Over the years, Inman has published a series of stories on indie brokers, including surveys and reports on their DNA, their operations and their strategies. We have profiled a variety of companies and their founders and put the best ones on stage to share their successes.

The characteristics below represent the ideal makeup of a successful indie broker. Many of the fastest-growing indie brokers built their business in and around the Inman community, adopting things first introduced at Inman Connect conferences and building their networks with other fast-growing indie brokers.

Realize the value of like-minded brokerages and network with the nation’s best indies at the Indie Broker Summit in San Francisco August 7, 2017.

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Higher margins, low overhead

Successful indie brokers can live with less office space because they’ve adopted open floor plans and utilize flexible working spaces where agents aren’t tied down to a desk. This in combination with smart technology, cloud storage, paperless transaction tools, virtual meetings and assistants — and ever improving communication tools like Slack — does much to keep margins high and overhead down.

Did we mention no franchise fees?

Fast moving

Without the baggage of a hierarchical org, rigid rules and internal politics, an indie broker is able to optimize, move fast and take advantage of technology and market trends. It is important for an indie broker to maintain a flat org and tech forward approach — fast and nimble is the name of the game for many indie brokers.


Indies are often more flexible with their plans and their systems, without compromising accountability, service delivery standards and agent and consumer expectations.

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Smart indie brokers have technology built into their DNA and are able to sort through what technologies to adopt, how to partner and where to double-down on a tech advantage.


Many indie brokers were birthed out of the Great Recession in the late 2000s, so they know how to handle bad markets. They are driven less by legacy thinking, they avoid industry politics, and they have no fear of new technology and new entrants. Their impulse is to partner, not fight.

Push the envelope

Since many indies are new to the scene, they empower ideation and an “always be improving” mentality. They understand the value of testing, trying new approaches and moving decisively on whether innovations work or not.

Attracting top new agents

Driven by a culture of collaboration, social giving and independence, indie brokers are successfully recruiting the next generation of top agents.

Flat organization

Many indie brokers have flat organizational structures, and therefore they avoid the dangers of a top-down approach. The spirit of collaborations goes along with new agents and younger millennials who work with the broker owners to drive business success.

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Diversity as an asset

Often indie brokers embrace diversity as a powerful weapon to enter new markets. Indie brokers realize the value of serving a diverse set of clients with a diverse workforce. Bringing differing ideologies, approaches and outlooks only strengthens the culture at an indie brokerage.

Social giving

Indie brokers emphasize social giving and being champions for the community in which they serve. Social giving programs are central to culture and business objectives.

Email Brad Inman

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