Do you remember the day you became an agent? I wish I could, but the day itself was nothing more than a standard step in the path to being independent, helping others pursue their dreams while simultaneously pursuing my own. What I do remember, however, is the path I took in order to determine the brokerage I would hang my license at.
I clearly remember choosing a brokerage based on the lead structure that they had in place to help their agents gain business and the office structure to support their agents. I chose a location that I felt was right for me, and I’ve never regretted that. As the years passed, however, I found that what I wanted from my brokerage and what my brokerage wanted from me grew to be two very different things. I wanted autonomy, a chance to do business my way, and while I didn’t outgrow the company I didn’t have a very different concept of how I wanted to be as an agent.
Brokerages mean something different to each agent. How many agents here even have a desk at their brokers office anymore? The digital age has meant that some brokers don’t even have a formal office, and the broker is nothing more than a person who holds your license. My questions to the Agent Genius community are this:
- What does your broker offer you that you find the most value in?
- What do you find to be of little to no value that you see other brokerages offering?
- Why did you choose one brokerage over another?
When I define my needs as an agent it is a completely different list from a few years ago. While training is still important to me (we never stop learning), in-house brokerage training was a value-added proposition that no longer held value. I find greater value in the REBarcamps and sessions from experts that I admire and want to learn from.
I’ve found that as my business grows I rely less on leads that my broker gives me and more on the leads I gain from my own sphere of influence, and it’s far more profitable to boot! My current office provides me with free desk space, and although it’s not necessary, I like the idea of having an anchored location to work from and meet clients at rather than setting up all of my appointments at the local Starbucks. If my office charged for desk space, I’d probably pay for it.
I chose my current brokerage from the independence and autonomy that they allow me over how I market and promote myself. The freedom from required “desk duty” that some brokerages mandate was also a big factor. I need my time spent prospecting and meeting clients, not answering the company phone and waiting for walk-ins.
There’s no right or wrong answer here (obviously), so share your experiences and tell us what matters to you!
Photo Courtesy of TheTruthAbout… via Flickr cc
August 5, 2010 at 7:13 am
1. A level playing field. The KW Cap systems – implemented correctly, kills drama, is fair, and gives everyone the opportunity to earn more than 100% in compensation. Owners giving back up to 48% of the profits is incredible – agents’ reactions on the 21st of the month even more so.
2. Co-op on print media advertising or billboards.
3. The culture – “Faith, Family, Business,” oh, and see my answer to #1.
Navy Chief, Navy Pride
August 5, 2010 at 7:18 am
I like the low cost-no fee model. It allows us to invest more into staging and tools which help to better serve our clients. This provides them with what is hopefully a great service experience and they are more than happy to refer us. Since we work 100% by referral, we lean more on our personal reputation as opposed to a brokerage’s.
Jason Improta - Calabasas Homes for Sale
August 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm
We started with a brokerage that allowed us more autonomy. We certainly didn’t have many clients that chose us for the brokerage (even though it is one of the largest). We recently moved markets and switched to a more traditional one with a reputation in the community (and the world). It takes a higher percentage of our commissions but offers so much more in the way of support and this particular franchise has an office culture that I have never experienced. It was an obvious choice for us.
August 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm
The question we have to ask is – do customers choose an agent/broker because of the qualities of the person, or the prestige of their brokerage?
I personally think it’s the former, and that’s why I opened my own boutique brokerage. (I videoblogged about my thoughts here:)
In my opinion, starting out an agent may choose a brokerage based a different set of criteria than an experienced one – perhaps close proximity to home, or a good coaching program. However, once you build a reputation for yourself, you probably find your de facto office becomes the local Starbucks and your cellphone becomes your point of contact rather than the office receptionist.
August 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm
Having the broker’s FULL support of you.
An office support staff to hand admin tasks.
A good lead generation system for the agents.
August 5, 2010 at 7:49 pm
For me when I was out looking for a Brokerage to join there were several where I could have had a higher split starting off…a significantly higher split. However those other companies that offered me a higher split didn’t really have a training program. I decided right on that the most important thing to me was making sure the job was done right which is why I chose the Brokerage I did. My broker is their to back me up 100% and has had a great training program from the beginning which lasted about a month and then you get ongoing support and classes on and off as well to constantly educate you more beyond the continuing education credits needed to keep your license.
August 6, 2010 at 1:24 am
1. An atmosphere that I’d want to be in each day. One of teamwork and respect and fun. An atmosphere that would allow me to seek a profitable business while holding to my values.
2. Training. Not how to write a contract or how to take better photos training, but how to generate leads, how to schedule and time block, how to create a business plan, how to build a team, how to build an exit strategy, etc. Basically, how to run a business rather than have a job.
3. A nationally recognized name that brings instant credibility…BUT…a name that is secondary to my own name. I didn’t want to be dependent on my brokerage and branded as an agent of my brokerage. I wanted to be totally independent and have my brand be paramount, with my brokerage simply in the background.
4. Tools. Give me the tools I need to run my business.
August 17, 2010 at 10:05 pm
When I first started out, it meant having someone to lean on, to lead me through the ins and outs of the business. What I wasn’t taught was how to treat your own business LIKE a business. I flushed a lot of money down the drain chasing a magic pill. While here, I also learned a valuable lesson in the way regional brass from *some* companies blow a lot of hot air and push their broker-owners around.
Moving to brokerage #2, which arose out of said pushiness of company #1, it was the lure of culture and profit-sharing. What I learned in time there is that, while not true for all offices, in many cases “culture” can become the overriding focus of the brokerage to the detriment of what you’re really in business for -selling real estate. Hand in hand with that was the fact that actual office profitability was achieved only a handful of times in 5 years. I will say that the best thing I learned while there was how to structure my business.
With 8 years under my belt, and now with brokerage #3, I believe I have found a balance between what the company will do for you and what your potential can become. I am now with a national company that has bar none the best technology and training available to their agents (nice for a tech-y guy like me), plus the bonus of receiving benefits long after I retire. I’m 51 and that was a big draw for me. I’m now molding my business with an eye toward that off-ramp.