The Seven Different Types of Real Estate Brokerages

As a new, or even experienced real estate agent who is looking for the right brokerage to join, it can be overwhelming with the large number of real estate brokerages to choose from.

Medium-sized cities like Raleigh NC and Austin TX each have over 1,500 separate firms. Even if you narrow that down to firms with more than five agents, there are still more than 100 brokerages in each city to choose from.

So, how do you know which brokerage to choose?

At Relevate Real Estate, we love organizing everything to make life easier, so we came up with the crazy idea of dividing all those firms out there into categories, to help you focus in on what YOU are looking for. We haven’t ranked them in a certain order and we aren’t going to recommend one over the other. Our goal is for you to find the brokerage that is best fit for YOU.

So, here they are, the seven different types of real estate brokerages, along with (1) the benefits they PRIMARILY claim to provide to agents, (2) other characteristics typical of that type of brokerage, and (3) some examples of specific brokerages in that category:

Brokerage Type

Primary Claimed Benefit to Agents

Typical Characteristics

High Quality Examples:

National or Regional Brand

“Our highly-recognized brand name will help you get more clients.”

Excellent brokers-in-charge, good training for new agents, big offices, medium cost to the agent.

C21, Coldwell Banker, Berkshire Hathaway, Long & Foster, Howard Hannah, and many other firms with high regional or local brand recognition.

Multi-Level Recruiting

“Opportunity for unlimited passive income by recruiting other agents, and mentoring by the agent who recruited you. ”

Motivating environment, limited BIC support, more likely to be virtual, medium cost to the agent.

eXp, Exit.

Low Cost

“We charge you very little to hang your license with us.”

Low cost to the agent, limited BIC or other support.

Fathom Realty, Realty One, and many smaller firms local to your market. Some variety of “low cost” is an entrepreneurial idea many aspiring brokerage owners run with.

Lead Provider

“We will give you leads and teach you how to convert them into closings and commission checks.”

Leads provided from firms like Zillow, or acquired through marketing efforts. Very good training. High cost: the brokerage and/or team leader retains up to half of the commission from closed transactions.

These are very professionally-managed organizations, such as large teams that are part of a big brokerage like The Dawn McKenna Team in Chicago, or similar teams that previously broke off to form their own brokerage, or a stand-alone firms such as this Zillow-affiliated brokerage, or this brokerage with leads from Realtor.com. Redfin gets leads from their own website and pays salary plus small commission.

Brand & Team Building

“We give you the best guidance to build your own brand and team.”

Encouragement and training to build your own brand and hire, train, and manage your team. The brand name of the brokerage firm is kept in the background. Low to medium cost to the agent.

Keller Williams, Side, Fusion Real Estate Network.

Local Boutique

“We are small and local and you’ll have a nice group of quality people to get to know and work with.”

Every boutique firm is different. Some are very high end, while others are similar to low cost firms. They often incorporate elements from the other types of firms listed here.

Wide variety of local boutique firms.

Processes & Systems

“Our systems will maximize your client service, take-home income, and control of your time.”

Proven processes, systems, and support deliver the promised results for agents who use them correctly. These results theoretically more than pay for the cost of the productivity-enhancing structure and support staff.

Relevate Real Estate

Which Type of Brokerage(s) Are Right for YOU?

We hope this table helped you narrow all those brokerages down to at least a one or two TYPES of brokerages that might be the best fit for you. We just gave a few examples of brokerages within each type, but we’ll be happy to recommend high-quality organizations in your city within the type of brokerage in which you are interested.