Last week in my Zebra Report I talked about finding your right "fit" at a real estate brokerage and the three reasons why most agents feel they need to leave their brokerage for greener pastures:
- Leadership is poor, weak, or non-existent.
- The perception of value has changed.
- The broker doesn't understand or support an agent's uniqueness or their business plan.
So, if you're reading part two of that Zebra Report chances are good you're thinking of making a move...
You're unhappy where you are at, and you are sure the grass is greener somewhere else. What is the thought process you engage in when making a decision of this magnitude?
There are 23 questions I recommend you ask as you begin the process of interviewing with a new broker. Depending on your reasons for leaving your current brokerage (and depending on who you are a person and what your core value are), some of these questions will have more relevance for you than others.
- What are the values and core beliefs your office embraces? Do you have a mission statement and is it published anywhere?
- How would you describe your office culture? How do you create that environment? What would be expected from me to help contribute to or support that culture?
- Have you created a policy & procedures manual? Can I look at it before joining the office? If I do join, do I get my own copy? If not, where is a copy kept for agents to reference?
- How are clients greeted when they call the office and when they come in the office?
- Do you have sales meetings? If so, when are they and how often are they held? What percent of your agents attend? Is attendance mandatory, and what are the repercussions if I don't attend?
- Do you meet one-on-one with agents on a regular schedule to review their business?
- Do you offer ongoing training and mentoring for your agents? Is there a training calendar I can review? Who is in charge of providing the training?
- What kind of help can I expect from the office staff?
- How are referrals handled? Is your referral program published in writing? Is the program transparent to agents? Do your agents feel the system is a fair one?
- Do you require your agents to hold certain professional designations? If so, do you help pay for the education?
- What is the company's philosophy with regard to technology, and what technology do you provide? Where do I go for tech help?
- Can I use my business "brand"? If so, do you place any restrictions on its use?
- What is your advertising policy? Who pays for advertising? Can I do other advertising to supplement what the office provides?
- What is the fee structure, and exactly what is included in that structure. (Note: Get this in writing!)
- Are there agents in the office on different fee plans? If so, explain the options or reasons why.
- Do you actively sell as an agent? If so, how are referrals handled? (i.e. does the broker keep all referrals, share them, or never take them)
- Do you require Errors & Omissions insurance? What happens in the event of a lawsuit?
- If our working relationship ends, who owns the rights to my listings?
- If I were to leave, how would pending commissions be handled?
- What is the turnover rate of agents in your office over the last five years? What is the turnover rate of support staff over the same period of time?
- What market share does your office hold? Your parent company?
- Do you have a "transitioning in" program? Are business cards and signs provided for me? Do you mail announcements to my clients?
- What are you going to do to help me improve my business?
While your desire to make a move may be focused around just one of these issues, each and every one of them can impact your success. If you're in the process of looking for a new home I strongly recommend you use this list as a resource to find the right fit for you!
And don't forget - it's always best to get office policies, "transitioning in" help, and other incentives from a broker before you commit to making a move, as many of these items may not be reflected in your contract. As I always like to say, "agreements prevent disagreements."
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development, and agent/broker training, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things "real estate". With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.