterpiece, my laboratory, and my legacy to my children. It is mine. After working 17 years for others, I am still jazzed that I work for me. It hasn't always been easy, but it has been worth it. 

I also believe that independent firms are needed. It would be a loss if every brokerage just sort of graduated into a larger franchise  and all we had was a big-box driven market. Independent firms make a difference for both the consumer and for innovation, because we offer a choice and a fertile ground for the kind of innovation that only competition can create. I love being on the front line of that effort. 

This is highly personal, and I am sure that someone could write a very compelling reason why they are happy to be at their franchise now and forever. That's cool. It is what makes the world go 'round. To each their own, but that is why J Philip Real Estate remains an independent brokerage. 



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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Some of us are simply not cut out to take orders or seek permissions. To thrive, we HAVE to be independent.

Jan 23, 2012 04:07 PM #12
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Phil, 9 years ago I started with a small brokerage which grew to have #1 market share in the county I work. It also has sold many franchises around the nation and went International.  What once worked for me just does not fit today.  I’m definitely of an independent broker mindset today. 

Jan 23, 2012 04:20 PM #13
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

J Philip -- Isn't it great that there is opportunity to choose?  As Dick Greenberg wrote in his comment --- what works best for us today may change at a later date and we can choose to pursue a different business model.   

Jan 23, 2012 05:14 PM #14
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo & Home Sale Specialists

Phil, The best move we've made was leaving the "Corporate America" franchise. We are independent Realtors and had enough of "big brother" telling us how to run our business!

Jan 23, 2012 10:46 PM #15
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Phil, I've said it before, if I were in your area I'd be happy to work for you!  We're at a big box place, but that's what fits our needs here.  The broker makes all the difference to us where we will and won't work.  We're not looking to become a broker ourselves, as long as I've got the day job it's just not a viable path.  To a smaller scale we're building our own brand and fortunately our brokerage does give us signficant independence to do so.  If we had someone telling us you can't blog this, and you can't do that....well I'd have to seriously consider a move to more freedom.  Bill

Jan 23, 2012 10:47 PM #16
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

We have the same mentality and the approach to this subject. . I also think that control is important. I was the owner of a market center with 92 agents before. . and half of each day was dedicated to putting off little fires. .with lots of drama.. . and the return of time invested was ridiculous. .

Now I run a mean lean brokerage with growth every year. . 

Jan 23, 2012 10:49 PM #17
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

You voluntary, free-marketeer, capitalist you.  I bet you are trying to earn profits too! 

What you are trying to do is benefit yourself, and have fun doing it. 

See my blog today...

Jan 23, 2012 11:04 PM #18
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Always a pleasure Phil to see your perspective! How bout them Giants!

Jan 23, 2012 11:39 PM #19
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

There is definitely a need for all flavors of real estate ice cream - whether that is a cog in the wheel of a franchise, an owner of an independent firm, a broker of a franchise, etc.  (OK, the ice cream has nothing to do with anything, but I'm hungry).  I think the autonomy factor is huge!

Jan 23, 2012 11:40 PM #20
Surprise Arizona Realtor Jim Braun Sun City Grand Active Adult Communities
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Jim Braun Sun City Grand Az - Surprise, AZ
Surprise AZ real estate Phoenix West Valley

I work for a very successful independent in the Phoenix West Valley and am very proud to be working for an independent. If I need to talk to the man I call his cell phone and I get answers. Be proud and stand tall!

Jan 24, 2012 12:00 AM #21
Bob Stewart
ActiveRain - Seattle, WA
ActiveRain Ambassador


Can I ask why you chose to go with your name as the company name? You are very bright, so I imagine that when you were doing this you made a conscious decision to do it that way.

The reason I ask is I wonder about the potential to sell your business down the road. I see a lot of agents build a team or a small brokerage that use their name and I always wonder if it would have been more flexible to have a name that didn't match their personal name.

This is something my wife and I will have to deal with eventually. Her mom runs their team and the team is branded 'The Missy Caulk Team'. At some point, when Missy retires and Christa takes over the business, we will have this issue of what to do now that Missy Caulk is no longer there.........any thoughts on that?

I realize many companies keep the founders name after that person moves on (either retirement, death, whatever) but was just curious if you'd thought much about it.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Jan 24, 2012 10:55 AM #22
Rich Cederberg
eXp Realty - Albuquerque, NM
eXp Realty Agent Albuquerque

Phil, you articulated this so perfectly. It really doesn't matter which option you choose. You do the thing you are most passionate about and it is clear from this post where your passion is.  

Jan 24, 2012 11:19 AM #23
Peggy Wester
Realty Executives Integrity - Grafton, WI
Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County

This, perhaps, is the most well written post I've seen yet. Eloquent, sincere, humble, honest. I just wish you and your agents the best in this and the years ahead.

Jan 24, 2012 12:37 PM #24
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


You have articulated your beliefs and feelings so well, and why shouldn't you. I think we each have to follow the path we are comfortable with, recognizing that may change over time. I think Bob raises an excellent question - but I know several independents who use their name rather than some brand. What do you think?


Jan 24, 2012 03:22 PM #25
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

We love dancing to our own tune with our own brokerage.  You've stated the reasons beautifully.  To each their own for sure.  In our area, pretty much the brokerages still left standing are the independents and one big box.  Congratulations on continued success.

Jan 24, 2012 03:49 PM #26
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

There was also a recentl article/blog about how many of the biggere agencies/franchises may soon find that their new competitor is one of their $100,000 income agents setting up on his own. THe tools available to all on the internet today allow us to be independent if we so wish.  Good explanation of your reasons after i heard a yoiunger broker explain to me last night all the reasons why he is with a franchise. Two well balanced explanantions, allowing me to make my own decision when I am ready.

Jan 25, 2012 09:21 AM #27
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Phil I too can relate to your point of view; having worked for large franchises I was at the point where I wanted to make decision without corporate looking over my shoulder.  Love being independent and building my brand.

Jan 25, 2012 11:50 AM #28
Gwynn Carpenter
Gwynn Teal Carpenter-Broker: Home and Hearth Realty (Austin) - Austin, TX
: Broker, Home & Hearth Realty (512)467-6191

J. Philip:  I am a small firm....I've been with a larger independent firm and find what attracted me was how much more personable this type of firm was than a big "box".  I like being the "boss", making the decisions! 

Jan 27, 2012 01:08 PM #29
Laura Filip
RE/MAX UTOPIA , Serving all of Texoma - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Build your DREAM or work for someone else.... how fitting of a way to put this.... I am doing just that living my dream Wow it is great we work long hours but it is worth it every minute of it. We are working on findinga good assistant right now one that would like to work and see the value in what we are trying and have built for ourselves... Independant and loving it and who is to say that we will not be the next RE/MAX OR EBBY ... how about KW you never know do you... Hard work takes us to places we only dreamed of....

Jan 29, 2012 10:59 AM #30
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY


Well, "Faranda Real Estate" doesn't quite have the ring to it that J Philip does- that factored in. 

The short answer is that I never intend to sell. Once the brand is the brand, my dream is that my children will run it if they choose to. However, if they choose not to and someday it is a salable enterprice, if we have brand recognition then we've succeeded no matter what the name is. I might write a post on that someday. 

Jan 29, 2012 03:02 PM #31
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