Ask An Ambassador: Are You Ready For A Brokerage Change?

Real Estate Agent with Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

You can love your brokerage.  You might think it's the best brand ever and your broker is the greatest person on earth.  You're fully bought in and have no plans to EVER change.

And just like that, things can change.

Maybe you're working for an indie brokerage and Big Box brokerage makes an offer that can't be refused.

Maybe you're part of a one broker operation and not to be morbid, but you're one heartbeat away from suddenly not having a broker.

We've personally been with the RE/MAX brand for our entire careers (as of 1/11/2022, always subject to change!).   But even within that brand, we've been affiliated with three brokerages (one move by choice (which happened prior to an unexpected brand change), the other by merger).

So how to you minimize your personal risk to a brokerage disruption?

Know YOU need to be responsible for yourself and not your broker/brokerage.  That doesn't mean you're not answerable to your broker or brand, but understand that YOU are responsible for executing your business plans and generating business.

Don't plan to be a nomad, but be prepared to move.

  • Have an email that is independent of your brokerage.  (e.g. we're
  • Along the same lines, as much as state license laws allow, push your own phone number and not the general office phone number.
  • Don't set up your usernames/profile names to be brand specific (e.g. our ActiveRain ID is lizspear, not lizspearremax)
  • While it may be smart to leverage the SEO of your brokerage website, I'd rather have the emphasis on our own site with IDX search.  When our brokerage merged last year it was less than a day for our website support people to switch our site's brokerage name to the new name.  Any work I've done on the site is protected and ours no matter what happens with our brokerage.
  • When you blog, consider keeping brokerage names to your signature file and profile details.  Can you imagine needing to go back and edit 1000s of blog posts to remove a name to be compliant with your state's license law?  Keep it in your ActiveRain signature block and your profile and a few clicks later every post is updated.
  • If using a CRM, is it brokerage provided or your own?  Again, nothing wrong with using your brokerage's tools, but have a Plan B, and that applies for any tool your brokerage provides.
  • Do you know the process for your state if you need to switch brokerages?
  • What is your office policy if you switch?  What happens to "your" listings?  Any closings in the pipeline?
  • Have you checked out your options for other brokerages so if you need to switch on short notice, you're not starting from scratch?

Just food for thought.  Maybe you never need to make a switch, but it's best to be ready just in case.   Life can be funny that way.

Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help.

Bill & Liz aka BLiz




Posted by

Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of Transaction Alliance
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Comments (25)

Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Liz and Bill,

I was going to say culture is why many leave. One of our friends was given a BIG signing bonus for joining a new firm and many promises. She gave back the bonus.  A

Jan 11, 2022 07:52 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

The people do matter.  For the most part at this point in my career, I don't need much.  Protect the brokerage reputation, keep the obstacles out of our way, provide admin support, keep the fees reasonable.

Jan 11, 2022 07:59 AM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hello Liz and Bill Spear, I've learned a long time ago not to promote the brokerage. Change can be painful, especially in the middle of contracts, listings etc. 

Jan 11, 2022 08:49 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

It can be a costly move depending on a brokerage's policies.

Jan 11, 2022 09:13 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Thirty six years under the same brokerage and just like that --- Things changed Liz and Bill Spear that was a year ago, it did go pretty well, except for  an agent that took it upon himself to call Homesnap and have all my posts erased from GOOGLE  somehow they were never totally restored correctly . No one knows how it happened apologies were given by everyone, but the damage was done.  

Jan 11, 2022 09:05 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

They can change, and hopefully smoothly.  We'll be making another change with our next home move.  We'll want low cost more than service since we'll be operating in more of a referral capacity.

Jan 11, 2022 09:14 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Bill (and Liz too) - Some things are taught.  Other lessons are learned over time and I admit some from mistakes made.  It is a part of our history but it need not be our present.  

Jan 11, 2022 09:24 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

We've not had a path without some potholes.  Some things we learn in advance, others the hard knocks version applies.

Jan 11, 2022 12:51 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Great advice! I also have my own email address and website and don't use a company CRM. Just in case. I did switch brokerages once (besides the most recent change due to a move to MT). And having my own email and webpage definitely made the move easier.

Jan 11, 2022 09:35 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Too many cases of agents so dependent upon their brokerage that when something changes they're handcuffed.

Jan 11, 2022 12:52 PM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Such great advice.  Thanks for sharing..

Jan 11, 2022 09:40 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

You're welcome!

Jan 11, 2022 12:52 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

Very good advice Liz and Bill Spear . That heartbeat thing had me scrambling for a new brokerage twice in my career.

Jan 11, 2022 01:14 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Bob, it's one of the things I look for in an office.  Are there at least 2 brokers in the office so if the primary is OOC there's nothing to keep the office from continuing?

Jan 11, 2022 01:44 PM
Adam Feinberg
Elegran - Manhattan, NY
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse Advisor

 Started my real estate career nearly 6 years ago, and was happy with the firm and my colleagues with no intention of changing firms anytime soon.

Then Covid hit.

Prior to Covid, the CEO of my boutique brokerage was commuting back and forth between Jerusalem and NYC on a regular basis. It was tough for him to run a brokerage in NYC with family halfway across the world, but he did it. When Covid hit- international travel was pretty much a no go. For awhile, very few deals were happening since the lockdowns, and my sales team leader, whom I felt didn't have the full resources he needed to easily grow the business declined to become a partner in the firm. Instead, he made the decision to leave and asked me and a number of other agents to join him. While the split was amicable and understandable considering the circumstances, it effectively meant that the firm was going to have to shutter. While we all loved the CEO- even if you plan on staying with a firm,  life sometimes twists the situation so that you have to leave.  

Jan 11, 2022 02:23 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Life can throw some real curveballs, and COVID has been a major one.  Fortunately not as much business impact in that real estate was always considered an essential business.

It makes sense why you had to leave.  Ultimately we're in business and while we may be drawn to people for other reasons, we still have to pay the bills.

Jan 11, 2022 03:16 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Excellent tips Bill.  Every agent should read this and always be prepared because there is one thing that is constant....possible changes. KISS.

Jan 11, 2022 03:13 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Some happen because we initiate, some happen because of others, but change is going to happen. 

Thanks for the 'Tude feature!

Jan 11, 2022 03:18 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten

We made a change in 2020 to merge with another firm and it was pretty much a smooth change.  A few hitches but nothing major.

Jan 11, 2022 03:21 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Featured in BananaTude Group


Jan 11, 2022 03:14 PM
John Meussner
Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IN, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI - Fair Oaks, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Fair Oaks, CA 484-680-4852

Great advice here.  We all love our companies, until we dont!  Or until someone buys them!  Or they run into trouble!  We can support our company, but it's important to focus on our own business and brand - you provide some great tips on how to do that.

Jan 11, 2022 03:47 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

You just never know what might happen next!  Maybe I hit the Powerball and it all becomes a moot point!  More likely, I continue to work for quite a few more years :)

Jan 11, 2022 06:37 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Great advice here, Bill. You can't assume everything with your brokerage will be "perfect" forever, and we still need to keep in mind what's best for us, and be willing and able to shift gears if it makes sense to do so. One does not want to be lured into a change simply because some big brokerage comes calling and you are flattered, without doing some serious soul-searching and thorough investigation.


Jan 11, 2022 08:07 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Jeff, IMO there needs to be a good reason for making a move.  I've known some agents that appear to shift brokerages almost annually, always looking for the greener grass.  We've switched twice, once by choice, the other time due to merger.  We plan to make one more switch when we move, and that will most likely be our last ever switch.

Jan 12, 2022 06:04 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Our Team is prepared to move and re-brand, if needed or desired, but we are very happy where we are. Our email addresses are Team addresses, for instance. (I have a separate address upon which I can fall back if ever needed.)

The most important thing is to take good care of your SOI. They do not care who your broker is. There are connected to you!

Jan 11, 2022 08:21 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

We've identified the same thing.  Once a relationship is established, the client is more interested in us than in our brokerage brand.

We do pick up some initial business from people that want our particular brokerage brand, but it's a small sliver of our overall business.

Jan 12, 2022 06:06 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

This is great advice!  Moving brokerages always requires planning since the brokerage owns the transactions.

Jan 12, 2022 05:14 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

And that ownership needs to be taken into account.  What does the office policy manual indicate happens if an agent leaves?

Jan 12, 2022 06:17 AM
Ed (Edward) Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Great information here.  I was 16 years in the ReMax brand and never used their websites or their mailbox. When I transitioned, I had all my info consistent, just a different name on my business card and in headers  For me it was seamless

Jan 12, 2022 03:04 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

I have our email set to forward and the brokerage site is just the essentials.  Not our emphasis, so no loss if/when we change.

Jan 12, 2022 07:36 PM
Thom Abbott |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

Ah yes....I am very comfortable...but have all these steps in place. I don't have ANYTHING connected to my brokerage other than my license. I have my websites, email and phone. 

We recently (last year) were purchased by another company out of AZ. I happened to be on the "21 Great Western Road Trip during the transition. They thought they had all the glitches worked out, but they did not. I'm surprised at how many agents jumped ship. And left our "keep all your commission" business model to brokerages that take a percentage. But, I did not have anything going through do deal with the hic-ups...and I'm still pretty happy. 

I get the culture part....there are only 3 people left from the original company. I used to walk into the office and could spend the better part of an hour checking in with everyone that I knew. Of course, with COVID we can't even get in the office anymore. But I'm missing that connection. 

Never say Never, but for now I'm still a happy camper! 

Jan 13, 2022 02:58 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Well of course, you go on vacation and THAT is when it happens!  You just never know in this business, one brokerage consumes another (and another), so today's indie may be Big Box tomorrow. 
Honestly I could by face maybe name about 4 people in my office.  I'm almost never in there (with or without COVID restrictions).  Check mail, client meetings, closings, and otherwise I'm completely mobile or work from home.

Jan 13, 2022 05:36 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) - Boise, ID

Excellent post!  I teach a lot of these things in the ePRO certification class for NAR.  I was always a die hard company guy so I used to always brand with my brokerage.  I wish I would have read this post 30 years ago as I kept rebranding and rebranding as I changed brokerages for various reasons.

I now own my own brokerage in Boise, Idaho and that is one of the best ways prevent that.  However, sometimes being part of a larger brokerage provides some economies of scale.

Jan 13, 2022 05:05 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Liz took the ePro courses and I remember the "have your own email" as one of the key takeaways.

I don't mind gaining business thanks to our RE/MAX brokerage, but it's not what I plan on with our business.  Our own site with IDX pages we've built is our best lead source (and relatively inexpensive).

Jan 13, 2022 05:38 AM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Hi Liz and Bill...Great article.  I have went through this more than once.  The first thing I would like to comment on is the one broker comment: "Maybe you're part of a one broker operation and not to be morbid, but you're one heartbeat away from suddenly not having a broker."

I 100% agree with this and it should be one of the very first things a new Broker should consider when adding agents.

Even if staying as a 1 man absolutely need to have a plan in place not only for a planned retirement or leaving the industry but for what you mentioned...death or incapacitated.

I solved that by hiring a whirlwind of  a new agent 4 years ago.  Phenomenal lady... Lindsey Haden.  After the two year wait...I had her get her Broker's license.  Our long range plan is for her to own the company.  We met this week to shore up that goal and to plan on adding more agents to the other 4 we have.

One other thing I would mention to all want to be Brokers....the amount of paperwork and files and advertising and compliance and all the other things will fall directly on you the new Broker until you are large enough to afford an office staff.  

Plan accordingly.  Best decision I ever made.  

Jan 13, 2022 06:07 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Mike, You've got a thorough understanding of what's involved and great that you've got a solid plan in place!  I think too often agent's retirement plan is work until they find me face down in my laptop.

I've got some time left as an active agent, even more so as an engineer, before I retire to just go do the things I've been putting off too long.

Jan 13, 2022 09:45 AM
Kathy Akers, ABR, CRS, GRI, PSA
Fathom Realty NC LLC - Rocky Mount, NC
Your Trusted Real Estate Advisor

Liz and Bill Spear, a great article. I made a move in mid-2018 and thankfully had my own CRM, website, etc., so the move was fairly easy. There was still plenty of things and expenses that I had not planned for in the move.

Jan 13, 2022 11:27 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Business cards, signs and other items can add up quickly.

Jan 13, 2022 12:56 PM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

This was a really good post. Thank you for taking the time to write it!

Jan 14, 2022 10:58 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

You're welcome!

Jan 14, 2022 02:53 PM