Keeping up with a changing industry
The events of recent years have been impactful to businesses of all kinds. Some companies have had to completely reinvent themselves just to stay in business and others were not so lucky and had to close their doors. Businesses that rely on personal relationships were particularly hard hit and the real estate industry is a good example of that kind of business. We depend on human interaction and relationship development, so change had to happen fast and at many levels.
Brokers and independent real estate agents had to find ways to sell real estate without those in-person interactions that help build trust and confidence. We have had to learn and embrace new technologies like Zoom and Facebook Live that allow us to meet with our customers virtually, anywhere in the world, and in some cases even helping buyers to purchase property sight unseen. We have had to implement more virtual marketing systems like Matterport 3D tours to make sure our sellers were getting the best possible exposure on the Internet. Whether we like it or not many of these changes are here to stay and adapting your business should be considered a long term strategy.
Our market here in South Florida is still faced with limited inventory and unprecedented buyer demand, causing additional challenges for real estate professionals. In order to grow in this thriving market brokers have had to refocus their energies on efficient processes related to offer management for listings and offer submission strategies for buyers. Working with sellers and buyers in this “multiple offer” marketplace is now much more process driven and requires technology and broker support for maximum efficiency.
Change can be a great thing and many agents are looking for a new Broker to help them grow and succeed in this new real estate market. Technology, support and opportunities for growth are some of the reasons agents are moving their business. Not all brokerages are created equal and agents certainly have plenty of options when considering a change. The question is, which brokerage is best for your business in this new era of real estate?
Brokerage Concepts for Every Agent
Traditional “commission split” brokerages have been around for many years. Agents split their commission with their broker and in exchange they typically receive training and support services. Many of the large national franchises operate on this model and charge additional franchise fees so they can support large marketing departments and buy expensive television advertising. In recent years new 100% commission brokerages have emerged offering agents to keep 100% of their commissions for very low monthly fees and/or low transaction fees. While this sounds attractive for some agents to keep all of their commissions, consider they also have to pay for all their own expenses. Another model that has been around for some time, but is getting more attention with the increased popularity of the Internet is the discount brokerage. Most of these companies offer limited services to their customers by only charging low flat fees to list their property in the MLS, often leaving sellers to fend for themselves in the rest of the transaction. Agents working in these companies offer much less service to their customers and need to rely on higher transaction volume to offset the lower commissions. Let me be clear that there is nothing wrong with any of these business models and the diversity of options in our business provides agents and their customers with plenty of options. Navigating these options and choosing the right path for your business requires answering some important questions.
Questions to Ask Your Prospective Broker
Before choosing a new broker make sure you are asking yourself and your prospective new broker the following questions.
Q: Do you offer your agents training and support? Is support available 7 days a week?
A: Training and support are not “one size fits all”. Every agent is different and support needs vary from agent to agent depending on workload, experience and your business goals. Everyone needs support from time to time and you should be able to access training when you need it, especially on new technologies and in house systems. Make sure you can get the appropriate assistance you need from the broker, management and support staff when you need it. In this fast moving market you should be able to reach somebody that can help you 7 days a week.
Q: Do you have a professional office space available to me when I need it?
A: Many agents have learned to work from home and the latest virtual and cloud based systems allow us to perform tasks remotely. However, you should still have the option of going to a professional office space for training, support and meeting customers when necessary.
Q: Is your brokerage paperless?
A: Many brokerages have gone paperless in recent years, but make sure you understand what this means in the brokerage you are considering. Can you upload and manage your required paperwork from home or from your phone? Can you get paid your commissions at closing via wire or direct deposit?
Q: What technology do you offer?
A: The amount of new technology in real estate is astounding. There are literally thousands of CRMs, marketing platforms and transaction management systems available to brokers and individual agents. The suite of technology you choose for your business is critical and could make or break your career in real estate. Some brokers will offer free systems, some will charge extra fees and others may offer a blend of options. Make sure you ask your new broker for a list of available technology solutions.
Q: Do you provide leads?
A: Some brokerages offer lead programs and others make you fend for yourself. You may have an extensive sphere of influence that generates plenty of leads, but everyone has highs and lows in this business. Its good to know there are leads and lead generating platforms available if you need them.
Q: Do you offer any additional services?
A: Some brokerages take a “one size fits all” approach, others offer no services at all and some provide “a la carte” services for additional fees. Very few agents are good at everything and many just don’t have time to perform certain tasks. Do you need help with transaction management or marketing? Make sure you ask what is available to you.
Q: How does your commission structure work? Do you offer different plans? Can you help me to understand how much money I can make at your brokerage?
A: While commission structure shouldn’t be the most important factor when choosing a brokerage, it is important that you take the time to understand the fees you will be paying. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for in most cases. Keeping more of your commissions won’t matter if you aren’t getting to the closing table. Some experienced agents may be attracted to non-traditional 100% commission structures where they pay monthly fees and/or closing fees. Others may like the traditional commission split model that doesn’t have the burden of monthly expenses or closing fees. Some companies offer just one plan while others have different plans to choose from. Your broker should be able to sit down with you and help you create a business plan including how much money you can expect to make within the commission plan you choose.
Our Approach at By The Sea Realty
There is a reason there are so many different brokerage concepts available and you should take the time to determine which company is best for you, for your customers and for your real estate business. After all, it is “your” business and finding the right brokerage to support you and to help you grow is critical to your success. We are certainly not a good fit for everybody, but we are proud to offer options that work for many agents, no matter what your business needs or level of experience you have. Here are some highlights of what we offer. Please reach out to setup an interview and tour of our facilities. Whether you just got your license or you are a seasoned professional, we welcome agents of all experience levels.
By The Sea Realty
- We offer support 7 days a week and ongoing training on various topics including the basics of selling real estate, advanced marketing techniques and the latest technology.
- We are completely paperless and offer direct deposit or direct authorization at closing to get you paid quickly.
- Our class A office space is available for customer meetings, one-one-one meetings with the broker, as well as training and support when you need it. All scheduled trainings and meetings are offered virtually and in-person and private Zoom meetings may be scheduled with the broker or sales manager.
- We offer all of our agents the best technology available including Salesforce CRM to manage your sphere, Cloud CMA for the best listing presentations available, and Google Workspace for business basics. Ask us for a complete list of available technologies.
- We also offer transaction management, concierge services for sellers, customizable marketing materials, “Featured Property” websites for your listings, and creative customizable newsletters and postcards to share with your database.
- We offer several commission plans including no fee options as well as a 100% option. The flexibility of our commission structure allows you to start your business here, grow you business and keep you business here.
If you are looking to make a change consider us at By The Sea Realty. We want you to join our team and stay with our team!
For more information about our company and to schedule a meeting with us visit our Careers Page and request a new agent package.