The Value of Structure
The fact that most agents are essentially independent contractors and are becoming more willing to switch brokerages underlines the importance of managing brokers cementing lasting bonds with their agents and giving them the support they need. Thirty percent of 6,750 Realtors surveyed in 2014 said that they had been with their firm for less than a year, according to the National Association of Realtors. New agents entering the field as the market recovered likely contributed to that number, though it’s still an increase from 18 percent the previous year and the highest rate of agent turnover since 1987, when 32 percent of agents were in the first year at their respective firms.
The trend of looking for opportunities outside of one’s current workplace spans industries, however. A recent survey conducted at the end of 2015 by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found that about 21 percent of employees intend to leave their current positions in 2016, an increase of 5 percentage points from the previous year. But finding and keeping good agents may get easier as the market continues to improve. Realtor.com’s 2016 housing forecast predicts that growth will remain steady as total home sales approach levels not seen since 2006.
Getting a Step Up
The guidance of one good mentor could be the key to enabling an agent to take the next step toward becoming a managing broker. For people who grow up in real estate, those role models are often found within their own families.
Riberto’s father, Ken McEneaney, spent 43 years in the real estate industry before retiring. The way he handled his personnel left a lasting impression on Riberto and influences how she manages her own office.
“His legacy is really about integrity, treating people fairly and showing up. He never missed a funeral or a wake, and he never missed an agent’s moment in the light if they were getting an award. He was always there for people. More than anything, that’s what I learned from him.”
Allen-Tiernan’s family was in real estate as well, but she also had a business coach for years that held her accountable and helped her fine-tune sales and management techniques. She isn’t alone. In a 2014 survey, Inman found that nine out of 10 respondents said their business increased by at least 10 percent in the year they hired a real estate coach – and more than half say that increase was more than 25 percent. Coaching can be an investment – that same report found that six out of 10 respondents pay $300 to $749 per month for a coach’s services, with 27 percent paying between $400 and $499 – but if Allen-Tiernan’s success is any indicator, that investment can pay off.
“I continue to be mentored today from owners and other leaders within our global network,” she said. “I believe in ongoing learning and also recognize opportunities that are right in front of my face every day. I am fortunate that the JSIR ownership has that same feeling, and supports much of our learning initiatives.”
Bailey’s father owned a residential real estate brokerage in Connecticut. “I had the privilege of not only seeing his work ethic and his commitment to his brokers, but also his passion for the real estate industry as a whole,” Bailey said. “I started in sales with the goal of one day managing a brokerage office. That goal was so clear to me, in part because I had such a strong role model.”
Some managing brokers remain salespeople. They switch gears between handling their own transactions and helping to facilitate those of their agents. In the CRB’s report, 41 percent of respondents said their main function in their firm was as a broker-owner with selling, while 16.1 percent reported performing that function without selling.
Others feel that the business is better served if they step away from the sales aspect entirely. While the managing broker may not be directly involved in buying and selling, he or she is responsible for helping agents complete the transactions that drive the brokerage’s success.