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Agent/Broker Relationships: Who Wears the Pants?

Brandon Rodriguez

Brandon Rodriguez

By Brandon Rodriguez

When I first became an agent just shy over 7 years ago, I was a novice and this dichotomy was not apparent to me.  I was under the impression brokers were in charge.  They gave you a desk space or office, nice decorated conference rooms, brochures, and you could even do desk duty for them.  Not to mention nice team meetings.  I am positive back in the 80s and 90s this was the case.

REALTORS(R), with their demand of technology and different commission structures, have changed everything in real estate.  My dream of being a broker making lots of money put a glimmer in my eyes and a huge Kool-Aid smile!  I could not have been so wrong.  Brokers are competing for agents to join their firm.  Buyers and seller rarely want to go to an agent’s office to sign papers because we live in “real time,” meaning, they do not want to waste their time and gas to go sign papers.  They’d rather you fax (becoming obsolete in itself), e-mail (also becoming a nascence when you have to scan) and the most preferred way is something like DocuSign (not endorsing any company here, but I use them).  “Click, click, send.”

The real estate sales people, who are more tech-savvy, rarely need to go the broker’s office anymore.  At times I have heard, “I don’t know why my broker wants me at the office. I have everything I need at home.”  Walk-in traffic is becoming unheard of since buyers and sellers do most of their hunting online.  This is where tech savvy practitioners know how to capture the majority of their clients. 

So what is the relationship between and agent toward their broker?  For some agents, nothing. They just need a place to “hang their license” and get a good commission split because they do everything online. Other agents use their brokers to bounce ideas off and review their transactions. However, those agents soon become very independent and eventually don’t do that anymore either.

I have even seen some agents bounce from broker to broker looking for a better commission split or more technology.  I do not recommend a bouncing agent.  REALTORS(R) like the rest of us are looking for the next best thing and making more money while doing what they love.

Brokers role in this relationship is very tricky. Since the broker receives compensation from sales or a monthly charge they must keep their agents happy so that they do not loose them to a competitor which provides more.

As brokers, we all feel that we have the best to offer. But in reality there is always someone better than us out there.  We must try to understand the REALTOR(R)’s needs.  We no longer hold a strong arm and they no longer need us except to hang a license, to be honest.  Our jobs are less of a boss and more of a business partner.  If you offer more to salespeople, it means less money out of their pocket and you might keep them.  At the same time, we must balance money coming out of our pockets.  I takes a huge amount of effort to keep REALTORS(R), but it does not take much effort for another broker to recruit your REALTOR(R).

So as a broker, what should we be looking at?  Latest technology, higher commission splits/revenue sharing, and most importantly REALTOR(R) appreciation — they must feel needed and wanted.  If you look at REALTORS(R) as a number, that is how they will feel and leave your firm.

Much like our industry, we need to build a relationship and keep the relationship.  I have seen many times where a broker recruits an agent makes them feel warm and fuzzy for a week or two and then that practitioner hears nothing from the Broker.

So Brandon, who wears the pants?  Without a doubt, the REALTORS(R). They are our bread and butter.  REALTORS(R), along with technology have changed the traditional ways of real estate.

Brandon Rodriguez is the principal broker of BrandonMichael & Associates located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Visit his Web site: www.bmatexas.com.

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