Lessons learned from switching brokers?

7 Replies

Greetings BP agents!

After obtaining your license, did you start out with one broker and later switch to another? Why did you make the choice to move? What did you learn from the experience of working under a new, different broker? What were the similarities/differences? What value did you come to appreciate that you had previously taken for granted?

I'm now halfway through my sales licensure classes (the requirement here in PA is 60 hours), and starting to think about where I will hang my license. I would love to learn from any stories you'd like to share.


I started at a big chain, moved to a small place with 100% split, then moved back to a big chain. I find it much easier to generate business with a strong brand backing you. Going to the place with the best split I found to be a mistake, well over a $100k a year mistake.

Originally posted by @Ryan MacNamara :

@Russell Brazil, what kinds of things make up that "strong brand backing"? Is it name recognition alone?

 Name recognition is a large part, but certainly not the only part. For instance Enron has great name recognition, but is not likely a company you want to do business with. Dominance in the market place is certainly a plus, but is not everything. Respect and admiration are a plus. A brand that fits the type of property...for instance a $3 million luxury listing is likely going to use a different brokerage than one that lists a $50k shack. Being an agent for both can make you good money, but the same brand is unlikely to crossover on these two types of properties. The brokerage I work for interestingly enough has multiple brands, and we use a different brand for our luxury listings.

Thanks, Russell. I'll take this into consideration by asking potential sponsoring brokers about their brands and what market segments those brands focus on. 

I'm learning that it may be advantageous for me to focus on one or a few niches. Until I learn the market well enough to choose those niches, I want to be able to participate in a variety of deals to give me the exposure I'll need for discovery.

Thanks for your input!

@Ryan MacNamara - I have a differing opinion about big chains. The big chain brokerages have a compelling pitch, with big promises and lots of agents drink the "kool aid".I know agents who work for boutique firms, 100% comission companies or who own their own small brokerages that are every bit as successful as agents working for a big chain. In my area, many of the most productive agents do not work for the big chains.  I have nothing against big chains but they are absolutely not vital to your success and many times your net income is much less. With the comission split, monthly fees, processing fees and franchise fees, new agents can net less than 50% of their comissions.

Since you're a new agent, I would interview at the big chains as well as look for some smaller successful brokerages. See what feels the best and give it a try. You can always switch to another brokerage once you gain experience and find your niche.

@Scott Schuetz , thanks for bringing a contrasting perspective. My plan is to interview 2-3 big chain brokerages and 2-3 smaller boutique brokerages. I'll be making a list of my interview questions this weekend and calling to set some appointments next week. 

My uninformed feeling is that the larger houses may be a "safer" bet, but also may be limiting in some ways. I have prior sales experience, as well as experience in business operations management. I'm guessing that the average new agent usually doesn't have this experience, so training programs of the larger brokerages may be cookie-cut designed to teach some skills I may already have. On the other hand, while I have no problem with initiative and independent motivation, I still know next-to-nothing about the nuances of the RE business, and don't want to set myself up for failure by not having a strong support network in place as I get started. 

As you said, I'll be talking to brokerages to see what feels the best and then diving in. Ultimately, I know my success is dependent on me, not with the broker I choose to start with. 

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