I was at my old house earlier today. We sold it a little while ago and I was just by picking up some furniture. My old neighbour next door wanted to have a chat and then the folks two doors down wandered over too. We talked about our kids and cars and jobs, catching up after a long cold winter. Conversation turned to real estate as conversation often does when Realtors are around.
I didn’t bring up the topic. I don’t work for Re/Max. I don’t live and breath real estate. I work for another brokerage, but I’ve been wondering again lately how important brokerages really are, especially for someone like me.
How important is the brokerage your agent works for?
There are a lot of brokerages out there. The top tier would include: Re/Max, Royal LePage, Century 21, in my opinion. Then there are Coldwell Banker and Kellor Williams, not as well known or understood, but ubiquitous. There is a regional brokerage – Peak and an independent – Team. I always get those two mixed up. And there is Homelife and more and more boutique and discount brokerages, too many to mention.
The question is, “do consumers care”?
The answer: I don’t think so. I think it is more about the agent and the relationship than it is about the brokerage. Case in point, when talking with my old neighbours early today. I asked one, “Are you still at Blackberry”? (He is). And he asked me, “How’s real estate”? I identify his job by the company, but he identifies mine by the industry.
I’ve written many times about how consumers misunderstand real estate. Questions to the chat widget are evidence of this. Over the years, I’ve had several people ask me, “do you work for a broker”? It’s hard to explain to people the relationship between agents and brokers.
We are like serfs tilling the master’s soil.
Agents work for brokerages. We have to hang our license somewhere. But other than the sign on the front door (and your neighbour’s front lawn) and the logo on my business card and perhaps the corporate culture, brokerages aren’t important. Brokerages are mostly irrelevant for agents like me.
1) After about three years in any job, most people pretty much know how to best do their job (otherwise they are out of it). Real estate is no different. In your first three years, you join the training, you learn from other agents, you have questions for the broker. You’re a newbee. You need support.
I’ve been an agent since 2007. I’m pretty much through all that.
2) Independence. Business people, entrepreneurs, sales people tend to be very independently minded. I’m no different. There are a lot of ways to succeed in the business of real estate. You can’t do everything, but you have to do something. Business doesn’t just come to you. You have to find your niche. Once you do that, the badge of the brokerage becomes even less important.