Not many real estate agents spend their entire career at the same brokerage, and with recruiting rampant in most markets, companies are competing for market share and will go pretty far to increase their headcount. You’ve heard the stories: big signing bonuses, marketing budgets, free laptops and assistants, bright + shiny beta tech. Deciding whether to change brokerages?
Real estate professionals really only have a small handful of reasons why they choose to jump from ship to ship, and not a lot to anchor them onboard, no matter the business model or the offering.
If you’re thinking about making a move, take a hot second to think about your why:
- Promises, promises. Brokerages that are dependent on a constant flow of agents to keep their pipelines flowing are apt to make a lot of promises — whether it be company-provided client introductions (leads), pain-free transactions, various assortments of marketing campaigns and collateral, or the biggest one — technology. Technology that promises to sell houses for you, because that’s the dream, right? To sell houses without having to actually sell houses?
- Greener grass. When you’re not selling as many properties as you thought you would, or when it seems like your friends at XYZ and 123 Real Estate are growing their production more quickly than you are, it’s easy to assume that there’s something magical in the water across town and that if you drink from that same fountain your business will magically grow, too.
- Discounted fees. There’s something to be said about keeping more of your money, and if you’re a lone-wolf type of real estate professional who only comes into the office to turn in closing checks, doesn’t show up for classes or social opportunities, never bothered to figure out how to login to the company-provided tools, doesn’t need much supervision or guidance, and, frankly, doesn’t even like other real estate agents that much, then a flat rate or discount model might be a better fit for your real estate business. That may be a reason for changing real estate brokerages.
- Resistance to inertia. Inertia sets in for agents after four to seven years with a brokerage. Agents who are afraid of becoming complacent, bored with what their brokerage has to offer or hit a plateau in their growth often think that changing real estate brokerages is the answer — and sometimes it is. Agents sometimes experience a nice bump in business if they move after languishing in the same space for a while. But, it’s probably not because the tools or office are a better fit. It’s likely because motion creates forward motion.
It’s a weird time to be in the business of selling real estate, isn’t it? With super-low interest rates and a cycle of incredibly low inventory and high demand, it’s difficult to feel solid on this footing.
There are also new elements that we’re all trying to get a grasp on: iBuying programs entering markets and scooping up market share, and industry “disruptors” like “the billion-dollar-backed newbies” and “the MLMs of virtual brokerages” recruiting with an almost starved frenzy. If they’re targeting you as an agent, it can be almost impossible to avoid the distractions.
If you are thinking about changing real estate brokerages, take a deep breath and ask yourself the following questions:
- Why did I decide to join my current brokerage, and are they delivering on their promises?
- What is this agency offering me that I’m not already getting at my current brokerage?
- Is this a switch that will make me happy and help me maintain/grow my business for the next four to seven years?
- Do I have the time and money to make the switch right now in given my current pipeline?
- If I switch because it’s cheaper/a lower split, will I still have everything that I need to run my real estate business the way I have been? If I switch to a more expensive brokerage because they are offering more than I currently get, what will the ROI be on that difference in investment?
Still think it’s the right time to make a move? Evaluate several brokerages that you admire. Here are a few things to consider:
+ Does the branding + marketing resonate with you? Are you excited about it?
+ Do they offer the variety/frequency of education/training/coaching/supervision that you need right now in your sales career?
+ Does the business model (splits, monthly fees, etc) make sense for YOUR business model?
+ Does their tech stack line up with the way you like to work?
+ Do you like the way the office feels? Would you feel comfortable walking in and working, and also bringing clients there?
+ Will you use the things that you’ll be paying for?
+ Are there extra costs to consider (i.e. franchise fees, annual charges, hard costs for products + services like signs/business/cards/marketing collateral, mentor or coaching splits, etc.)
Before you start making the rounds, create a spreadsheet so that you can compare the different offerings side-by-side, and don’t be afraid to go to the meeting prepared with a list of questions and concerns. Be sure to take notes during the interview. There will be a lot of information, and it’s important to make an informed and well thought-out decision so that you can avoid bouncing again anytime soon!