Independent Real Estate Agent or National Agency?

Who is Really Selling Your Home?

independent real estate agent
Real Estate Agent Brisbane

The long held debate over who is the better agent; the boutique independent real estate agent or the national franchise agency has come to life once again following this week’s chain of events for me.

I like to describe the business of real estate similar to that of waves rolling in with an incoming and outgoing tide. Some weeks are busy, whilst others are quiet. Whilst one week can be filled with meeting sellers, the next can be consumed with educating buyers.

For me, the week that has been could certainly be described as an educational week.

Enjoying many years in the real estate industry has been an education in itself, one in which I now pass on the learnings of my years to the buyers and sellers I meet from day to day, week to week.

You see, when the time comes to sell your home or investment property, so too comes the very difficult decision in choosing the right real estate agent. With so many real estate agents all fighting for the business of sellers, how on earth do you know who is right to represent you? Despite many other factors that should be considered, one thing that often comes to mind for a seller is the decision to choose whether to list with a big agency (often a franchise) or an independent agent.

There has long been debate between rival real estate companies on who is better equipped to manage a sale and achieve better results for the client.

The feedback I recently received from Sellers involved in selling property that is part of a family estate was that of relief and excitement. The advice I was able to give these Sellers to better prepare them for the process ahead was obviously well received. Although they are mentally ready to sell with me now, they are following up on some suggestions of a legal nature to ensure all family member’s needs are met, and protected.

My discussions with these sellers also triggered the commonly debated real estate question of who is a better selling agent – an independent or a franchise?independent real estate agents

In my opinion, it is both and neither.


After dealing with literally hundreds of buyers and sellers throughout my real estate career the one thing that keeps coming up amongst the conversation is it’s not the agency, but the agent who seals the deal.

In other words, sellers, and even buyers for that matter are gravitating toward the individual sales person when making their property decisions and basically ignoring which brand or agency the salesperson is working for. It is about how they feel they are being treated during this somewhat pressured time.

With this in mind, sellers should always be considering the skill, experience and rapport they build with the individual salesperson rather than making assumptive decisions based on the real estate brand.

There are always arguments for both.

Of course, many could argue the pros and cons against each agency but at the end of the day when the deal is being done between buyer, seller and agent, does the real estate brand or agency really play a deciding role in the end result for the parties?
The rise of the internet has certainly leveled the playing field in the real estate industry, especially for independent agents who now have access to the property marketing giants like, and the various property publications that do their rounds throughout Brisbane.

Working as an independent real estate agent for more than a decade, of course I am biased in my opinion, but here’s three reasons for sellers to consider when making their choice.

1. Independent Real Estate Agents cannot hide behind a big name.

The decisions an independent agent makes will have direct repercussions on the final outcome of her work with clients. In other words, she is directly accountable. An independent agent cannot hide behind the name of a company which had probably built its brand before she was even born. Companies with an established brand can weather controversy because of the solid reputation they have built throughout the years, whereas an independent’s career can be destroyed in an instant with even just a minor complaint from a client. Independent agents typically work with greater focus and purpose because while the rewards are great so too are the risks and mistakes will have far-reaching consequences.

2. Reputation and Referrals are their life-blood.

Over deliver and under promise is the quiet chant of the independent. The lure of becoming an Independent Agent often stems from an inner drive to be the controller of your own destiny. For me, the idea of building a brand and having the power to instantly call the shots without the typical office politics so my clients are better served is what drives me to go it alone. However building a brand and reputation takes time and often a large marketing budget that small businesses simply don’t have. Therefore independent agents rely heavily on referral and repeat business. Reputation and referrals go hand-in-hand. If an Independent Agent has established a solid reputation in the industry, she will consistently receive referrals from buyers and sellers in the market. Therefore, it will be to the Independent Agent’s best interest to outperform the competition and deliver better than expected results to her clients. Under deliver and over promise is often the driving force of an independent.

3. Accountability is higher as they are the owners of the business.

As an entrepreneur, I am a risk-taker. I like to be in the driver’s seat and navigate my business through this journey to real estate success. As the owner and principal licensee of an agency, I accept responsibility for everything that happens in the course of business and I am accountable for all decisions made. In other words, the success of the business relies entirely on me.

Agency owners are more deliberate, strategic and focused when managing their office. When I talk to clients, the feedback is more genuine because I sincerely appreciate their decision to choose my agency over others and value these not just as votes of confidence but also as great opportunities to take my business further.

Thus, I work with greater and clearer purpose so I can fulfill my vision for the company, my people, my clients and for myself.
We independents don’t just work harder; we work smarter and with greater purpose whilst always, always putting the client first.

Despite the marketing pull of the brands, negotiation is the key to real estate success.

But in saying this, negotiation is probably one of the largest deal making or breaking elements of the sales process and if the agent you appoint has no idea on how to negotiate, your chances of a great result are slim to none, regardless of which real estate office they come from.

If Barb Johnston worked under the LJ Hooker brand or the FineLife Property brand or the Ray White brand, I guarantee it wouldn’t make a difference to the experience the client had. It would always be a good one regardless because of my personal experiences and standards as a professional in the industry. Being an independent just means there’s less restrictions.

Sellers should be asking which agent, not which agency.

To sum it all up, feedback has always suggested that clients follow people, not companies and for this reason it would be safe to say that the real decision for sellers to make when listing their homes is, which agent do I choose, not which agency.

Are you looking to sell your home? Have a look at our Selling Your Home Checklist

Telephone: Call Barb on 0412 765 041


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