Help Me... Help Her... "How do you know when it's time to move on?"

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

One of my very favorite Active Rainers has a dilemma... she asked me to ask you to help her... under a veil of anonymity, 'cause, well, y'know...

So... here's the situation. Thoughts?

"Currently my license is placed with a brokerage that takes 50% of my commission. When I signed up, this didn't bother me as there were a lot of things my office did to support me/my business and therefore EARN the split. In less than one year, though, a lot has changed:  

  1. Our company has significantly cut newspaper ads. We used to have 3 full pages every weekend, now we have 1 full page. 
  2. All our listings used to be automatically 'enhanced' on - now we have to pay for this.
  3. Our office used to supply 100 Just Sold and Just Listed cards for every listing/sale. These were automatically mailed to a radius around the sale/listing. Now they will only do 50. 
  4. Our secretarial staff has been cut from 3 to 1. With over 130 agents in our office, the one secretary is obviously overworked and there are numerous mistakes happening. We aren't allowed control over entering our own listings in the MLS, and consequently we spend a lot of time chasing people down to 'fix' new listings.
  5. Our company increased its BS Fee (they call it Broker Administrative Commission... I call it the BullS--- Fee) and will no longer waive it for FHA buyers or for any sellers unless they pay a higher commission. I just LOVE explaining this extra commission (that I don't get a cut of...)
  6. I had a listing get 'hijacked' on Craigslist over the weekend. Someone put it up for rent as part of a scam. I called my broker for help in dealing with it. Her response "well our office didn't post it. What do you want us to do?" Um, how about SUPPORT me?  

Our office will still pay for all the postage you want, and there are many who take full advantage of this. But I don't because I'm a SOULful agent and know that no one ever got a listing because of a refrigerator magnet.   Maybe I'm just particularly irritated tonight... but I can't help but wonder if there aren't greener pastures out there?"

My initial thoughts below...

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Alan Brown
Coldwell Banker Montrose Colorado - Montrose, CO
29 Years of Real Estate Experience .

The squeeze is on in this industry now. I recently moved companies but not for the reasons you are outlining. However I think you should definitely explore your options, there are plenty of other offices of the same brand that you work for now in the Denver Metro area they can't all be the same. Good Luck

Aug 14, 2008 08:43 AM #25
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Alan - just to clarify... I'm asking for a friend of mine - I'm very happy at my RE/MAX office!

Aug 14, 2008 08:49 AM #26
Glenn S. Phillips
Lake Homes Realty - Birmingham, AL
CEO, Lake Homes Realty /

The fact she is still asking the question after explaining all this means there is something emotional going on besides the logic.  We all do it.  It is a fear of something.  Fear of change, fear of letting someone down (even if they don't deserve it) or, a common fear. the fear of the unknown (as in, "what if I change and it is worse?").

Since the facts make it appear obvious, I suggest she take her fear out and play with it and own it. 

Let's say she does leave and it is a bad move.  Okay, move again.  RealSource was started by a woman that had been at one place for 14 years.  She made a change and realized the new place was not organized and likely not ethical.  So she started RealSource and has already been nationally recognized for innovation!  

And perhaps it is the fear of moving while the market is down.  That sounds like the best time to find a great broker that would love to have a great agent and would make the change good for her and them!

Aug 14, 2008 09:47 AM #27
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Why is there an X on this post.

You sound as if you now have some experience under your belt. Check around with agents with whom you have done business that you felt was handled in a professional manner. Ask them and others if there might be openings available at their offices or elsewhere where you can fit on a professional, ethical and emotional level and then interview wherever there are openings. Remember to interview them as much as they are interviewing you and do not be afraid to move on to something that can hopefully be better for YOU!

Good luck!

Aug 14, 2008 09:54 AM #28
Matt Thomson
Fathom Realty Colorado - Littleton, CO
Helping you find success through real estate

Sure it's your friend, Jennifer...uh huh.  :-)  And I have a friend who has this skin condition....just kidding!

Interesting how many people mention that offices are cutting back in the harder market.  Our office just upgraded our copy/scan/printer machines, cut desk rents in half, added a new full-time staff asst.  Crazy thing is we did all this while increasing our profits!  Negotiating with people (landlord, Minolta contract, etc) is a fun process!

Your friend needs to move on.  And she needs to do her homework.  Find the agents whom she's done cross sales with and ask them what value they get from their company.  I love Keller Williams, but I don't think we're the right fit for every agent.  I don't think any office is.  She needs to get a list of what's important to her, take that list and interview with offices that she's interested in.

Moving isn't that hard.  Your clients will respect you for moving if you let them know it's so you can serve them better.  It can be exciting, too.  We all love new homes, new cars, new clothes...get a new logo and new office too!

Aug 14, 2008 10:24 AM #29
Aaron Cullen
Brokers Inc. Residential Real estate - Folsom, CA
Folsom, El Dorado Hills & Sacramento Real Estate &

Mentally the stone has been cast and its not coming back.... Move on!

Aug 14, 2008 10:32 AM #30
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Jennifer, This one is a no brainer. This brokerage will be out of business very soon. Get out and get out now. If she has a year under her belt she should be trained by now and needs to move to an office with a much better split or even a monthly fee 100% set up. Then concentrate on building her own business.

Aug 14, 2008 10:35 AM #31
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC

Times are tough at many brokerages and many are cutting back more and more.  Definately would investigate any move before doing it and make sure what support is available.  Sometimes you find one brokerage that runs their business closer to the way you run your business and it is a better match.  Sometimes it isn't a good match.  Just make sure what you do is right and follows along with your business goals.


Aug 14, 2008 12:38 PM #32
Cindy Marchant
Keller Williams Indy NE 317-290-7775 - Carmel, IN
"Cindy in Indy" , Realtor, Fishers Real Estate

I think it is always interesting when you listen to someone talk about their dilemma; usually you can almost hear the answer in the way they talk about it.  In an email or post you can't "hear" that so harder to give guidance.  Factually, it sounds easy...why not explore the options.  This can be done fairly confidentially and will give her an idea of what else might work for her.

I have always said that who you work with/for is 80% of any job; the rest is manageable.  If she LOVES the agents she has in her office and is able to get and give great advice, tips, support...she might want to consider staying.  If she now gets that on the Rain (and don't we all); then maybe she can "afford" to make a change.

I have worked for a few agency's in my time, but feel I've found the best of both worlds; a place where the money works and the education/training is world class.


Aug 15, 2008 12:09 AM #33
Mike Miller

Well Jennifer, I'm a little late to the party, and it looks like your friend has a lot of great advice given here.  Has she made a decision yet?  What did she decide to do?  Mike

Aug 15, 2008 03:05 AM #34
George Wilson
Raleigh Cary Realty - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Cary Realty 919 439 0965

Not much for me to add but reiterate that there is much more to the job than the commission split but it looks like they are not holding up to their end of the bargain.  As Kim mentioned before make sure you fully investigate who you are considering when checking your options and talk to other agents if she can!

Aug 15, 2008 11:55 AM #35
Latonia Parks
Top Bragg Realty, Fayetteville NC, Home of the 82d ABN DIV - Fayetteville, NC
Certified Military Relocation Expert

I think she got into this profession because she loves it.  BTW, she is in business for herself.  If she doesn't see any advancement in that office, she has to move on.  Why dread going to work everyday??

Aug 16, 2008 10:05 AM #36
Kathy Anderson
Arizona Luxury & Lifestyle Living - Cave Creek, AZ
Arizona Homes For Sale, Sun City Grand

If the broker is getting that big of a cut from all their agents and still having to cut back that much, they probably aren't long for the business.  I don't feel it is as easy to make a move as some have suggested.  Especially if a realtor has worked hard to get directory placement and an internet presence but, it sounds like it may be time.  Just make sure the grass is truly greener on the other side.

Aug 16, 2008 10:31 AM #37
Patricia Kennedy
Redfin - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Wow!  That sounds just nuts!  I'd be looking for another broker.  The only excuse for keeping half of an agent's commission is if the agent is only doing very little business.  I'd say the grass at that brokerage has turned brown.  Anything else would look greener.

Aug 17, 2008 11:55 PM #38
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes

Jenn - Your friend brought all the things necessary to be successful when she entered the business. The broker is supposed to train, support and guide her. None of that is happening. It is not a matter of grass being greener, it is a matter of your friend being treated with the dignity and respect her position deserves.

Aug 18, 2008 09:54 AM #39
Sharon Harris
Keller Williams Keystone Realty - Hanover, PA

Time to pack her bags. She will be better off in anther office. Support means the world..

Aug 18, 2008 10:39 AM #40
Ken Montville
RE/MAX United Real Estate - College Park, MD
The MD Suburbs of DC

I came into this late (40 comments late) but my initial reaction is to run, don't walk, to the next Broker in her life.  Interview, ask important questions, check out agents that currently have licenses hung with the potential Broker to see what their experience is (anything "so-so" or below means "pass on it").

The best thing about being a Realtor is that, if you're any good at all, you can work where you want with whomever you want.

I recently changed Brokers and I was a little reluctant.  The old one was closer to home, I had established a market area, it was "in my comfort zone" but, after awhile, it was so obvious that it was time for me to move on that the decision was easy.

Aug 20, 2008 12:11 AM #41
Paul Francis
Francis Group Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes

Services have been cut since the agreed upon commission split... time to re-negotiate that commission.. or move on. It's obvious that the attitude towards the brokerage has changed... and it's not a positive one.

How can you stay with a Brokerage if you have a negative attitude??


Aug 20, 2008 02:01 PM #42
RE/MAX Realty Professionals - Wichita, KS

Review any agreement you have with your you have to stay a certain amount of time before you can leave?  Do you have to provide a notice without incurring penalties? kick the horse one more time....MOVE OUT!  Moving listings/clients isn't all that difficult and it gives you another reason to call/take them to lunch and develop the relationships.  Make lemonade.....

Aug 21, 2008 09:59 AM #43
Doreen McPherson
Homesmart ~ Scottsdale ~ Tempe - Tempe, AZ
Phoenix Arizona Real Estate ~

I haven't read all of the comments, but I saw a couple.  I agree with check your options and ask lots of questions.  I also recommend Keller Williams, but have heard it is important to make sure you get the right fit there also.  Good luck to your friend. 

Aug 22, 2008 12:42 AM #45
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