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Big Name vs. Small Name Real Estate Brokerages

April 20, 2008

I have been a real estate agent in the Seattle, Bellevue, & Renton areas for over four years and have loved every minute of it.  I started my career at Prudential Northwest Realty, moved to RE/MAX Central Associates for a short time, and I finally opened my own brokerage, Greater Puget Sound Realty, LLC.  The process of opening my own business was very nerve wrecking.  The initial stages of recruiting agents went well, but the most consistent reason for not joining my brokerage was the fear of no longer having a large, reputable company name to work for.

This response made me curious for answers.  So here I am.  Now obviously, I am understanding to the fact that there is not one brokerage which fits the bill for every single real estate agent.  Greater Puget Sound Realty, LLC is a brokerage catered towards agents who are seasoned, self-driven, self-marketable, and accountable.  Hands down, we offer a compensation package which is $35-$55k, more in some cases, better per year than the bigger named companies.  From my experience, the larger companies offered the following over most small companies:

              1. Different Referral Programs
              2. Relocation Programs
              3. One-on-One Business Planning
              4. Technology Tools (Which typically will cost more per month)
              5. Per month paper quota, office supplies, etc.
              6. Executive Office Suites
              7. Annual/Seasonal events, gatherings, award ceremonies

There obviously are more, maybe less, but these are some of the major tools which are offered and considered the biggest reasons to join and stay with larger companies.  My take on the list above is as follows: Items 1-3 cripples the real estate agents because they train them to depend on the brokerage's connections for leads.  The brokerage might illustrate this lead generation as a benefit to the agent, but in actuality, the agent will never learn to generate his or her own clientele (meanwhile, they are also paying referral fees to whatever 3rd party they are working through).  Items 4 & 5 are items which are important to an agents business, but can easily be afforded on a monthly basis if they were saving the $35-$55k+ per year at a smaller brokerage.  Lastly, items 6 & 7 are simply not necessary.  My office space has always been the local coffee shop or little restaurant.  Why pay for the overhead of an executive office space if you will not take advantage of it (in 4 years at Prudential, I did not meet one client at the office, and the office space was beautiful).

I look forward to hearing your responses.  I encourage you, the real estate agent, to ask yourself the following question: In your business, who is developing the relationship with the customer?  Is it you, the individual agent?  Or is it the company name behind the agent?  If you answered the you, then you are doing a great job branding your name and your business.  You should really look into joining a smaller company like Greater Puget Sound Realty, LLC.

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