As a real estate agent, you’re always looking for other opportunities. One of those opportunities might just be working for a new broker. According to the National Association of Realtors, a Realtor spends about three years with each broker. For this reason, you might be wondering how to tell your real estate broker you are leaving.
In this post, I’ll share all the steps you should take to leave your current brokerage, and we’ll take a deeper look at how exactly you should tell your broker that you plan to leave.
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Make an Assessment: Are You Really Ready to Leave?
It’s true; most Realtors are very quick to leave their current broker. But that doesn’t mean it’s always the best decision.
You’ve likely forged very real connections at your current brokerage, as well as developing your career.
Before you go, consider what you stand to gain by leaving. Have you spoken to your broker about any of your concerns? It’s still possible that you might be able to get the things you want out of the broker you have.
Nothing is perfect. If you leave your current broker for another one, there’s no guarantee you’ll get everything you need elsewhere. It’s possible you could leave one situation only to find yourself in the same situation elsewhere.
But that doesn’t mean you should linger in a sub-optimal environment. If there are things that you want that your broker just can’t provide, then that’s it — it’s time to move on.
As a Realtor, you aren’t an employee. You don’t have the same legal protections as an employee, and by that same token, you also don’t have the same responsibilities. You are allowed to leave at any time. But that doesn’t mean there may not be consequences.
Don’t Burn Any Bridges With Your Current Team
If you’ve been frustrated by how your current broker does things, you might feel the temptation to leave them high and dry. But while you could just walk right out the door without giving them any reasons, it’s usually a bad idea.
There will almost undoubtedly come a time when you need help from your former broker or an agent that still works at your former brokerage. You might work with them as a buyer’s agent. Your new brokerage could end up merged with them. You could eventually even choose to go back.
For that reason, it’s best to leave your real estate brokerage on a high note. Let them know what they’ve done for you in terms of opportunities and education. With the average real estate agent changing brokers so frequently, they shouldn’t take switching brokerages personally — as long as you don’t make it personal.
Save It for an In-Person Meeting
Real estate isn’t an industry where you can drop a typewritten letter and run. Because the real estate industry is highly personal, it’s generally best to discuss your departure through an in-person meeting.
If you’re wondering how to tell your real estate broker you are leaving, a face-to-face meeting is the best, most respectful way to do so. However, you won’t have to worry about this if your brokerage is cloud-based and all its activities are held online and through video chat.
When you talk to your broker, be clear about the fact that you’re leaving and when. If asked, you can outline the new and exciting opportunities ahead of you. But you don’t need to justify why you’re going, explain yourself, or negotiate with them.
Your current broker may offer you more than your new broker if you stay on. But be cautious if you’re thinking about taking that offer.
The truth is that most brokers may try to keep you on temporarily by enticing you with more. But at least some of them will be planning on ending their contract with you and replacing you with someone more affordable and more willing to stay.
Collect Your Client Data
While this can vary depending on the brokerage, most Realtors own their client data. It’s a bad idea to enter into any contract that doesn’t give you complete control over this information. Before you leave, collect all the information you have from your past clients, current clients, and even prospective clients. You may need to export it from your CRM software.
A Realtor isn’t just a salesperson. And often, a new brokerage will expect that the Realtor will bring their business with them. If you have a potential buyer or seller that you’re working with, you should let them know right away that you’re leaving.
It’s equally important to tell your current clients that you’re leaving your broker so they know where to reach you.
For the most part, any extant transactions will still apply to your previous broker, not your next one. No one wants to find out that you’ve switched brokers in the middle of a major real estate transaction.
Take a Look at Your Contract
Before you take steps to leave, look at the independent contractor agreement you signed when you first joined your brokerage. It will likely include topics such as your real estate commission — the amount you get from all closing costs. It may also include clauses about having to stay for a certain amount of time.
In addition, if your managing broker paid for your continuing education, for instance, you might have to pay that back.
Your contract outlines what you can take with you and what you might have to give back to them. But nothing in the agreement can prevent you from leaving. Your brokerage has to hand you your license in a reasonable timeframe once you say that you’re going to leave. If they hesitate, you can file a complaint.
Prepare Your Clients for Your Move
Once you have told your broker that you’re leaving, it’s time to start prepping your clients. Inform your clients that you’re intending on moving to a new firm.
Note that it’s very likely that your current broker will own any existing real estate listings you have. Though you’re the listing agent, it’s usually written into your contract that the listing will follow the broker.
Some brokers will let a real estate professional take their current listings with them. Sometimes, you can pay a referral fee to remain on the deals that you’re already arranging. But that can be expensive. You can talk to your brokerage about what they expect.
Give Appropriate Notice — And Time It Right
When it comes to how to tell your real estate broker you are leaving, it’s best to give them appropriate notice in advance. As an independent contractor, which a real estate salesperson is, you actually aren’t required to give notice. But it’s a good idea if you don’t want to burn any bridges. Your contract or onboarding documents should outline exactly how much it costs.
That being said, you don’t need to tell your broker the second you decide that you’re leaving. Instead, you should time it right. Usually, that’s going to be after you’ve completed the majority of your closings.
It’s easier to leave when you’ve already resolved most of your pending transactions. This way, you avoid spending money on costly referral fees. Some brokers will let you just leave free and clear. But even then, it can be disruptive to do so in the middle of pending transactions.
Avoid Telling People You Will Leave Before Your Official Notice
It’s always best for your broker to hear that you’re leaving from you — not from office gossip. If you tell your colleagues and clients in advance, your broker may feel like you’ve left them out of the loop. Further, they may decline to send you clients because they know you’re about to leave — even if you’re not going for some time.
Until you hand in your notice, it’s always possible that you could change your mind. Before you give your official notice, you should have another broker’s offer in hand. If an offer is rescinded, you don’t want to be stuck in a place that knows you’re about to go.
Don’t Feel Bad About Taking a New Opportunity
As a Realtor, you’re an independent contractor. You’re a free agent beyond the contracts you have with your residential or commercial real estate broker.
While you may feel you owe your current brokerage a lot (they may have helped you build your client base, and you may have been with them for some time), you don’t owe them the rest of your career.
The world of real estate is a pragmatic one. There will always come a time when you need to move on to new, exciting opportunities. As a real estate agent, you are always on the move.
As a new agent, you may need to work with a broker that doesn’t offer you much by way of perks. But as you become more experienced in the real estate business, you also become more in demand. Finding another broker is one way to improve your success as an agent — and often, get a better commission.
Knowing When to Move On
So, how do you know when it’s the right time to move on from your current broker?
A successful real estate agent is always looking at what’s out there — and always looking for a better deal.
It could be that you believe you could make more somewhere else. It could be that the company’s culture has changed and you no longer feel aligned with it. Or you might have just received a better offer.
You’ll know when it’s the right time to move on, much like you know when to sell a house — when you get the offer that’s best for your client. But in this case, it will be the offer that’s best for you.
Final Thoughts on How to Tell Your Real Estate Broker You Are Leaving
If you’re wondering how to tell your real estate broker you are leaving, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Leaving your brokerage is common, and many agents move around before finding the right brokerage for them.
Want to explore your options? Check out my post on the six best real estate companies to work for.
Have you switched brokerages? If so, how many have you been a part of? Let me know in the comments below!
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