Nineteen independent real estate brokers in Prince George's County and Southern Maryland have joined forces to compete against franchises and other nationally affiliated firms.

The group, Certified Associates in Real Estate (CARE), is set up as a nonprofit association designed "to help all of us remain independent and healthy without going the franchise route," said CARE member Kenneth Woodring, president of PGP Realtors.

Realtors Larry Eul, Stan Rdgeway and Maureen Earp came up with the idea for the association, which hired James Bugg as executive. Bugg formerly was active in the Century 21 and Realty World franchise organizations. More recently he founded and then sold out his interest in a Partners franchise. Bugg said CARE has plans for similar groups in other metro areas.

The CARE group charges firms $1,000 to join the association, 2 percent of gross commissions for advertising and a 1 percent to cover administrative expenses.

Woodring said the goal is to have about 100 members in the Washington area. Bugg said organizational work is under way in Montgomery County and will move into Virginia to attract relatively small non-affiliated independent brokers.

More that 200 realty firms here are believed to affiliated with national franchises. Several multi-office firms are now owned by Merrill Lynch Real Estate and Coldwell Banker.

Current CARE members are Carrollton Realty, Harloff & Perkins, Donald & Associates, Earp & Associates, Larry Eul Realty, Flagg Real Estate, Jim Hall Real Estate, Joe R. McCray Enterprises, McNair Realty, Marchese & Graves, PGP Realtors, Stan Ridgeway, The Real Estate Source Inc., New Address Realty Inc., Jackson Real Estate, J. A. Duley Real Estate, Kitty Wable, Oxford Realty and Jim Kelleher.