It seems like boutique real estate companies are taking over the real estate market. As time goes by more and more buyers and sellers are realizing that the brokerage firm name just doesn't matter. Even smarter people are realizing the benefit of smaller and boutique real estate companies. In this day and age the most important thing for your agent to be is smart and in tune with modern technology. Many large real estate firms are actually holding agents back when it comes to technology. Agents are required to pay for and use the franchise software. There is a great amount of limitation on this since it isn't tailored to a specific market and when it comes to technology, one size does not fit all.
When it comes to real estate listings it is much more beneficial to use a local smaller brand. One main reason is that large franchises just nickle and dime their poor brokers. The reason this is important to sellers is that all real estate agents are independent agents. This means every penny they spend for marketing, franchise fees, brokerage fees and so on come out of their pocket. What it comes down to is if they are paying huge franchise fees this leaves less money to market a seller's listing. A smaller firm leaves more money in the account of the agent so they can use that money to market the seller's home.
Another thing to consider is that there has never (at least almost never) been a buyer that passed up their dream home because of the name of the sign in the yard. On the flip side now buyer has ever bought a house that didn't suit their needs just because of the name on the sign in the yard. No on cares what firm a broker works for they only care about the home and if their agent is a good agent.
When choosing your real estate company be sure to know that all agents work independently from the brokerage firm and the franchise means nothing. There are good and bad agents in every firm, big or small.