- The best real estate brokers weren’t always the best agents.
- Company culture matters way more than any marketing or technology tool.
- Passion will keep you going when the going gets tough.
Team builder. Subject matter expert. Role model. Coach. Talent finder. Mentor. Entrepreneur. Motivational speaker. Budget cruncher. Scapegoat. Brand ambassador.
These are just some of the responsibilities that fall under the title of real estate broker.
The career of a broker is filled with many ups and downs, sometimes exponentially more than a real estate agent’s career. But many people think they have what it takes to bring their real estate career to the next level.
Do you think you’re up for the challenge of building a brokerage? Here are five things you need know about making that leap.
1. A great agent doesn’t necessarily make a great broker
A common misconception about real estate brokers is that they were the most successful real estate agents at their old brokerage and decided to move up the ladder. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, some of the best brokers were average or even below average agents.
There is precedence for this perception all across the business world and the sports world, too.
Some of the best head coaches in American professional sports weren’t superstar athletes or didn’t even play professionally. Coaches like MLB’s Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox, two of the winningest baseball coaches of all-time, weren’t stellar pro baseball players.
The NBA’s Gregg Popovich, the longest currently tenured head coach in any North American professional sport, has won over 1,000 games as a coach and never played a single game in the NBA.
And the NFL’s Bill Belichick, whose 5 Super Bowl victories supersede any NFL coach, only played college football at the Division III level.
While real estate brokerages (and head coaches) certainly don’t need to be superstar sales agents (or athletes), they do need to know everything about the real estate industry to build a brokerage.
One of the main functions of a broker is to be a mentor, role model and coach for their agents. The only way to give an agent sound, useful advice is to know as much about the transaction and marketing process as possible.
Brokers need to be subject matter experts in the realm of real estate if they think they can build a successful brokerage.
2. Building a cohesive unit is key
One of the biggest keys to building a brokerage is the ability to recruit, hire, train and retain a loyal and effective team. Without these loyal and effective agents working under a brokerage, the company would certainly flop.
Creating a cohesive unit is something that starts from the top of the organization, and it must be implemented on day one.
One of the duties of a broker is to create a vision and mission for the company.
While every brokerage needs to have marketing and technology tools to offer their team of agents, these are not the differentiators that agents are looking for.
The world’s best marketing and technology tools are useless until the broker can establish a pure and simple vision for every agent in the company.
Once agents gel and begin working together, then you can say you’ve successfully built a brokerage.
3. Be tough and rigid, but fair and friendly
As builder of the brokerage, you are now the boss. As the boss, you are held to a higher standard than the agents that you will ultimately supervise.
As the broker, you are tasked with setting the rules, policies and procedures for effectively working as a real estate agent.
Inexperienced agents are looking to you to set the example of how to work as a professional. Experienced agents will look to you to arbitrate an issue when one comes up.
In these examples, be prepared to make difficult but wise decision knowing that not everyone will necessarily like what you have to say.
You will not always please everyone immediately. As the broker, you aren’t looking to make friends, but make agents better. Agents don’t become better unless they implement some sort of change that you initiated.
On the flip side, you cannot be so harsh and controlling that no agent wants to approach you to ask for advice or guidance on an issue. As the buck always stops with the broker, you want to know everything that’s going on with your team.
The only way to do that is to be fair and friendly.
4. Give credit when it’s due, and take blame from others
One of the best quotes on leading a team comes from Paul “Bear” Bryant, the former national champion head football coach at the University of Alabama. He said:
“If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes real good, you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win for you.”
When you build a brokerage, you are atop of the corporate organization chart. But you should never let your team know that you sit on the throne.
If someone on your team messes up, as a leader you should take ultimate responsibility for the mistake. If an agent did something wrong, it was because you did not teach them well enough to know better.
But, if an agent does something well, even if you directly taught that person how to do it, it is not your fame to take. As the leader and broker, you should be the first person cheering and celebrating the wins of your agents. Go out of your way to make it known that your agent succeeded.
Doing these things will not only build a cohesive team, but it will also make your team fiercely loyal to you and your brokerage.
5. Have a passion for what you do
The last thing you need to have to build a brokerage is passion. Passion is the one thing that separates brokers who do this to earn a paycheck from brokers who do this for a living.
Someone who is a real estate broker to collect a paycheck can easily pack up and leave when the going gets tough (which it most certainly will.) But a person who builds a brokerage and decides to do this for a living won’t give up so easily.
In fact, passion for the job is more important the further you are in your career as a real estate broker than it is when you initially started planning.
Building a brokerage is no easy feat. It is certainly not for everyone. It takes a vastly different set of skills to be a successful broker than it does to be a successful agent.
But, if you follow these five steps to building a brokerage, you will be well on your way to success.
Nico Hohman is the broker-owner at Hohman Homes Real Estate Brokerage & New Home Consultants in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.