• Before changing firms, agents should consider the culture, leadership and resources of any brokerage they are looking to join.

Switching brokerages is a fairly common practice in the real estate industry, but the reasons agents make the move can vary widely. Often, it’s in search of a better split. Or sometimes just a “better fit.”

Regardless of the reason, agents are on the move — perhaps now more than ever. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2016 Member Profile, the median tenure for Realtors with their current company decreased from five years to three years, after being at seven years in 2013.

That means the average real estate agent may switch offices as often as three times during a 10-year span. According to NAR, 86 percent of its members are independent contractors with their companies, making all that moving relatively easy to do.

Although change can be a good thing, there is such a thing as too much change. Before you take the plunge and make a move, consider the source of your motivation.

Are you feeling underappreciated? Are another company’s recruitment efforts luring you and stroking your ego? Are office politics interfering with your work?

All too frequently emotional stress can ignite an agent’s desire to make a change, but such a significant move shouldn’t be based on anything but sound reasoning. It is a business decision, after all.

Taking the time to pause and think pragmatically about making a change a can lead to better decision-making, according to a 2013 study discussed in Psychological Science. The study found that by meditating mindfully for just 15 minutes, people made more rational decisions with better outcomes. 

So, before making a move from one brokerage to another, be clear about your motivations and what is driving your desire to make the change.

Real estate agents are entrepreneurs who run their own businesses, and it’s not an easy one at that.

Agents who are committed to their real estate career should act based on what is best for their overall success. This means more than just which brokerage offers the best commission plan.

When contemplating making a change in brokerage, agents should consider:

1. Culture

Define the work culture you want. What kind of office environment fits your work best? This seems like one of those “go with your gut” scenarios, but it is actually a critical factor in the overall decision-making process.

If working with a small company where forming close relationships with your colleagues is important to you, look for that.

If you want an all-business atmosphere, seek a group that meets this requirement. If the company’s culture doesn’t fit with your own needs and goals, it can impair your ability to succeed there.

2. Leadership

Before joining any brokerage, examine the leadership at every level, beginning with the CEO, vice presidents, marketing team and regional managers — all the way down to office leaders.

Do your homework.

What is their reputation within the industry and their organization? What is their presence in your marketplace? What kind of company are they building and promoting? Is it forward-thinking? Will they be ahead of changes or slower to respond to market shifts and technology trends?

Make sure the mindset of the brokerage’s leadership is aligned with what you envision for your future.

3. Business support 

To put it simply, what does the new brokerage offer that will make you even more successful?

A higher percentage split should be considered, but it is not the sole factor in making a sound decision. What technology and internet presence does the brokerage have? What support is available to learn the new company and its systems?

Do they provide resources to support ongoing professional development? Are there opportunities to be mentored — and later on, to mentor? How does the new brokerage support your lead generation efforts?

Are there marketing tools to help you rebrand with the new firm? What affiliate businesses do they have that you can leverage to improve your clients’ experience and the service you provide?

Beyond these questions, however, you should be clear about the support that is most critical to you. This should be at the top of your list as you examine a potential new brokerage.

Whether you are thinking about changing brokerages today or two years from now, your choice should be rooted in what is best for your career.

Consider every angle, including what will make you happy as an agent and what will give your clients the best customer experience. Moving brokerages is a business decision and should be treated as such.

By using sound rationale and critical thinking, you will be much more likely to find the right brokerage to call home for the long term.

Renee Deane is the executive vice president for Carrington Real Estate Services. Connect with Carrington on LinkedIn or Facebook

Email Renee Deane


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