You might be thinking “Ugh, this article is just going to be a sales pitch for the author’s brokerage.” I get your concern, but if that’s what this article was about, it wouldn’t be very helpful because no one brokerage is right for every agent.

The fact is that YOUR goals, YOUR strengths and weaknesses, and the parts of the business YOU like to do (or not), will determine which brokerage is right for YOU.

Relevate  is only a mutual fit for probably one in 20 agents, so we much more often introduce agents to other local brokerages who we respect and who provide amazing support for agents who are a mutual fit for them. This article is about how to choose the right brokerage, not about any specific brokerage.

When you are trying to choose the right brokerage (your first one or your next one) it is, of course, important to ask the right questions. BUT… it is much more important to ask YOURSELF the right questions, first.

Very few agents have thought deeply about the questions below, and doing that thinking will help you understand yourself and what you want better than you ever have. I wish someone had pushed me to get clear about the answers to these questions for myself earlier in my career because I didn’t even know the right questions to ask. If I had, I would have gotten to where I wanted much sooner.

“Know thyself.”  –  Socrates

The Top 25 Questions to help determine what brokerage is best for you

Here are the questions we have found that will help determine what brokerage you should choose: How would you answer this question, and WHY? What are you hoping to achieve by going that direction? And is your thinking valid?

(You may want to print this page out and make notes on it, which will be helpful for the next step)

  • Are you (a) expecting (or hoping) that a brokerage will bring value to help achieve your business goals, or (b) feeling that brokerage for you is mostly a place to fulfill the legal requirement to “hang your license” while you run your independent business?

  • Is it (a) important for you to have a highly skilled, accessible broker-in-charge (BIC) or (b) is BIC support something you rarely ever need?

  • What parts of the real estate business you like to do, or not like to do?

  • Do you (a) value having other successful agents around to collaborate with, or (b) already know what to do and you don’t need that interaction?

  • Is it important to have your brokerage near your home? If so, how close is close enough?

  • Is a virtual brokerage (no offices, virtual training and meetings) right for you, or do you want to be able to go to an office and see people in person? Do you want an office in the brokerage office, or is your home office perfect for you?

  • Do you feel that (a) the only way to serve a client well (and to build the relationship with them) is to do everything yourself, or (b) it could be possible to maintain your relationship with the client, and provide them with good service, if you delegated much of the client service to others?

  • Is your business philosophy more (a) “I’m open (and even eager) to spend money on systems and support that give me a good return on investment” or (b) “all costs are expenses and they should be cut if possible”.

  • Do you feel that (a) every activity you personally do in your business is of equal value, or (b) there are some activities that produce much more value for you than other activities?

  • Regarding finances, do you tend to (a) live paycheck to paycheck (and maybe owe back taxes), or (b) have at least some savings and pay more-than-estimated quarterly tax payments so you don’t have to worry about tax surprises each April?

  • When it comes to selling (acquiring clients), would you (a) rather have methods to find your own clients, or (b) pay for leads or referral fees for clients from someone else,  or (c) not sell at all and partner with a “team leader” to help serve their clients?

  • Regarding your earning goals, which statement is “more you”:  (a) I only need so much and wanting more is greedy and maybe even wrong, or (b) I want to earn as much as possible because it gives me freedom, and the ability to give money away to good causes?

  • Do you feel there is a possibility of new and more effective ways to run your real estate business, or are you satisfied that you already know the best ways to run your business?

  • Are you more interested in developing your OWN systems and processes for your business, or do you want to plug into pre-existing (hopefully proven) processes and systems?

  • How important is the brokerage’s “brand name recognition” to your business?

  • How important is personal branding to you? Meaning having an identity, a business name (other than your own given name) and logo, in addition to the name and logo of your brokerage?

  • Are you interested in earning money by recruiting other agents via some type of multi-level business system?

  • Is minimizing the amount of money you pay the brokerage a high priority to you, or are you willing to pay the brokerage more if you are getting a good return on your investment of that money?

  • Is building your own team an important goal for you? If so, is that more because (a) you want to lead other people, or (b) because you want to maximize your income?

  • Do you (a) still need a lot of training training and hand-holding to learn to do real estate transactions, or (b) already know most everything needed to do real estate transactions?

  • Which is more important to you, (a) recognition of your sales volume and number of transactions, or (b) maximum take-home income?

  • Are you okay with selling your services to friends, or would you rather deal mostly with people you don’t know other than their interest in buying or selling?

  • Would it be important that (a) your brokerage enforces minimum production standards to motivate you and ensure you are surrounded with successful agents, or (b) no, that wouldn’t matter because either you work independently or you associate with the agents you choose, regardless of what brokerage they are a part of?

  • Do you have a preferred way of acquiring clients?  In other words, do you prefer referrals, or advertising, or social media, or farming neighborhoods, calling FSBO and expireds? Or a mix of many methods? What makes you prefer that way of acquiring clients?

  • How important is it for you to have control of your time, especially your evenings and weekends? Is it important for you to be able to take a vacation and not look at your phone or computer, and still know your clients are being well taken care of?  Or are you fine with responding to client needs whenever needed?

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.”  – Henry Ford

Whew, answering all those questions took a lot of good thinking! We recommend talking your answers over with a loved one, or with business people outside the real estate industry, so they can give you different perspectives.

Next, go through all your answers and write down the ideal combination of factors for YOU. This will tell you the questions to ask the brokerages when you interview them. Just remember, as we said at the beginning of this article, no brokerage can possibly be the right brokerage for every agent.

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”   –   Herbert Bayard Swope


Be careful not to tell the brokerage manager what you want the answer to be. Some brokerages just want a high number of agents, no matter who they are. You don’t want to be a number, right? So, know what is important to YOU, and ask neutral questions and make them commit to telling you who they are. And if they seem to suggest they are the best place for every agent, not matter their answers to the above questions, then they probably will not be able to give you exactly what YOU are looking for.

Here are a several quick examples:

  • The important priorities to Anna are:  (i) reasonably high earning opportunity, (ii) having processes and systems to plug into, (iii) not having to find her own clients, and (iv) having an out-of-home office. Being an onsite agent at Fonville Morisey Barefoot New Homes might be a great fit for Anna.

  • George’s top priorities are: (i) being able to work from his home office, (ii) ability to have his own personal brand and logo, (iii) relatively low cost brokerage, and (iv) no need for close BIC support. For George, eXp Realty might be the perfect choice.

  • The most important priorities for Becky are: (i) getting great real estate transaction training, (ii) having a brokerage with a very strong national brand recognition, (iii) having a very good BIC to oversee her transactions. For Becky, Berkshire Hathaway or Coldwell Banker could be excellent choices

  • Jose’s top priorities are: (i) reasonably high earning opportunity, (ii) not having to find his own clients, (iii) excellent training, (iv) a high-energy environment to keep him motivated. For Jose, DASH Carolina or Better Homes and Gardens Paracle could be the perfect brokerage.

  • For Makoto, the most important priorities are: (i) learning to build her own team, (ii) freedom and encouragement to build her own brand, (iii) potential for passive income, and (iv) a library of systems and processes to choose from. For Makoto, the ideal choice could be Keller Williams Realty.

  • Finally, Katya’s top priorities are: (i) being home weekends and evenings, (ii) minimum production standards to ensure she’s surrounded by successful agents, (iii) having proven processes and systems to plug into, and (iv) a CRM that supports working by referral.  For Katya, Relevate Real Estate might be the best choice.

The most important part of this decision is to know what is important to YOU, so our best advice is to invest the time to think about what YOU really want.  Joining or moving brokerages is a big deal. We wish you the best in finding the right brokerage for YOU!