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Kissing Toads To Find a Prince

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The debate rages on about whether the big brokerages will adapt and thrive in a web 2.0 world, and whether the internet savvy boutique firms will be sustainable without big brand backing. As an agent in today’s market, I just want to work somewhere where I can be successful. It’s not crazy that it’s taken a while for me to figure out where that is, right?

Tools? Support? Training?

My needs as an agent have evolved since I got started in this business. New agents need strong broker support to guide them as they write their first contracts, market their first listings, and grow from newbies into more experienced professionals. Training and support for a new agent are totally different than those for seasoned agents. When I started out I barely knew the right questions to ask before I joined a company and got started. Thankfully, I had great training and a very helpful broker. I made a company switch when I outgrew that system, but still didn’t realize exactly what I was looking for until I didn’t find it at the next firm.

Sometimes the environment we are looking for that will allow us to thrive isn’t something we can explain, or quantify. It’s easier to say what we don’t want rather than what we do. It’s not always about the commission split or the desk space, it’s about the untangibles…the way that the agents interact, the makeup of the people in the office.

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You Aren’t Alone

I’ve talked with lots of different agents lately that are not satisfied, and feel held back, by their current brokerage situation, but are paralyzed by fear of disrupting their marketing, or of making the wrong choice. Truthfully, though, if you are having that discussion with someone, your discontent is distracting you from being as successful as you would like to be, or doing the business that you want or need to do.

If you aren’t getting the support you need from your company, take a step back and figure out what’s lacking. Explore your options: will your current firm make some changes to help you out, or should you explore some other offices to see if they are a better fit?  You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.  And reach out to other agents who have made successful transitions to see what they did to make the process work.

Don’t Waste Time

You can’t underestimate the power of satisfaction in your choice of company…when you don’t have to waste your mental energy on unhappiness, your energy for your business is rejuvenated.  Leaving an office behind doesn’t always mean it was a bad office, a bad choice, or a bad place to work.  It only means that it wasn’t the best fit for you.

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Written By

Heather is a Realtor with Century 21 Redwood Realty in Ashburn, Virginia. She's also the 2008 VARBuzz Blog Brawl Champion, mom to four fantastic kids, and the wife of a golf professional. If she had free time, she'd probably read a good book or play golf. You can find her on twitter, @hthrflynn, or writing on her blog,



  1. Ruthmarie Hicks

    January 27, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Very good advice. I try to keep most of my marketing as neutral as possible – because – well STUFF HAPPENS. And sooooo – a lot has happened. I’ve only been in this business 3.5 years. Yet I’ve been with 4 brokerages.

    Let me explain – I haven’t been brokerage hopping…

    My first brokerage was a disaster. Totally the wrong fit. I stayed 16 months – WHICH WAS TOO LONG! I should never have stayed that long it was a big mistake because it prevented me from moving on and growing. So your advice is spot on!

    Since I had been in a big-box brokerage the first time – I went for a small traditional brokerage with a long history. Unfortunately, their history came to an abrupt end and they were bought out by another big-box brokerage. Unfortunately, they were acquired by a brokerage that I knew I never wanted to work for. But I had to wait for a looong escrow to close – so I was there for a couple of months. Then I moved to my present brokerage.

    Point is – if my branding hadn’t been independent (which is was after that initial mess) – I would have had a big (expensive) problem.

  2. Paula Henry

    January 29, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Heather – I spent the last year trying to find a good fit for me. It is definitely not the same for everyone. Last week I found my fit, an independent.

    I personally don’t need the big name or big office, I have everything I need at home. My discontent was holding me back, but the grass is not always greener. We must evaluate the “why” we are discontented, before rushing in. I also experienced that earlier in the year, when I almost went with another company.

    Sometomes it’s the broker, sometimes it’s us.

  3. Vicki Moore

    February 4, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    That was a really thoughtful, well-written post – and most timely for me. Thank you.

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