OpinionAgent

Agent/broker perspective: The ‘non-competing selling broker’ dynamic

How to effectively handle any potential agent/selling broker issues
  • The 'non-competing selling broker' arrangement is a misunderstood but effective business model for real estate offices.
  • Non-competing selling brokers should have a policy for handling the appearance of competition or favoritism toward their agents.
  • Clear communication and consistent implementation of policies ensures agent trust and broker transparency.

Anthony Askowitz

 In this monthly column, Anthony Askowitz will explore a hypothetical Miami real estate situation from both sides of the broker/agent dynamic.

This month’s situation: A top producing Miami agent has reservations about joining a new office, where the manager is a “non-competing selling broker.”

Agent perspective

A well-established and successful real estate office is aggressively trying to recruit me. For a long time, I have competed with and admired this particular office. The perks are outstanding, and their terms are very generous. The people and atmosphere are terrific.

I can picture myself working there, but I have doubts about working with their manager, who is a non-competing selling broker.

I have never worked under this kind of arrangement. I am uncertain of what to expect.

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How can my managing broker be selling and not competing with me? Are the leads that come into the office distributed fairly amongst the agents?

I do not have a problem with inter-office competition, but no agent should feel like they are working against their decision-making manager. When push comes to shove, which hat are they going to wear?

Generally, I have received positive feedback from agents who have worked under this arrangement. Some have found it to be advantageous working with a broker who stays current with real estate market conditions and understands the day-to-day challenges experienced by agents.

Conversely, others have complained that this arrangement can be confusing, inconsistent in its execution, and stretches their managing broker in too many directions.

(Non-competing selling) broker perspective

The non-competing selling broker arrangement is common amongst Miami’s top real estate offices, but it can easily be misunderstood.

Thirteen years ago, I was just the office’s top producer, but when the managing broker became critically ill, I stepped up and took over.

I loved selling and still do. I enjoy the professional and financial rewards that came with selling real estate. Sadly, I was in a tough spot, since I was now also managing the agents of the office.

Fortunately, I found a happy compromise when I chose the role of non-competing selling broker (NCSB).

When I first introduced this new business dynamic to the 35 associates that I had at the time, they were skeptical.

Today, I have more than 165 successful agents. I attribute this increased number to how I’ve interpreted and presented the NCSB arrangement to new and existing agents.

There are offices where managing brokers supplement their salaries. They’ll get overrides or bonuses based on the sales production generated by the office, while other brokers actively sell in competition with their agents.

Most successful agents have a “book of business,” so they don’t feel threatened by the competition, but they do expect to get attention from their managing broker as needed.

Problems often arise with leads from prospective customers into the office and how they are dispersed. Some offices operate with a “floor” system, in which agents must be in the office to receive leads from prospects. Several offices tend to have a “non-selling” manager, who distributes their leads to a select few who may be considered most likely to close the sale.

My policy for handling leads as a NCSB is as follows: I simply do not receive or take any leads that come to the general office. This ensures that I maintain trust and transparency with my agents.

In addition, the leads are evenly distributed amongst the agents on a rotating basis, straight down the line, regardless of whether they are in the office or not. There is no cherry-picking by me.

Simply put, I do not and will not compete with my agents in any way.

As a NCSB, I put a greater emphasis on the “non-competing” part of my position than the “selling” part, which assures that my agents completely understand this even before joining my firm.

How to meet halfway

There are as many benefits to working with a NCSB as there are drawbacks.

It is imperative that agents are treated fairly and equally by their managing broker, which is accomplished through regular communication and consistent implementation of policies that leave no room for misunderstanding.

When the parameters are clear and constant, agents will be receptive to having a selling broker at the helm who has practical knowledge and experience to help them overcome real-world challenges.

Anthony is the broker-owner of RE/MAX Advance Realty in South Miami and Kendall, leading the activities of more than 165 agents. He is also a working Realtor who sells more than 150 homes a year.