If you want to hear gossip, go to a brokerage the week after a top agent leaves. You’ll hear one agent say they’re getting a signing bonus and a 90% split at brokerage X, while another agent says they’re being promoted to managing broker.
The honest answer is that everyone fantasizes about having better work conditions, being able to close more sales, and receiving bonuses for signing new clients. This is enough to make even the most modest person aspire to be part of a more successful company.
If you’re thinking about quitting your current brokerage firm, here are a few signs that it may be time to move on.
On average, real estate agents now spend four years at a firm, down from seven years in 2013, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
The majority of realtors are independent contractors, so it’s easy for them to switch brokerages if they want to. So if you’re wondering if you should switch brokerages, you’re not alone.
Associate Broker at eXp Realty Devin Doherty identifies a ‘status quo mindset’ as key reason many real estate agents he’s talked with want to leave their current brokerage:
I’ve noticed that a lot of agents switch brokerages when they encounter someone with a fixed mindset or old-fashioned thinking.
An unwillingness to change or improve can be seen in many aspects of life, but it is especially prevalent when it comes to business. People who are unwilling to improve their skills, pay, or working conditions are likely to switch brokerages. This is because they are not willing to work hard to build relationships or improve their business.
If more than one of the following six warning signs is occurring, it may be time to change brokerages: feeling stuck in a rut, not feeling sufficiently supported, feeling like earnings potential is limited, increased workload, inadequate technology, or company culture issues.
- Unattractive Financial Deal
- Lack of a Cultural Fit
- Poor Firm Leadership
- Little Business Support
- Few Training and Education Resources
- Little Opportunity for Growth
Questions to Ask When Changing Real Estate Brokerages
Before making the decision to switch brokerages, it is important to ask yourself 10 questions to figure out why you want to do so. This will help you to understand your motivations and whether or not switching brokerages is the right decision for you.
- Are my motivations for leaving related to finances? For example, an unfair commission split, or too many extra fees.
- Is the company culture not a good fit?
- Are you unhappy with the direction firm leadership is heading?
- Do you feel like you have enough support for your own business? For example, marketing and promotional materials, and affiliate businesses you can work with.
- Does your brokerage provide you with enough training and educational resources?
- Does it feel like you’re settling for a ‘good enough’ brokerage?
- Is switching brokerages a practical decision for your business, or are you being persuaded by a recruiter from another firm?
- As an independent real estate agent or REALTOR®, are you ready to take your personal brand elsewhere?
- Logistically speaking, can your business handle the move?
- Do you have a list of other brokerages you’d be happy to switch to?
Would you like to be part of a brokerage that is more visible in the community? One with more name recognition? Or are you interested in a company that provides more leads and generates more business? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it might be time to make a change. The first step is pinpointing the key reasons you want to leave. This will help you better understand your motivations for leaving and identify what you should look for in a new brokerage.
To help real estate agents figure out if they should change brokerages, here are 6 signs that it’s time for you to move on. See which ones ring true for you:
Unattractive Financial Deal
A common reason for why real estate agents leave their brokerage is because they are not getting a good financial package. For example, if they have been with the company for a long time but still have a 60/40 commission split, they might want to look for another job.
Some firms have a flat transaction fee (e.g. $500) per deal instead of commission splits. This may be a better fit for new real estate agents that are looking to get a few years of experience under their belt. Before leaving your current brokerage, research different compensation models to find the brokerage with the best model for your business. Depending on your financial goals, having the opportunity to earn passive income while at your brokerage can be just as important. Watch out for financial deals that sound great in the short-term, but not in the long term. For example, you may be able to get a 90/10 split, but have little or no opportunity to earn passive income through stock or revenue options. Plan for the future while looking for a new brokerage.
For Devin Doherty, an attractive financial deal is a big part of what made him choose the EXP platform:
I work for EXP because I can help anyone I know in real estate get the same deal that I got. With EXP, they get an 80/20 split with a $16,000 cap, tons of training and services, and virtual platforms. They also get stock options and the ability to have revenue share, so they effectively become part of the brokerage.
If you are wondering which of the many brokerages to join, look at the reviews on Agent Advice. ninety thousand American brokerages makes it hard to pick, so let other REALTORS help guide your decision.
Lack of a Cultural Fit
If you’re considering leaving your brokerage, it may be because of cultural fit. Here are some questions to help you figure out if that’s the case.
Does your firm have a culture where information, advice, and deals are shared between brokers and agents? How do they treat their own brokers, real estate agents, and REALTORS®? Does your firm make diversity and being inclusive a priority? Do they have a good relationship with other brokerages in the area? If not, this could mean your brokerage has a toxic culture.
For Devin Doherty, culture can be divided into two parts: the culture of productivity and the culture of diversity and inclusiveness. He believes that it’s important to have a conversation about productivity within the company culture, but you also need to make sure that you feel good about being part of the brokerage.
The way your broker interacts with other businesses and real estate agents can give you some insight into how they run their own business. If you’re feeling anxious about going into work, it might be a sign that you should look for a new broker.
Reputation and Flexibility
When considering a firm, think about its reputation and the amount of flexibility they offer. What do people say about the brokerage? Do they attract new real estate agents often, or is it a struggle to find agents and REALTORS® that want to be affiliated with them?
A brokerage’s flexibility refers to how often an agent is expected to be in the office. If an agent prefers to work from home or from coffee shops, they should have the freedom to do so.
While money is often the most important thing to think about when choosing a new brokerage, the culture there is also crucial.
Poor Firm Leadership
If the lead broker at a real estate firm is not good, it can motivate the firm’s agents to leave and go somewhere else. This can take many forms, such as the lead broker’s behavior. For example, if they are friendly and transparent about the business, it will likely result in a better work environment than if they are harder to connect with and don’t value spending time with their agents.
Other examples of poor leadership to look out for include:
- your brokerage doesn’t recognize top performing agents
- the firm tolerates poor performance
- it isn’t transparent about their business goals
Be sure to investigate your broker’s relations with both your local Board of REALTORS and the National Association of REALTORS. Also, take note of how the broker is perceived by other businesses and clients in the area. Do they consider the broker to be a reliable partner?
If you’re wondering if it’s time to find a new brokerage, here are the leadership red flags to look for:
- they don’t put time and effort into connecting with agents
- they don’t reward agents for excellent performance
- they don’t have a strong relationship with other industry professionals
Little Business Support
Not having enough business support can make it hard for real estate agents to keep going. They need help with things like marketing and promotion, and it’s tough to get new clients without that.
Does your current brokerage provide you with marketing tools and materials to help promote your business? Are there any affiliate businesses or contractors that they have strong relationships with that you can use?
The brokerages also provide their agents with access to important business technology like DocuSign, customer relationship management systems and lead generation tools. This technology helps the real estate agents by ensuring the deals run smoothly, keeping the client information organized and helping them find new leads.
Having access to lead generation tools is an important aspect of getting help from your brokerage to source new business. If your firm doesn’t provide these tools, it might be time to consider finding a new brokerage that does.
Few Training and Education Resources
If you want to be successful as a real estate agent or REALTOR®, it’s important to have access to training materials and education courses. These resources can help you prepare for license renewal exams and apply for specific designations. If you’re not already a REALTOR®, prep courses and training resources can help you get ready to take the National Association of REALTORS®’s Code of Ethics exam so you can become a REALTOR®.
Real estate agents need to be aware of market information and statistics for their local area. Your brokerage can help you access this information and find out how to take advantage of the resources your local Board of REALTORS® provides.
Other Education Resources
If you are looking for more information about the best and most trusted real estate schools, AgentAdvice.com has collected reviews written by practicing real estate agents about different schools. You can find reviews from fellow REALTORS® for real estate schools in most states on their website.
There are a few schools that can help you prepare for different exams like The CE Shop and Kaplan. These schools can help you prepare for things such as the NAR’s Code of Ethics exam, license renewals, and earning more designations and certifications.
Little Opportunity for Growth
In addition to the above, ensure that your chosen brokerage affords you the opportunity to grow. This may take the form of supporting your expansions as a business, offering mentorship programmes or connecting you with other professionals in the field.
Some real estate agents prefer working in a smaller office where they are the big fish, while others prefer working in a larger office. Make sure that the brokerage you choose can give you what you want. You should not stay with a brokerage that is just “good enough” because you are afraid to leave and see what else is available.
Some questions that can help you figure out if there is enough growth potential for you at your current brokerage are:
Will you be able to earn enough money to meet your needs in the next few years?
Do you want to make money without having to work for it?
Do you have enough financial and emotional support for your business as it continues to grow?
Can you keep learning while you become a mentor?
Can you create a name for yourself at your current brokerage and establish strong relationships?