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One important job of a real estate manager or broker is to recruit agents for his or her office. And this is the time of the year when agents start getting calls inviting them to have lunch and a chat about possibly making a move.
If you’re an experienced agent or a relative newbie who shows promise, you are likely to be on the receiving end of these calls. And, it’s pretty flattering to get them. But moving from one broker to another, even if it is a good move, will be disruptive to your business. It’s not something you should do on a whim. A move should be a carefully thought-out business decision.
Having said that, it’s not a bad thing to see what other companies are offering to their agents and how it compares to your current broker. But as they promise you anything, here are some things to think about.
This will sound a little airy-fairy, but how is the office energy level? Some offices suck your energy when you walk in the door, while others are jumping. This isn’t something you analyze. It’s just a gut feeling.
What’s the office space like? Is it pleasant with a good conference room or would you be embarrassed to have your clients meet you there?
How about parking? This is crucial for agents who work in urban areas. If a broker wants me, I need a hassle-free parking space.
Who will your new colleagues be? Are they agents you’ve done business with? If so, did you have good experiences with them? Or were they turkeys? (Of course, if you are a turkey, this could be a plus!)
Be sure you get clear information about office expenses – what do they provide and what do you pay for? What ads are or are not covered? Do they support farming efforts by absorbing any printing or postage costs? Is there a desk fee? Is there a monthly coffee or parking charge? I’ve been in offices where we felt nickel and dimed to death.
What do the office administrative people do? Do they only file your listing and sales papers, or will they label and stamp your mailings? If so, is this part of their job description or do you pay them?
Will they charge your clients administrative fees in addition to whatever the brokerage may be? If so, house much?
What kind of split are they going to give you, and for how long? If it is subject to change, how will that work?
Is there an in-house creative person? My office, for example, has a full-time employee who is a professional photographer with a magazine layout background. He does all of our virtual tours, fact sheets, mailings, personal brochures – whatever we need. And then he prints them up for us. The agents pay the postage for mailing and the office absorbs the rest. This saves me several thousands of dollars a year in marketing expenses.
Is it a type of brokerage that fits either the business you do or the business you’d rather be doing? Some companies are boutiques with a niche in the market. And even with some larger companies, there are individual offices that specialize in certain areas and price ranges. But never think that by moving to a boutique that has mastered the mansion market you’ll be selling any of those big gorgeous homes. If your center of influence and heart are in the beer budget suburbs, and you decide to move to where the rich and famous buy and sell homes, you will have to completely reinvent yourself to make it work.
How many offices does your manager cover? One firm in my area has some fabulous managers who cover four or five offices and seem scattered and drained when I’ve dealt with them. To many agents, that doesn’t really matter. To others, it’s good to know there is a better than 50-50 chance of reaching your manager when you have a real estate emergency and need help right away.
Should you include an office move in your next years business plan? If your office is dysfunctional, if your manager isn’t your coach and cheerleader, if you feel the need to lock up your desk and rolodex at night, and if you are not achieving your goals, maybe.
But keep in mind that it might not be your office, your manager or your colleagues. If you move, you will be the same person in a new setting with similar challenges. Also, if there are a few minor “outs’ with your current broker, one option is to try to negotiate a new deal where you are.
Bottom line, when I get these calls, I explain that I am happy, making money, and that my broker is really, really good to me. If this describes your situation, my advice is to stay put. Otherwise, check out the other options.
Pat Kennedy -- author of The Irreverent Guide to Real Estate -- gives you a look at life on the streets as a real estate broker in our nation's capital. And her blog is peppered with great advice combined with humor!
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.