Thinking about Switching Brokerages?

Posted by Round Table Realty on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 at 12:20pm.

In the family tree of real estate, the Brokerage is the top branch. As you move down the tree you find the brokers, the other real estate agents, and the support staff. Finally, the clients they serve are all standing beneath waiting to catch a piece of fruit.

Realtors must hang their license from a branch on a Brokerage’s tree, but the Realtor gets to choose the tree that feels best to them. They can choose a tree and later decide to choose another tree.

A majority of the incredible agents that join Round Table Realty come from other brokerages. Very rarely does a recent graduate of real estate school join us because we typically require a certain amount of experience so that our clients get to work with the best of the best. But when they come from other brokerages, they come with expectations. Some of those we can meet, some we can’t. But we always ask them the same questions to ensure a move to our family is right for all of us.

Recently, an experienced Realtor called Howard (Broker and Owner of Round Table Realty) and expressed an interest in making the move from a big box brokerage to RTR.

“I wouldn’t say I try and deter people from joining us here at RTR. I’d say I flesh out just how good of a move it would really be for them by asking some pretty pointed questions. Sometimes during the course of the conversation, they realize this is a bad time to move and they decide to stay where they are.”

These are some of the questions Howard asks potential new agents when they show interest in joining RTR.

Switching brokerages real estate

What questions to ask when you’re thinking of switching brokerages.

  1. Why are you thinking about moving?

  2. Does the brokerage adhere to your values?

  3. What are the logistics?

  4. Can your business handle the turmoil that is switching brokerages?

  5. What do they have that you don’t?

Why are you thinking about moving?

The first thing to consider is why you even want to change brokerages in the first place. Are you unhappy with the values in your brokerage? Are you feeling abandoned by your brokers? How do you feel about the other agents? Wanting to make more money and searching for a better commission split?

Make a list of the things you’re unhappy with at your current brokerage and truly take the time to examine which of these issues might be fixable. “I find that a majority of the time agents come to our brokerage with gripes about their current brokerage, I spend more time convincing them to stay where they are then recruiting them. Some of the complaints are valid, but some are issues they could and probably will encounter with any brokerage. Like any working environment, there are relationships involved and those relationships sometimes take work.”

If you see anything on your list that might be fixable, take the appropriate steps to find out. Have a conversation with your broker or a fellow agent. Decide which parts are non-negotiable and how willing you are to compromise. It’s very possible you could solve most of your problems in just a few steps.

Finally, ask yourself if it would truly be different at another brokerage. Ask around and find out if perhaps the growing pains you’re experiencing are present in most brokerages! There’s no use switching if the outcome is the same or similar.

Does the brokerage adhere to your values?

Think about the way you like to do business. You might like to do things quickly and with efficiency. Perhaps you’re focused on building relationships with your clients. Do you prefer foreclosures? First-time homebuyers? Your potential brokers should be in alignment with all the ways you prefer to practice real estate.

At Round Table Realty, we have the ability to practice single agency. That means our Realtors can act as coaches for their clients. Most brokerages only allow their agents to act as transaction brokers, which means they’re more like referees for the game. They can’t be loyal to their clients, they have to be loyal to the transaction. We often discuss with potential new agents how important serving clients is to them (versus the transaction). If that’s a value that’s important to the agent, it often means we’re a good fit for them! Practicing single agency means putting the client first.

Take a look at things like activities outside of the brokerage. Do the agents get together for other reasons? At Round Table Realty, we have monthly Wind Down Wednesdays at local restaurants, we run 5Ks, we volunteer for several local organizations, and we even get together just for a fun night out. If you’re looking for a place to build relationships with other agents, ask about what they do outside of business!

What are the logistics?

When you make a switch from one brokerage to another, it’s not just your state of happiness that you ought to consider. The actual details involved in changing brokerages are pretty involved and might have a major impact on your business. For example, where is the new office located in relation to your home?
To your kids’ schools?
To your frequently visited businesses like gyms and grocery stores?
How about the areas of your city where you frequently assist buyers and sellers?
If the new office adds an hour to your daily commute, you need to decide if that’s worth the tradeoff (and possibly your sanity).

Does this new brokerage have brokers who are in the office?
Are there required meetings or floor duty?
Do your new brokers require you to check in physically?
What is provided for you there at the office?
Details like these could make all the difference in your life and work. If you don’t feel like the answers to these questions make your job easier (and make you better at your job), then a switch might not be the answer.

At Round Table, the brokers work from the office every day. It’s a rare moment when you can’t find at least one of them. With three broker associates, you can also seek any of them our at any time. We’re located right between two major counties, but we do not require our agents to attend meetings or functions at the office. While we do provide things like free color copies, folders, and other office supplies, it’s ok if you choose to mainly work from home. We do not require floor duty, either. Our belief is that if you’re truly a professional, single agent putting people before property, you need the guidance of a broker without the control.

Can your business handle the turmoil that is switching brokerages?

Changing brokerages is not a simple task. There are multiple threads that must be clipped before you can officially switch. If you’re not already solid with the way you handle your workload, there’s a good chance that this change will shake things up quite a bit - and for a while. You’ll likely feel more unstable than you anticipated (and maybe even wonder why you decided to change brokerages!).

If you feel that you’re in a good enough groove, it might be great timing. But if you’re struggling to keep all the balls in the air, consider giving yourself a bit more time before making a change.

Round Table Realty offers huge support during new agent transitions. Full broker support, administrative support, and lots of marketing guidance as the agents rebrand themselves. “As agents begin to get into their own groove, we give them space to do things themselves. It doesn’t mean we’re not constantly here and available, but we don’t need to influence every decision,” Howard says.

What do they have that you don’t?

If you’re certain you want to make a switch, start making a list of what other brokerages have that you really want. This can make it easier to decide which brokerage you’re going to choose.

If you’re currently lacking any kind of marketing plan (or guidance), it might be worth asking whether or not there’s a dedicated marketing person or department that will work with you individually. While general marketing is great (and necessary), you want to stand out. Is there someone to help you do that?

Do you buy your own leads? Some brokerages actually provide leads for their agents (at a cost!). Some offer lead education for sites like Zillow and Realtor.com. Some just let you fly on your own. Take a look at your own lead generation and decide what you’ll be able to take with you and what you’ll need help with. Your new brokerage ought to be able to help you grow faster than you’re growing now.

Realtors require relationships with folks in many other lines of work: lenders, title companies, lawyers, contractors, and cleaning companies to name a few. Do you have those relationships and do you intend to bring them with you? What kind of relationships is the new brokerage offering you? If you’re pretty new to the business and you don’t have any relationships at all, making a switch that’s valuable means the new brokerage can introduce you to at least some of them. If they don’t have some kind of relationships, is that ok with you?

Round Table Realty has a dedicated marketing person who creates a whole host of individual marketing items (for free!) when new agents join the brokerage. Her ongoing support is low-cost and always available for agents looking to up their marketing game.

RTR also has its own CRM, which generates highly cost-effective leads. Agents have the option to buy leads from Round Table or elsewhere.

The top-notch relationships Round Table can offer are long-standing and well-established. Of course, you can also use any existing relationships you have to help the clients you serve. You don’t have to use Round Table Realty’s friends and neighbors. It’s just an excellent option.

Round Table Realty also offers excellent, ongoing training to all of its agents. Some need more training than others, but any seasoned professional knows that ongoing training is one of the best ways to stay on top. As with everything, trainings are not required (perhaps that’s why so many agents tend to show up!).

Should you switch?

Switching brokerages is a challenge and a big life change. If you feel you're ready to make the switch, get clear on why. Ask yourself these questions and more. Like most things, the answer will feel right to you when it’s time. Until then, do your research! Find out if the grass really is greener. There's no point in making a huge move if you're just going to be battling the same challenges in a year. 

 

 

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