Are you a real estate agent who is looking to switch brokerages?
Switching brokerages is a common occurrence in the real estate industry. Many agents grow tired of their current brokerage, or they may find a new brokerage that offers more opportunities for them.
Real estate is an extremely high attrition business. In 2019, it was said that the average real estate agent spends no more than 4 years at a brokerage before moving to a new one.
Plenty of new real estate agents chose a brokerage after passing their real estate exam and graduating from their real estate schools by completing their education requirements but end up realizing that the sponsoring broker they chose to join is not the best fit for them.
But leaving your current real estate brokerage can seem like a daunting task. It’s not as simple as picking up your belongings and moving to a new branch office down the street.
In this blog post, we will outline the different steps involved in changing brokerages as a real estate agent. We’ll also provide some tips on how to make the transition as smooth as possible so that you can have a clear idea of what is involved.
Both new real estate agents and experienced agents change brokerages so whether if you are a new realtor or have plenty of experience or even if you are the associate broker for a company, if you want to change real estate brokerages this post is for you!
Let’s get started!
How to Change Brokerages as a Real Estate Agent in 10 Steps:
Here are the following steps to change real estate brokerages:
- Create a Plan
- Look for a New Brokerage
- Informing Your Clients
- Informing Your Broker
- Consider Counteroffer
- Move Your Listings
- Move Your Database
- Tranfer Your License
- Update Your Marketing
- Onboard at Your New Brokerage
1) Create a Plan: What do Agents Look for in a New Brokerage?
Usually, there are 2 reasons why agents change brokerages.
1) Leaving a Bad Situation at their Current Brokerage
2) Finding a Better Situation at a New Brokerage
In life, people only make decisions for 2 fundamental reasons. To move away from pain or to move towards pleasure or both. Real estate agents are the same. If you are an agent that is considering switching brokerages, you are either moving away from pain, a bad situation at your current company, or towards pleasure, a much better opportunity at a new company.
The problem with most agents is that they can’t clearly articulate which one of those reasons are driving their decision. And until you figure out and are clear on your reason, it will be hard to move forward.
It is also important to consider when is the right time to change brokerages because sometimes it may be wise to change brokerages sooner than later when you have more clients to work with which will make the transition harder.
There are many reasons to leave a brokerage such as poor leadership, lack of support, and low commission rates.
Once you know why you’re switching brokerages, the next step is finding a brokerage that fits what you’re looking for.
What do real estate agents look for in a new brokerage?
There are many different things that agents look for when considering a new brokerage such as finding a brokerage firm with a better commission split, but here are some key aspects:
- The company culture and how well it matches their personal values
- The agent support infrastructure, including training, marketing, technology tools, and lead generation systems
- Compensation model – commission splits, caps, additional income streams, equity through stock options or stock awards
- The company’s brand and the types of properties they deal in
- Company size – how many agents are with the brokerage
- Location – whether the brokerage is local, regional, or national
Once you have a list of brokerages that fit your criteria, it’s time to start contacting them.
But be careful! You don’t want to contact too many brokerages because it will make you look desperate and unprofessional. Start by contacting no more than three brokerages and then narrow it down from there.
If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to your friends and family for referrals. They may know of a great brokerage that would be a good fit for you.
But the bottom line is, you first have to be crystal clear on your reason for wanting to change brokerages in order to know what you are looking for in a new brokerage. Once you are clear on that, it’s just a matter of finding the right fit.
Knowing why you want to change brokerages is the first step.
2) Looking for a Brokerage: How to Find The Perfect Real Estate Brokerage
The next step, after you have figured out exactly why you are leaving your current brokerage, is to find the perfect new brokerage.
This process can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways for agents to find new brokerages and vet them before making a decision.
Here are some of the most common methods:
– Referrals from Personal Network – friends, family, colleagues, etc.
– Social Media – Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Twitter chats, etc.
– Online Brokerage Directories – websites like Real Estate Professional (REALTOR) Magazine’s Find A Pro site or Inman’s Agent Listings directory or the national association of realtors
– Online Forums – Asking for Recommendations on AgentOnline Forums Such as BiggerPockets or your local Realtor board’s website
– Google Search – Searching for different brokerages online
– Agent Referrals – Asking Other Agents at Other Brokerages if they like their Brokerage
Once you’ve identified a few brokerages that fit your criteria, it’s time to start contacting them. But don’t just contact any of them! Only reach out to brokerages that you are genuinely interested in.
A great way to look for a new brokerage is by asking other real estate agents how their experience is at their current brokerage. This will help you get a feel for the company culture directly from a primary source and see how well it matches your personal values.
This is also a great strategy if you have already had a few prospective brokerages that you want to join. Find an agent at that brokerage and ask about their experience with the company. That way, you will know exactly what an agent thinks of the company.
Think of it this way. Brokerages make money from the production of agents. So in a way, agents are the consumers of the product or value that each brokerage produces. By asking other agents what their experience is like at a brokerage, you are essentially asking an existing consumer for a review, just like how you would look at product reviews on Amazon before buying an appliance.
Remember also to look for a brokerage before you leave your current brokerage so that your license status does not go into inactive status. This way you will keep your active real estate license and can continue to work with clients immediately
3) Informing Your Current Leads and Clients: How to Move Brokerages without Losing Clients
Now that you’ve made the decision to move brokerages, it’s time to let your current clients know.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to be professional and courteous throughout this entire process. You never know when a past client may become a future referral source or contact.
There are a few different ways you can go about letting your contacts know:
- Email – The Most Common Method
- Phone Call – Personal Touch But Can Be Time Consuming
- Social Media Posts – Keep It Short And Sweet
Email is the most common way to inform people of your move because it’s easy and convenient for both the agent and the client. However, some agents find that making a personal phone call is more effective because it allows them to explain things in detail and answer any questions the client may have.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to provide all of the details in your initial communication. You can always follow up with additional information as needed.
Social media posts are a great way to keep everyone updated on what’s going on without taking up too much time. Just make sure they are short, sweet, and to-the-point.
No matter how you decide to inform your clients of your move, be sure to include the following information:
- Your Name
- The Brokerage You Are Moving To
- Contact Information for Your New Brokerage
- How They Can Contact You at Your New Brokerage
Be sure to keep in mind that you may not be able to continue working with all of your current clients. Some agents find that they have to let some clients and listings go because their current brokerage owns the rights to those clients from their contract and does not have an exit clause for the agents. However, this isn’t always the case, but don’t worry if you have to let some transactions go!
You may miss out on a listing or a buyer, but you can always nurture your relationship with that client so that in the future they will refer business to you at your new brokerage or use you as their agent for future transactions.
Just remember to stay professional and courteous throughout the entire process. It’s important to maintain a positive relationship with past clients even after making a move like this. Thank them for their business and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.
4) Put in Your Notice: How to Tell Your Broker that You are Leaving Without Burning Bridges
One of the most difficult things that a real estate agent who wants to switch brokerages has to do is to tell their current brokerage that they are leaving.
It can be a tricky situation because you don’t want to burn bridges with your current broker, but you also want to start working at your new brokerage. Remember that as a real estate agent you own your own business and your broker is not your boss, they should be ADDING to your business.
There are a few things that you can do to make this process easier for both you and your broker:
– Keep It Short And Sweet
– Be Professional And Courteous
– Explain Why You Are Leaving
– Offer To Help Out During The Transition Period
Keep it short and sweet. When informing your broker of your decision, keep the email or conversation brief and to the point. There’s no need to go into detail about the list of things you hate about your brokerage. Simply state that you are moving to a new brokerage and let them know your contact information at your new firm for future referrals.
Be professional and courteous. Remember that you are leaving because you have chosen to move brokerages, not because there is something wrong with your current broker or team leader. You want to leave on good terms so that you can maintain a positive relationship with your former broker.
Explain why you are leaving. It’s always helpful for your broker to understand why you are making this change. Maybe you are looking for more opportunities or feel like you have hit a ceiling at your current brokerage. Whatever the reason may be, explain it in a respectful way.
Offer to help out during the transition period. If possible, offer to help out with the transition process by forwarding any pending transactions to your new broker, or by providing contact information for any of your current clients who are under contract with your brokerage. This will help make the process easier for everyone involved.
If you have ever been a part of a breakup, then you know that severing a relationship is no easy task. Many times, agents end up changing their minds and staying at their current brokerage even in a bad situation simply because they are too afraid to leave their broker.
Although it is an extremely difficult part of the process, always remember that because you are an independent contractor your broker can not force you to stay or take any disciplinary action.
In fact, they have to release your license if you request to leave. So just remember why you wanted to leave in the first place and carry on knowing that it is a business decision that will yield you a better future.
If you are a broker associate of the company you currently work at, make sure to review any and all contracts you have signed with your partners and employing broker to make sure you are clear to be released from the company before you try to make a move.
5) Counteroffer: What to do if Your Broker tries to Better Your Terms when You Leave their Brokerage
After you have told your broker that you are going to leave, they will probably try to give you better terms in order to keep you at their brokerage, especially if you are a good agent that generates a lot of revenue for them.
If your broker offers you better terms such as giving you a higher commission split in order to convince you to stay at the brokerage, it can be a difficult decision to make.
On one hand, you may feel like you are getting what you want by staying with the company while receiving all of the benefits that you were looking for in a new brokerage.
But on the other hand, you may feel like this is just a way for them to keep you under their thumb and prevent you from making the move to a new firm.
No matter which side of the fence you are on, it is important to weigh your options carefully before making a decision.
Talk to your friends or colleagues who have gone through a similar situation and get their advice on what to do.
It is important to remember though, that once you have expressed your desire to your broker to leave, you are not able to take it back. Whatever new terms they might offer you might seem like a good deal upfront, but it is most likely just a last-ditch effort to keep you at their brokerage.
Think of it this way: why is your broker only now just offering you these terms, after you have expressed your desire to leave their brokerage? Why weren’t these benefits being offered to you before when they were not at risk of losing you? Is it because they care about you and your business? Or is it because they only care about the revenue that you bring to their company?
Also, many agents might not know this but it is actually extremely difficult for a broker to actually guarantee special benefits. While you can get certain things set in stone through contracts such as commission rates, other less concrete benefits such as free marketing and leads are virtually impossible to lock in.
6) Transfer Your Listings: How to Transfer Your Current Listings to Your New Brokerage
Once you have decided to leave your current brokerage and have expressed that desire to your broker, it is time to start thinking about transferring your listings and listing agreements with clients over to your new firm.
The good news is that this process is a lot easier than you might think. All you need to do is provide the contact information for any of your pending transactions to your new broker and they will take care of the rest.
This includes forwarding any leads or inquiries from potential buyers or sellers over to your new firm, as well as handling all paperwork related to the transfer of the listing.
It is important to note though that you are still responsible for completing all paperwork and tasks associated with the sale or purchase of the property until it has been transferred over to your new brokerage.
In some cases, the new broker may also want you to provide them with a list of all of your current listings so that they can start marketing them as soon as possible.
As for your old brokerage, you would need to ask them whether or not they would be willing to release any of your listings since all listing agreements are signed between the client and the broker. Most of the time brokerages will let agents take their listings to a new brokerage for a referral fee. This is because your broker most likely has no idea who your client is and would have a hard time taking over as their new agent, especially if they don’t do any production themselves.
In this case ask your current designated broker and new broker or their support staff if there is a listing transfer form that can help make the process easier.
Sometimes, brokerages will keep their listings. This means that they will refuse to release the listings to you and your new firm. Remember that this is 100% legal and in compliance since all listing agreements are technically owned by the broker, not the sales agent. This means your broker has the legal right to keep any listings if they choose.
In this case, you can try to negotiate a referral fee for yourself or simply leave the matter alone and start fresh with your book of business at your new brokerage.
This is a process that should only take a few days, and your old broker will most likely be more than happy to cooperate in order to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved.
If for some reason there are any problems or complications with transferring your listings over to your new firm, don’t hesitate to reach out to your new brokerage for help. The last thing you want is for this process to turn into a headache and delay the inevitable switchover.
Just remember to stay calm and professional throughout the entire ordeal.
7) Transfer Your Book of Business: How to Transfer your Book of Business from Your Old Brokerage to your New Brokerage
Once you have transferred your current listings, the next step is transferring your book of business over to your new firm.
This process should be much easier than transferring your listings.
First, you have to contact your principal broker and find out whether or not they have the rights to your leads and client data. If you have been using an in-house proprietary real estate CRM or database management system provided by your broker, then this means that your leads and contacts belong to your brokerage unless you have backed them up yourself.
If you are able to keep your leads/database, then all you would need to do is export them from your current database management system and re-upload them into the CRM that you will be using at your new brokerage. There are many online services that can help you do that.
Most agents who use third-party tools such as KVcore for their database don’t have to make any changes at all if they choose to continue using the same system at their new brokerage.
Some firms will require their agents to sign a non-compete agreement which forbids them from working for any other real estate company in the same market for a certain amount of time. This means that if you decide to leave before your contract is up, you may be liable to pay damages to your old firm.
It is important to weigh all of your options before making any decisions and to contact an attorney if you have any questions about the legality of your situation if that is the case.
8) License Transfer: How to Transfer Your Real Estate License to Your New Brokerage
The last official step for real estate agents who want to change brokerages is to transfer their real estate license to their new brokerage.
This can easily be done by filling out a simple form and submitting it to your new brokerage. Once you notify your old brokerage that you are officially leaving, they are legally obligated to release your active license.
Your new firm should also provide you with all of the necessary paperwork and instructions on how to complete the process and coordinate everything necessary with your state’s real estate commission.
Some states might require you to take an ethics course or a small transfer fee in order to transfer your license, so make sure that you are aware of this before completing the process. Also remember that transferring brokerages should not take a long time since most agents do have active clients that they are working with during the process.
Usually your state licensing department will have an online portal where you can check the status of your license and transfer your license from one brokerage to another. You may also check to see if you have an expired license, an inactive license, what the ce requirements and education courses are for you to reactivate or keep your license active, and more.
It is important to note that some brokerages may not accept agents who do not have a clean record or any disciplinary actions taken against them by their previous brokerage. If your license history shows that your license is and always have been in good standing then you should not have any issues.
The best way to avoid any problems is by being upfront with your new firm about any issues that may have arisen in the past. This will show that you are willing to learn from your mistakes and that you are taking responsibility for your actions.
The next step is to go through the onboarding process at your new brokerage, this shouldn’t be much different than the onboarding process that you had at your old brokerage.
Onboarding at a new brokerage and getting used to the new systems can be challenging, especially for agents who are very active and busy. Make sure you have a good picture of what your onboarding process looks like before you make the decision to join a brokerage so you know what to expect.
9) Create New Marketing Materials: How to Create New Marketing Materials at Your New Brokerage
Once you have onboarded at your new brokerage, the first thing you would want to do is to update all of your marketing materials.
This includes your business cards, website, signs, flyers, and any other marketing materials that you are using.
Your new brokerage should provide you with a branding guide and/or an agent template kit to help get you started and keep you in compliance with local real estate advertising laws.
If you are feeling creative, you can also create your own designs that reflect the brand of your new firm.
It is important to make sure that all of your branding is consistent across all platforms so that potential clients will be able to identify you as an agent from your new brokerage.
You should also update your social media profiles to reflect your new affiliation and start promoting yourself as a real estate agent from your new brokerage.
A good rule of thumb for agents changing brokerages is to order their print advertising such as signs, flyers, and door hangers first before focusing their time and energy on changing their website and social media. This is because print marketing usually takes longer to produce and deliver, while digital marketing can be changed instantaneously.
10) Starting at Your New Brokerage: How to Have Success Immediately at Your New Brokerage Without Losing a Step
Now that you have settled into your brand new real estate brokerage, it is time to hit the ground running and LAUNCH your real estate business with your new business model!
Your first goal should be to start building relationships with your new colleagues and develop a strong sphere of influence. It is also important to get involved in as many activities and events as possible so that you can make a name for yourself at your new firm.
One way to achieve this is by joining one or more of the brokerage’s committees. This will give you an opportunity to network with other agents, learn about the inner workings of your brokerage, and contribute ideas that can help improve operations.
You should also take advantage of any training or coaching opportunities that are available to you at your new brokerage. This will help you stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and best practices.
Most importantly, don’t forget to market yourself as a real estate agent from your new brokerage. Start by sending out announcements about your move to all of your contacts and make sure that your branding is consistent across all platforms. This will help you establish yourself as an agent at your new firm and continue building upon the success that you had at your previous brokerage.
Is it Time to Change Brokerages?
Now that you have a better understanding of what is involved in changing brokerages, you can ask yourself the following questions to help determine if it is time for you to make the switch:
- Am I happy with the services and support that my brokerage is providing me through technology and staff member access?
- Has my brokerage been supportive of my business growth?
- Are there any major changes happening at my current brokerage that I need to be aware of?
- Do I feel like I am able to grow as an agent at my current brokerage?
- Do I have a good relationship with my manager/coach at my current brokerage?
- Does my brokerage have a poor reputation?
- Are there any administrative rules that affect my business at my current company?
- Is my brokerage only operational in the United States when I have international clients and business opportunities that I can leverage?
- Can I CONTINUE to run a successful business in my current situation?
If you answer yes to most or all of these questions, then it may be time for you to consider making a change. Remember, it is always important to do your research and weigh all of your options before making a decision.
Switching brokerages can be a daunting task, but with the right planning and preparation, you can make the transition as smooth as possible. By following these steps, you will be on your way to success at your new brokerage in no time! Good luck!
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