How I chose which real estate company and brokerage to join

I looked at my life and the people I love the most and they helped me realize selling is when I was happiest

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This is the third post in a series by Aaron Woodman. Read why Aaron is returning to real estate here, and read about his re-entry process here.

Well, Nike never called Zach!

That said, I have made a decision on whether to start a brokerage or join an existing one. Follow me for a minute while I tell you how I came to my conclusion.

Taking reader advice, and consulting with my network

First I asked you, the readers, for advice about selecting a brokerage. Your comments ranged from “you are your own brand” to “think of all the headaches.” This feedback gave me a lot to think about — thank you for getting the wheels turning. Plus, there are many types of brokerage agencies: international, luxury, indie, big brands, and now even virtual real estate agencies.

I then reached out to my inner circle of real estate “gurus” that I’m blessed to call friends. I think this is extremely important for an agent new or old to have a trusted sounding board of agents with whom they can openly (but confidentially) share ideas and plans with.

After talking with my network, I decided I should interview with a few brokerage companies. I set out to interview both national and local brands. I sent my resume in and waited for a response. I received calls almost right away.

Researching brokerages in advance 

Here’s what I did before interviewing brokerages:

  • I Googled the managing broker.
  • I checked the company website.
  • I picked random agents to check out on zillow, trulia and realtor.com.
  • I attended an open house of that company’s, if possible.

This seems easy, but you wouldn’t believe what I found. Some places I canceled because of what I found and read. I know sellers and buyers are going to do the same, so why not me?

Once in the interview I let them ask questions, but I also interviewed them and observed the office environment. Would my clients come here, and find it easily? Are there agents in the office? What’s the culture? Most importantly, could I see myself here?

I have worked for big brands and smaller national companies as an agent and consultant for over 14 years. I have been in a lot of offices. As I was going through the process, I continued to be disappointed. These offices and companies do not portray the industry well. The message and the culture of these brands were not well represented on a local level. Why was there so much disconnect from corporate to the local office? (I have a few ideas, but that is another blog post.)

I went back to a handful of friends and talked more. I considered an executive-level job with a new brand that is launching, possibly a job with a number of syndicators. But those weren’t the right fit either.

I looked at my life and the people I love the most and they helped me realize selling is when I was happiest. So I set out to find the right fit.

Looking for the right brokerage and company for me

I follow several luxury real estate companies on social media and have interacted with several, but there weren’t any that were close to where I want to sell. I left a meeting in Orange County and remember seeing my “adopted dad,” Bob Watson, post pictures of a company I wanted to check out.

I had connected with the owner of this brokerage online several months before and talked back and forth via Twitter and met briefly at an Inman event. I sent him a quick private message, and he happened to be at the office. I stopped in casually and half joking told him he should head north to Los Angeles. He didn’t hesitate and that started the conversation of him wanting to expand. He doesn’t know this but I left so pumped that I headed home, Googled him, amd watch him speak at numerous events on his YouTube channel.

I saw his posts on social and began to understand that he defines luxury real estate in Southern California. Every time I talked to him, I crossed off everything on my list of needs and wants for my next move. I met a few of his agents because of social media and Inman events, and I messaged one to pick their brain. They confirmed what I was figuring out: that this was a great company, and the leader not only has a clear vision but has actually sold real estate.

Decision time

I will be the Los Angeles operations manager and opening an office for The Boutique Real Estate Group and Raj Qsar. As The Boutique Real Estate Group expands its borders from Orange County to Los Angeles, we will be working together to continually raise the bar in everything we do. This doesn’t end my journey now that I have chosen a company. I will continue to share how I build my personal business, what I’m looking for in agents as I build an office, and what products that I use to sell real estate in a changing world.

Now that you know where I’ll be, I still have more questions for you:

  • What apps do you love?
  • What technology do you like?
  • What are your follow-up methods?
  • If I were to ask you to join my office, what would you want from me and my team?

Aaron Woodman has over a decade of real estate sales experience as both an agent and a managing broker/owner, and most recently as a consultant for residential brokers, property management firms and real estate technology startups.