To Buy In or Not to Buy In?
One option open to would-be managing brokers is to purchase a franchise, a process that requires a skill set in its own right. Potential franchisees will need to do a thorough analysis of their market, their career goals and the merits of the franchise opportunity available to them:
- What kinds of resources (training, tech, equipment) will you need from corporate in order to run an office?
- Does the brand and company mission align with what you want out of your career?
- Is there a franchise broker or liaison who will be available to help open the office?
- What can you afford, and what startup fees and recurring costs are involved?
- How is each real estate company performing in your local area?
- Are you ready to work in a more corporate environment?
NAR offers various resources within its “Field Guide to Franchises vs. Independent Firms” to help assess the viability of various options, including a “Residential Franchise Roundup,” a report comparing franchise size, fees, total investment required, term of agreement and other data for more than 30 national and regional real estate brands.
Balancing a focus on culture and productivity with the requirements of a corporate environment is an art, and one that any would-be franchise manager will need to master quickly.
Hitting the right note between providing structured support and encouraging independent innovation can be difficult, according to David Bailey, managing broker at Baird & Warner’s Lincoln Park office. But getting it right makes for a cohesive office culture, one that facilitates greater productivity when agents can work with their strengths.
“We’re a very entrepreneurial business, and that naturally leads to independent thinking and innovation, which is a good thing,” Bailey said. “You have to balance a respect for individuality, and at the same time offer as much of a structured support system as you can. It requires an ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. You need to be able to listen carefully and to be able to separate fact from fantasy, and know when to take decisive action and when to be more methodical with your decision-making process.”