Whether you’re a brand new real estate agent or a veteran of the industry, selecting the right brokerage can be an arduous process. Agents need to consider commission splits, brokerage size and models, the strength and availability of support, training, and technology, and opportunities for growth.
Fortunately, two star brokers have advice for agents looking where to hang their hats, including some common pitfalls to avoid.
At the Inman Connect New York 2019 conference on Tuesday, RE/MAX Advance Realty II broker-owner Anthony Askowitz and Coldwell Banker Schmidt Family of Companies Ohio president Felicia Hengle revealed four major mistakes agents should watch out for when picking the right brokerage for them, as well as a mistake some brokers make.
Mistake No. 1: Forgetting that you’re an entrepreneur
Askowitz and Hengle say the first mistake new agents make is misunderstanding their true role as an entrepreneur.
“They’ll say, ‘How many leads are you going to provide me?’ ” said Askowitz while recalling agent interviews he’s done in the past. “I’m not a lead generator.”
Askowitz says agents must understand that it’s the broker’s responsibility to teach agents and give them the tools to succeed, but it’s ultimately up to the agent to build and maintain a business, which includes things such as garnering listings, building a sphere, and keeping track of finances.
“If we teach them how to fish, it’s better than handing them a fish,” he added.
Mistake No. 2: Chasing the highest commission split
Real estate agents often complain about buyers’ and sellers’ fixation with negotiating commissions, even at the risk of receiving a lower quality of service for a lower price.
But Askowitz says some agents may be committing a similar sin when they are solely fixated on getting the highest commission split, rather than finding a brokerage that can truly help them grow as a businessperson.
“The seller wants the highest price with the lowest commission,” he said. “The same thing with brokerages; it’s not all commission. You have to think about other factors.”
“Higher split does not equate to higher value,” added Hengle, who said agents need to think about the brokerage’s culture and how they’ll fit into it.
Mistake No. 3: Not interviewing your potential broker
Agents are often worried about making themselves seem like the perfect fit for a brokerage, which could cause them to miss something very important: Is the broker a perfect fit for you?
“Agents need to interview brokers, just like we do. You need to make sure they can help you grow your business,” Hengle said.
She says agents need to ask about company culture and values, training programs, technology tools and platforms, and the support system in place to help guide agents.
Then, agents need to take those answers and determine if the brokerage is the best place and the broker is the best person to help them meet their business goals, she said.
“It is about where they are in their journey,” Hengle added. “That will have a significant impact on what they need from their broker. It’s not one-size-fits-all anymore, for sure.”
Mistake No. 4: Getting distracted by the shiny new brokerage
As brokerages begin rolling out new proprietary tools and platforms, upgrade the caliber of training and support programs, or even revamp their offices and workspaces, it’s tempting to simply jump to the newest, coolest thing.
“Staying with your company may be the best place if you’re comfortable,” Askowitz said.
And no matter how tempting of a “shiny bauble” a new brokerage may seem, agents should be careful about the fees associated with moving to a new brokerage.
A bonus piece of advice for brokers
“Agents value support for sure,” Hengle said. “Sometimes where we fail is in the implementation.”
Hengle says brokers need to set the example for their agents by “running their business like a business,” and zeroing in on the value proposition they offer to their agents and consumers and creating and managing the systems needed to deliver on that proposition.
“[It’s about] setting that example for your agents,” she said. “It’s gonna get down to delivering exceptional service.”
“It’s about finding your Fred Factor,” she added. “What is it that you do better than anybody else and that you find joy in doing?”