- Brokers should be open and supportive to agents who want to transition to fewer or more flexible hours, while agents should prepare detailed plans that outline these transitions.
In this monthly column, Anthony Askowitz explores a hypothetical Miami real estate situation from both sides of the broker/agent dynamic.
A Miami agent has enjoyed a good career working full-time in real estate, but a new opportunity has her interested in making the transition to part-time.
I have truly loved my decades of time and energy spent working in real estate. Not many people are lucky enough to find a career that lets them maximize all of their skills and talents, so I appreciate all that the industry has provided to me and my family.
And while I still enjoy the day-to-day process of selling homes, my husband and I would like to pursue a new business venture; something we have dreamed about doing for as long as we have been together.
My husband will be devoting all of his attention to this venture, but my perfect situation would be to split my time evenly between our project and real estate, so that we can continue to have some income.
I also have practical reasons for this; I want to keep one foot in real estate just in case our venture does not work out.
My broker and I have a good relationship, and I expect that he will support my decision to transition to part-time status. I am confident that we can find a solution that works for both of us.
Back in the “good old days,” brokers like me only had to worry about real estate agents leaving offices to retire, relocate or pursue opportunities with competitors.
But societal and technological advances have dramatically changed once-rigid workplace arrangements, and we see more agents interested in part-time and flex-time schedules that better suit their lifestyles.
With electronic signatures, mobile phones, email and text messaging, agents can even take vacations without their clients even knowing.
Successful modern brokers should be open-minded and considerate about these changes, especially for an agent who has been consistently productive for a long period of time.
Offices that still only hire full-timers may want to re-think that policy.
However, I believe it is also very important to sit down with the agents in these “transition” situations and carefully discuss the pros and cons of the move.
The agent should carefully consider all his or her options and make sure he or she is making the right decision.
Will the agent earn enough money as a part-timer to cover living expenses? Will the market support someone not working on a full-time basis? How will clients respond to agents who are only available at certain times to do showings?
Will part-time agents be able to give their clients the same level of focus and concentration as they once did while working full-time? Without making errors?
Will clients still want to pay the same commissions to an agent who is only working part-time? How will the agent split his or her hours between the family business and his or her real estate career? These are all serious decisions that should inform the nature of the transition.
How to meet halfway
Agents who wish to transition from full-time to part-time, or flex-time, hours should expect the support of their broker, but only after they have done their homework.
They should schedule a meeting with the broker and present a detailed, well-thought-out plan that specifies a timetable for the transition, exactly how many and which hours they intend to devote to real estate, their anticipated revenue and a new proposed commission split.
Other options the transitioning agent might consider would be partnering up with a full-time agent or placing their license in a referral company. If neither of these options are realistic, they might also consider selling their business altogether.
Anthony is the broker-owner of Re/Max Advance Realty in South Miami and Kendall, leading the activities of more than 170 agents. He is also a working Realtor who sells more than 150 homes a year. In 2017, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce honored him with the R.E.A.L. award in the category of “Real Estate Broker – Residential.”