Before making any major decision — in life or in real estate — it’s imperative to do a little soul searching first. Here are seven questions you should ask yourself before jumping ship to a new brokerage.

Whether you’re a rookie agent, a rising team leader or an established veteran broker, we can all benefit from sharpening our skills. Follow our “Back to Basics” series to learn fundamental strategies, tactics, philosophies and more from real estate pros across the industry.

Deciding which brokerage to hang your license with can have a profound impact on your business. It’s critical to take the time to find a company that speaks to your values as a businessperson, works with your needs and goals, and has a culture that fosters a work environment you’ll flourish in.

Before making any major decision, it’s imperative to do a little soul searching first. Here are seven questions you should ask yourself before jumping ship to a new brokerage.

1. Are you ready for some disruption?

Changing brokerages means more than just getting new business cards. Depending on how tied into your current brokerage’s branding you are, switching to a new one could be disruptive to your business.

On the other hand, new branding may be precisely what you need to elevate your finances.

For example, if your goal is to focus on luxury residential real estate, it makes sense to align yourself with a brokerage that has a recognizable name in the high-end home sector.

Do your market research, and consider the companies that speak to the clientele you have or want to have.

2. Can a new brokerage solve your problem?

Sometimes the brokerage isn’t the issue. It’s the business. If you are finding it hard to self-motivate or generate leads, it can be extremely disheartening.

Adding a change of brokerage might only exacerbate the problem and give you even more things to think about.

Before deciding to switch companies altogether, it might be worthwhile asking your current brokers what they can do to help you.

Sometimes additional training, resources and support can go a long way. If you have exhausted that avenue, a fresh start could be exactly what you need to jump-start your business again.

3. What does the market look like?

If one broker dominates your local market, they’re probably doing something right. Often agents base their decision to join a brokerage on the commission split alone.

However, if you change to a brokerage that has little market presence, and your business slows down, it probably doesn’t matter that you get to keep 100 percent of your check.

4. Is the office in your preferred area?

No one likes to spend all day in their car. As agents, we already spend much more time on the road than we’d like to. Adding an hour office commute to the schedule is probably not the best use of your time.

Similarly, if you farm a particular neighborhood, your office will ideally be situated close to that area. This not only makes it easier on your car miles, but it also makes it more convenient for your clients if they have to come to your office for any reason.

5. What marketing tools can they offer you?

A new brokerage can offer you a lot more than just a better commission split. Some companies offer little in the way of marketing for agents, whereas others have a full marketing and PR teams at their disposal.

Do your clients love to receive postcards from you? Or does your business rely heavily on digital marketing? It’s important to understand what your business needs are and find a brokerage that can help cater to them.

6. What is your preferred office environment?

Different agents need different things from their brokerage.

For example, if you’re a newer, less experienced agent, you might need more support and guidance during transactions. On the other hand, some agents like to work alone and rarely step foot in the office.

If you seek a collaborative work environment, it’s crucial that you stress this when looking at potential companies to join. Most brokers will be upfront about what you can expect from their office.

7. Do you need help generating leads?

Some real estate companies provide their agents with qualified lead opportunities. This can be invaluable for agents who are new to the business or don’t have an extensive network.

Like many things, though, lead generation is often a trade-off with commission split. If you’re doing just fine finding your own leads, you would probably rather keep more of your check in your pocket.

Remember to always read the fine print of any brokerage deal you are considering. If it seems too good to be true — it probably is.

Like anything in life, if you want to get the best out of your real estate career, you need a plan. It’s essential that you understand your professional goals and that you choose a brokerage that can help you realize them.

What type of service do you want to provide for your clients? The brokerage that best facilitates this is likely the one for you.

Jackson Cooper is a writer and real estate enthusiast at Jensen and Company. Follow Jensen & Company on Twitter or Facebook.

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