Switching brokerages? Ask these 8 questions first

Stop playing musical chairs with your career

In our industry, I see a lot of musical chair real estate agents — those who jump ship because they continue to find discontent with firm after firm.

They might quickly change business cards because they are blinded by “shiny new object” syndrome when new companies come to town and offer snazzy technology (not yet implemented or proven to work) or a piece of the “rock” that might later turn out to be a sand dune. Others may prefer to throw blame balls at the teams or companies they work with because their personal performance is lacking.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Speaking from firsthand experience, I certainly understand the need to move brokerages on occasion. I am contemporary enough to know that the days of a person staying at one job or company for a lifetime are long gone.

Certainly, it is the norm for any of us to make a few upward moves over a period of time as we ascend in our profession. But there’s a difference between chasing the greener grass and authentic shifts toward career success.

Changing firms is a big decision. Instability — or too much mobility — not only dilutes our personal brand but also causes a lack of confidence in our clients.

Therefore, if you find yourself discontent (again) in your current firm, or if you are considering moving to a new brokerage, here are eight questions (and a few that spring off of those) to consider before you move.

The 8 important questions before moving firms

  1. Understand your “why.” What needs do you currently have that are not being met at your existing company?
  2. Clearly discuss these needs with your current broker. In other words, have you given your current company the opportunity to make changes? And if yes, what is the timeline for these changes to be implemented?
  3. If you choose to leave, thoroughly vet your new company, and ask yourself, is the new firm aligned with my personal brand? Is it a company where I can become the best definition of myself?
  4. Can your new company guarantee your needs will be met? And what happens if it doesn’t perform?
  5. Does this new company have the track record that proves they are a rockstar versus a karaoke singer? Meaning, will it be a group you just “work” for/with? Or will they become a family you can grow and expand with, and more importantly, a company that will be there for you when the market fluctuates? Are they interested in “you” as an agent or broker? Or are they just after your market share? Do they have the infrastructure to withstand the market changes? And do they have the capital committed to offer the ongoing support required for sustainability even in a down market?
  6. Is your decision to leave fear-based, or is it truly what’s best for you and your future? Fear-based decisions rarely work out for anyone. And is this move truly a better opportunity or a promise of things based on false assurances?
  7. The things that are enticing you to leave, are they a short-term bandage or a long-term solution?
  8. Is your change rooted in clarity and strategic movement, or is your ego in the way? (Check your ego: Is it pouting because you didn’t get your way, and now, you are taking your marbles elsewhere? Is it keeping you on a never-ending game of musical chairs? Is it always looking for the next best thing rather than buckling down and appreciating what you have?)

When things don’t go our way, it is easy for us to blame everyone but ourselves. But at the end of the day, we are all responsible for our own professional and personal success.

Maturity is learning that success and happiness is not found in every new shiny object that comes knocking at our door, but instead having the wisdom to see opportunities for what they really are.

If you find the time is right for you to make that move, make sure you do it with dignity and class — not like a thief in the night, letting your boss know that you have moved on by walking into an empty office in the morning.

Remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side; most of the time it turns out to be AstroTurf. So, an important question before you jump is, where will you sit when the music stops playing?

Spyro Kemble is a Realtor with Surterre Properties/Relegance Group in Orange County, California.

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