Agent Decoded - Jay Thompson
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Agents Decoded: Is it time to switch brokerages? 

Your choice of brokerage can have a big impact on your career. There are plenty of good reasons (and some not-so-good ones) to consider making a change.

June 21, 2023
4 minutes

The direction of your business depends on decisions you make every day. Agents Decoded can help you by presenting the perspectives of seasoned pros who have been there, made mistakes, and found success.

At some point in your real estate career, you are going to ask yourself, "Am I at the right brokerage?"

It's a perfectly normal question, and a good one to ask. That doesn't mean you need to constantly question your choice of brokerage, but given the impact it can have on your career, it's important to regularly evaluate how things are going.

Virtually every agent, from rookie to grizzled veteran, focuses on commission split. While your split is certainly a factor in deciding whether to stay where you're at or jump ship, it should not be your sole consideration.

7 areas to consider when assessing a brokerage

Growth: If you feel like your career progression has plateaued and the opportunities for growth and advancement within your current brokerage are limited, it might be time to explore new options. Look for a brokerage that can offer you more challenges, professional development opportunities and avenues for advancement.

Support and resources: If you're lacking the support, mentorship, training or resources you need to succeed in your real estate career, you may want to move to a brokerage that provides better support systems. A supportive brokerage can offer guidance, industry expertise and the tools necessary to help you thrive.

Culture and values: If you don't align with the culture, values or working environment of your current brokerage, it can negatively affect your job satisfaction and motivation. Consider finding a brokerage that feels like a better fit and where you can collaborate with like-minded professionals who share your values and work ethic.

Technology: In today's world, technology and marketing tools are essential for real estate success. If your current brokerage lacks modern technology platforms, marketing resources or innovative tools, it might be hindering your ability to more effectively serve your clients and stay competitive in the market. Look for a brokerage that prioritizes technological innovation and provides robust marketing support.

Goals: As your career progresses, your goals and aspirations may change. If your current brokerage no longer supports your long-term objectives, such as specializing in a specific market niche or expanding into new areas, it could be time to make a change.

Commission: Evaluate whether your commission split and fee structure are fair and competitive compared to other brokerages in your area. If you feel that your current arrangement is limiting your earning potential or that the fees outweigh the benefits, there are plenty of alternatives.

Ethics: The vast majority of agents and brokers are solid, ethical people. But if you have ethical concerns within a brokerage, that's a red flag. If something doesn't feel right, if you witness unethical practices or if there are consistent warning signs, it's crucial to prioritize your professional reputation and integrity. 

Even if there is no single factor driving your decision to find a new brokerage, trust your instincts. If you have a persistent feeling that it's time for a change and you've thoroughly considered your options, it may be worth exploring new opportunities. 

Consumers care about an agent's reputation, not the brand of their brokerage

A word of caution: Many agents, especially newer agents, make the mistake of thinking they will improve their business by moving to a "big name" brokerage because real estate buyers and sellers are choosing their agents based on the brokerage brand.

Consumer surveys show this is not the case.

In their 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the National Association of Realtors found that the number of consumers choosing an agent based on the brokerage they are affiliated with is very low — just 2% of buyers listed that as a top factor in their decision. An agent's experience, trustworthiness and reputation were far more important factors.

Home sellers were only slightly more likely to care about the brokerage, with 3% listing it as a top consideration. An agent's reputation was by far the most important factor for sellers.

While consumers may not care what brokerage you're with, you as an agent should care. If you've decided your current brokerage isn't working for you and you're ready to make a move, first conduct thorough research, reach out to other agents, and ask insightful questions during interviews or meetings to ensure you find a brokerage that meets your needs and supports your professional growth.

Jay Thompson is a former real estate agent, broker-owner and industry outreach director. He is currently an industry consultant and sits on several boards. The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

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