Is the Grass Any Greener? | The Zebra Blog

Is the Grass Any Greener?

Here is a question that I’ve been asked a lot in recent months: “Denise, I’m thinking about leaving my brokerage for a different one. Should I make a move?”

It’s understandable that you may be thinking about moving to a different office. Granted, the past few years have been extremely challenging. But before you take the big leap, I want you to ask yourself why you’re thinking about moving.

Is it for the right reasons or for the wrong reasons? Do you really think the grass will be greener on the other side?

Let’s talk about some of the most common reasons that might lead you to switch brokerages:

1. You think you’re paying too much.

True, maybe you are. But, maybe paying less at another brokerage would be a step backwards.

Case in point: One of my clients was offered what appeared to be an amazing deal to go to another brokerage in his community. He was all set to go when I told him to think about it some more. The other brokerage was on a recruiting drive. They were making the same offer to any agent who walked in the door. I asked him, “Is that how you want to be treated after all the years you’ve put in? Do you want to be treated just like everyone else?”

This burst his balloon a little bit—which he needed. He had become enamored with the idea, based on nothing but paying less in fees. But paying less isn’t necessarily the solution to all problems. You have to look deeper into the brokerage and determine if it fits with your own current success level and your goals for the future.

Many agents who think about leaving find out, after doing some research, that a move would actually cost them money. In fact you should think carefully before moving, as every move comes with a price. You have to carefully analyze the pros and cons before you make a final decision.

What you may not realize is that while some brokerages appear to be able to offer a better deal, in actuality if you are moving to increase business – and you become more productive – you may actually end up paying more in the long run because of your increased production.

Another client of mine created a spreadsheet clearly outlining the total fees another brokerage would charge if he were to change offices. In the process of doing his research, he realized that if he continued to do business the way he was doing business he would end up paying more. His comment to me was, “Denise, moving to the other office is only a great deal for someone who is not very productive and isn’t going to make much money.” He decided to stay put.

Paying too much is really the last reason to consider switching brokerages. If everything else in your current office is going well and your only reason for moving is money-driven, that’s usually a recipe for disappointment.

2. You are not happy with something your managing broker did.

You may be surprised at my response to this. I say, “Good! I’m glad you’re not happy with everything your managing broker does.”

What I mean by that is that if a managing broker spends all of his/her time running a business based on trying to make everyone in the office happy, they are not very effective. A good managing broker isn’t afraid of making tough decisions, even if it means ruffling a few feathers. There are times when it is necessary to implement things that agents don’t immediately like.

Now, there is an exception. If your managing broker is doing something unethical or illegal, then you do have a valid reason to leave that brokerage. This is a whole different ballgame. In my opinion, it’s the number one reason to leave. If you’re working for someone with low morals, then it only reflects badly on you.

3. Someone else is enticing you with a better offer.

It’s fun to be wooed, isn’t it? There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing that someone out there admires and respects your work enough to make you a very nice offer.

But beware. Enticement can be a trick. It may just be part of an ordinary recruiting campaign. Make sure that if you’re being wooed, whatever you are being promised is more than what is being offered in general. The key in this situation is to talk to agents who have long experience with that managing broker. Find out how they truly feel. Dig deep and don’t decide based solely on how things look on the surface.

4. Your production is down so you feel you could make more money at another brokerage.

Production is a very big reason agents switch brokerages. But don’t blame your company or office until you’re sure you’re doing everything you can do to make more money.

Don’t make the mistake of blaming the brokerage first. Instead, look yourself in the eye and ask if there’s more you could be doing. (Hint: there usually is.)

When you leave your brokerage, it actually costs you money. Why? Because not all of your clients are going to happily make that move with you. Many people stay loyal to a brand, even more than a person. It’s not necessarily fair, since you’re the person who has done all the work for them, but it’s nonetheless true. Be aware of this fact.

5. You’re not happy with the people in your office.

This is irrelevant to you and your business. So what if you don’t like them? Simply polish up your communications skills and learn how to deal with conflict a little better.

I treat every person I meet with respect and dignity, but that doesn’t mean I love every one of them. If I had switched brokerages every time somebody rubbed me the wrong way, I would have worked for many different brokerages. It’s just plain silly to let people get to you like that. In real estate, it’s critical to hold yourself at a higher level. You’re the professional.

Now, what if you have a combination of all five of the above?

Then, I’d say yes, in that case you may want to consider an enticing offer. But before you accept anything – instead of just looking at the brokerage, look at yourself instead.

What is it that you are responsible for? What is keeping you from getting to the next level of your business? Before you blame others, look inward to see if there’s something you can fix right where you are.

It’s always in your best interest to take time to consider all of the issues that surround moving brokerages. It’s a big decision. It’s not one that you should take lightly, or make when you are frustrated or angry. Do your homework and make a change only if it’s the best business decision for you.

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI

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6 Responses to “Is the Grass Any Greener?”

  1. Kath Hawkes says:

    I have been reading you weekly email faithfully for nearly two years. I really don’t like the new format. I don’t want to click to read more and then have to re-read to find where I am. It looks pretty, but I don’t find it functional.

    • Denise Lones says:

      Hi Kath –
      Thank you for your feedback! We are working on some improvements where there will be more navigation at the end of the actual article, testimonial, information piece, etc, so the clicking will happen on the current page you are on. I hope you find these improvements will help your navigation experience. Please stay tuned!

  2. Good article. I know people who have left and I think it is usually money driven–paying too much, not producing enough.

    • Denise Lones says:

      Thank you for your comments, Maggie! I encourage agents to do an in-depth cost/benefit analysis before making any move. It is also important to consider the cost value of the services an agent may currently be receiving, and what that cost may be when they have to pay for those services out-of-pocket if the brokerage they are moving to does not have those services. It is important to have the right brokerage fit on a number of levels.

  3. Jim Bilbao says:

    Is there a language for describing the most important traits of variation in brokerage business models? You mentioned fixed fee and variable fees tied to revenue. Is that it?

    • Denise Lones says:

      There are many different brokerage business models but the two most common are the fixed fee or the commission split. In the past couple of years there have been some new models being introduced but the two listed are still the most common.

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