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Opinion Editorials

What Would Make You Move?

It is what I call “recruiting season” and real estate brokers are on the hunt.  As agents start to plan for the next year, many brokers are out looking for the cream of the crop.  My guess is that more agents will actually be making moves this year.  In my local area, the number of homes sold last month was down over 41% from the same time period last year.  When an agent’s income drops, they often look to outside sources such a new brokerage to give them a jump start.

I have received quite a few calls from various brokerages trying to sell me on making a move.  A move is tough.  They are expensive, distracting and confusing for your clients.  I have worked for a number of different brokerages, both in Arizona and California.  Making a move doesn’t make sense if the new firm is just more of the same.

Obviously a better commission split is always enticing, but is it going to adjust after a year?  The promises of more leads- been there, heard that, doesn’t usually happen.  I make my own leads.  The promises that they have the best web presence in the area?  Ummm, hello, my individual site ranks higher than almost all brokerages in my community.

Brokers- be unique, think outside the box.  A better commission split can be negotiated anywhere.  What is really special about your firm?  They almost all look the same.  Most brokerage are stuck using yesterday’s model.  Why would/should an agent move to go get what they already have?  As an agent, I have to evaluate and sell my value proposition to clients. I  am having to adjust and change to set myself apart from my competition.  Brokerages need to do the same thing.

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Agents- what do you really want (besides more money)?  What would make you move?

Written By

Ginger Wilcox is a Broker Associate at Alain Pinel in Marin County, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an accomplished speaker, writer and trainer on the real estate industry, online marketing and social media strategy. Ginger is the publisher of the Marin Real Estate Guide -"Blog by the Bay," a highly regarded Bay Area real estate web site. For more information about Ginger, visit



  1. Chris Griffith

    December 4, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Respect and recognition for what my high profile exposure (of their logo) through the net and the local column I write bring to the organization.

    When I finally find that, I’ll know I’m in the right place.

  2. Matt Wilkins

    December 4, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I become an independent broker and at this point have no regrets. I believe this route is the only way to truly “spread your wings” and be able to run your real estate business in a way that works for both yourself and your clients/customers.

  3. Ray Nelson

    December 4, 2008 at 8:54 am

    I have moved just twice in my relatively short real estate career. The first time was for more freedom, as I don’t do desk duty and refuse to attend sales meetings. I am a self starter, generate my own leads and run my own business. I don’t ask or expect much from my broker except that they pay the bills so I can keep my license hanging there and answer my questions when I get into something difficult and unfamiliar.
    The second move was to save money. I left the RE/MAX office I had been with when the market slowed mainly because everything I closed was going to the broker. I like the RE/MAX model, but feel like the fees have gotten somewhat out of hand. I struck a good balance of commission and freedom with my current broker and have been quite happy.
    If I were to move again, I would have to get something I am not receiving now. I have a good commission split, and I’m still making my own leads, so there would have to be something else to entice me to make a change. It is expensive, and takes some rebranding efforts, but I look at it now as another opportunity to get in touch with my database. My last move was very positive in that I reconnected with some good clients and made them think of me. I even got a few referrals out of it!

  4. Lani Rosales

    December 4, 2008 at 9:29 am

    @sarahbandy opined via Twitter:

    “First reaction was more MONEY but there has to be more. You want to believe in the people you work for and with too. $$ is the icing.”

  5. Jim Duncan

    December 4, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Making decisions based strictly on more money don’t work for me – there has to be more.

    In my case, I’d move for a better opportunity, but I cannot really define that better than autonomy, respect and ability/desire to adapt and change as quickly as I want to.

  6. Seth Siegler

    December 4, 2008 at 9:57 am

    I am a big fan of think tanking. If there was a brokerage that was made up of a team of progressive, forward thinking agents who worked together to brainstorm and hash out new ideas on a regular basis, I’d join up in a heart beat.

    An atmosphere where I can actually learn things from my fellow agents would be a dream. Most agents just get sales from people they know and have no true system. I’m sick of hearing from them about their old school techniques of “prospecting.”

    A true think tank brokerage would be a dream and I’d be tempted to join up.


  7. sheilabragg

    December 4, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    What would make you move?: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PROMISE that the ..

  8. teresa boardman

    December 4, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Ah is seems we are on the same wave length. One of my sites ranks higher than my brokers site and theirs is for four offices. Guess it is the same all over the country. Let the games begin.

  9. Missy Caulk

    December 4, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    I moved last year after 12 years at RE/MAX, it had nothing to do with the fees. Long story…they closed.

    I don’t and never would expect to gets leads from my Broker.

    Truth be told, I just want to be left alone. I am now so all is good, I am not a corporate person so there was only 2 places to go and one closed. So I went to KW. If I ever start over it will be with my own brand, Betty Crocker.

  10. Danilo Bogdanovic

    December 4, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I’ve recently heard of agents switching as well (as not switching) due to “a lot of leads” being promised to them.

    I find that interesting because leads are down overall and much like you, Teresa and others, the broker’s online presence and marketing are sub-par to the top agents in the area. So how can they back up their claim(s), giving you leads out of their own SOI? Yeah, right…

    IMHO, if you’re a good agent, you’ll be successful off of the business you personally create and, like Jim, find yourself at home somewhere that respects you, lets you be autonomous and adapts as times change.

  11. Ginger Wilcox

    December 5, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Chris- isn’t it funny, people think it is all about money, but often we just want a little respect. Couldn’t agree more!

    Matt- definitely a good strategy. Can’t blame the boss. Well, actually I guess you can 🙂

    Ray- moving can be a good way to reach out to your database, but I think agents need to be careful about too many moves. Clients wonder why the change.

    Lani-of course, money is always important, but it doesn’t matter if the environment stinks!

    Jim- Short, but good list. I was having a hard time nailing exactly what it is too, but you did a good job.

    Seth- It is always wonderful to work in an environment where you can learn and share with your peers instead of being competitive with them. I am fortunate my current brokerage truly has that!!

    Teresa- nice post on inman! 🙂

    Missy- Betty Crocker sells!

    Danilo- some companies do give their agents leads, but I haven’t seen it.

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