Switching Real Estate Brokerages Checklist (Easy 10-Steps)

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median tenure of Realtors at their current firm is 5 years. That’s actually a really long time considering the median real estate experience of all Realtors is 8 years.

Regardless of how long you’ve been with your current broker, this is a complete “switching real estate brokerages checklist” so you don’t forget anything!

In this article we’ll cover:

  • Why agents change real estate brokerages
  • Considerations before you switch real estate brokerages
  • The process of switching real estate brokerages

Why Switch Brokerages?

I’m a pro at changing brokerages because:

The most common reason people leave their real estate brokerage?

The most common reason I see people leave their brokerage is poor leadership or culture.

Although that’s the most common, there are MANY reasons that drive real estate agents to change brokerages such as:

  • Better opportunities
  • Changes in personal circumstances
  • Dissatisfaction with current brokerage

So you think you want to switch, let’s take a second to explore the idea…

Shelby Johnson Real Estate Agent

Are you looking for a new brokerage?

Do you want to build a REAL business and create REAL wealth alongside peers?

Five Pillars is the nationwide movement of real estate agents who are doing just that.

Considerations Before Changing Real Estate Brokerages

Before you dive too deep into the process of switching real estate brokerages, it’s best to be certain that switching is the right option for you.

Here are some things to consider before switching real estate brokerages:

Shelby Johnson considering switching real estate brokerages.
  • Financial Implications
    • Will I REALLY make more money at a new brokerage?
    • How much money would it cost me to stay here longer?
  • Timing
    • When would be the most convenient time to do it?
  • Contractual obligations with current brokerage
    • Am I obligated to stay out of this market when I leave the brokerage?
    • What can I take with me?
      • Data
      • Clients

I thought this was crazy…

I interviewed someone on a local team who had agreed that they wouldn’t sell houses in a city for 12 months after they left the team.

That’s going to have a massive impact on his future business.

Depending on the contract you signed with your current brokerage, the process is going to be different for everyone.

Your independent contractor agreement will contain specifics about what you can take with you.

Common Challenges When Switching Brokerages

I switched brokerages back in the summer of 2019. I still remember dreading changing everything we built such as:

  • Listing signs
  • Email signatures
  • Business cards
  • Website… and all marketing materials
  • Drip campaigns
  • Updating all contract templates
  • All agency agreements needed to be redone and the listing process had to be done through the new brokerage

The list goes on and on…

Drew Mathison is Real Estate Agent who recently switched brokerages

Drew Mathison, a real estate agent in Greensboro, recently switched brokerages due to a change in leadership and company culture.

He said his biggest challenge when switching was transferring all the client data from his old brokerage’s CRM to his new CRM.

His old brokerage let Drew take all of their listings, buyer clients, and data to their new brokerage, but everything under contract stayed at the previous brokerage.

If this doesn’t sound like too big of a hassle yet, let’s explore ACTUALLY switching brokerages.

Switching Real Estate Brokerages Checklist

It would suck to come back to this page over and over again, so I created a downloadable “Switching Real Estate Brokerages Checklist” for you.

The .docx version is actually a link to the Google Document so you can download it in any format that you prefer. The PDF version is also there if you’d like to download that and print it.

Downloadable doc Switching Real estate Brokerages Checklist
Click for ANY Version
Downloadable PDF Switching Real estate Brokerages Checklist
Click for PDF Version

How to Switch Real Estate Brokers

If the common challenges and considerations didn’t discourage you, you likely have a good reason to leave your current Broker. Let’s get started on the step-by-step guide on “How to Switch Real Estate Brokers”

There is a chance it might be worse than it sounds… You could be like the guy who can’t sell a house in his city for 12 months after leaving.

Step 1 is figuring out how difficult or easy it actually is.

Step 1. Identify What You Can and Cannot Take With You When You Leave

This shouldn’t be too painful unless you are on a real estate team. Teams investing a lot of money in marketing for their agents generally have much more to lose. Hence, their rules are going to be much more strict.

Hopefully, you know someone who recently left and you can give them a call about their experience. If not…

Remember that bajillion-page “Independent Contractor Agreement” you signed?

eXp Realty Sample Independent Contractor Agreement

Yeah? Please read it.

This will tell you what you can and can’t bring with you such as:

  • Current listings
  • Current clients
  • Data from the CRM
  • Much, much more…

Are you thinking of winging it?

Imagine showing up at your new brokerage and getting sued shortly after because you took something you weren’t supposed to.

After reading the ICA, you know the true and legal repercussions of switching brokerages. If it doesn’t impact your business heavily enough to stop you, continue to the next step.

Step 2. Choose a New Real Estate Brokerage

Chances are, you already have somewhere in mind. If you haven’t already, schedule a call with me to see if our community is right for you.

How to Find and Choose a Sponsoring Real Estate Broker - Hal Elrod

I did a whole post on choosing a new brokerage so I’ll give you a quick summary.

First, decide what you want in a brokerage. I categorize this into 2 pieces, cultural and financial.

Since you have some experience under your belt, you probably understand that there are lower-cost options out there. In my experience, being somewhere with a great culture is most important… And also the reason I created Five Pillars.

Next, create a list of brokers you want to work with. You can find them via Google Maps or through referrals.

Once you have the list, interview the brokerages.

This should put you in a position to make a solid, informed decision in choosing your brokerage.

Step 3. Think through what you need from your current systems

As a real estate agent, it’s easy to overlook everything you or your support team has built. Whether you have contracts that auto-populate info in necessary categories, contract-to-close checklists, or a massive database, the thought of rebuilding it all can feel overwhelming.

Take some time, and make a list of everything important to you that you NEED to do to keep business running smoothly. Check out the checklist.

Step 4. Time Your Change

Timing can be tough due to different factors like money, your personal life, and the real estate industry cycle in general.

If you are switching real estate brokerages due to paying high splits with no cap, chances are you should leave your current brokerage as soon as possible.

If you are worried about having a commission split cap reset when you change, talk to me about a cap deferment program.

If money doesn’t matter in the change, maybe you want to wait to time it with the market. The real estate industry is notoriously slow in the holiday season, and busy in the spring and summer. Maybe you should change real estate brokerages during the slow season? Take a look at this data from Redfin that shows how much the market slows.

The cycle of the Real Estate industry

Another factor is marketing materials. These can take some time to receive after ordering and possibly send leads to the wrong place. For example, if you send out a bunch of mailers and put your current brokerage on the mail piece, you may accidentally send those potential clients to your previous broker instead.

If the culture sucks, RUN from your current real estate brokerage… as long as it won’t be too big of a financial sacrifice.

Step 5. Onboard as much as possible with the new brokerage without transferring the license

At this point, you can probably start filling out an application and doing paperwork to get onboarded with the new brokerage. The transfer of license notifies your soon-to-be old broker, so hold off on that until after the next step.

Now is also a great time to start forwarding your emails from your soon-to-be old email address to a new one. I highly suggest getting a custom domain if you don’t already have one. For example:

Shelby.osborne@kellerwilliams.com (AVOID)

Shelbyosborne@fivepillarsrealty.com (I own this domain and a brokerage can’t take that from you)

Step 6. Tell Your Brokerage You’re Leaving

At this point, you’re set to tell your old firm you’re leaving. Agents tend to overthink this part. It’s solved with a simple conversation. You’d think the average real estate agent would be good at having difficult conversations, but this is different.

But keep in mind…

For a smooth transition process, don’t burn bridges with your current brokerage. You may want to go back or have a cross-sale with them in the future.

Telling your Real Estate Broker you're leaving

The crazy part?

Most brokers want what’s best for their agents. The brokers with a poor reputation are usually the fussiest. The poor reputation shows they clearly aren’t focused on the right things.

I recommend writing up a kind, well-thought-out letter thanking them and addressing why you are leaving. Hand it to them and have a conversation in the same structure as the letter.

You may or may not get a counteroffer.

Step 7. Consider a Counter-Offer from your Brokerage

Of course, by you leaving, your current firm is going to lose some income. They will likely try to keep you.

If your firm’s culture isn’t horrible, consider their counteroffer. Compare it to your new potential new firm.

Shelby considered and rejected her brokerage's counter offer.

Alex Hormozi has a framework for making business decisions that I love. If you don’t know him, he’s a highly successful entrepreneur who built multiple 8-figure businesses and a 9-figure business. I recommend you check him out as he offers a TON of value. His requirements are something like:

  • Sleep well the night before a big decision
  • Never make a decision while hungry
  • Get away from the day-to-day grind and find somewhere neutral where you can think clearly
  • Never rush the decision

Once you find clarity, let your current brokerage know what you’re going to do.

Step 8. Transfer License and Onboard to the New Brokerage

Now the fun begins. After doing research in step 1, you should have a clear idea of what this entails. You will know what to do with your current listings and contracts. If you haven’t already, warn your clients you are switching brokerages and you may have to redo the paperwork they signed.

Go ahead and transfer your license on the date you stated you would change brokerages.

This can take a couple of days to register at the new brokerage, so be prepared to work around it and stay calm.

Step 9. Change Everything to Your New Brokerage

Your new brokerage likely has different requirements for branding. You likely need to change everything that is branded. For example:

  • Order listing signs
  • Change email signatures
  • Change email templates
  • Change website

There are many more, so don’t forget the checklist.

You prepared for this. Get to work.

Step 10. Send your old Brokerage a “Thank You” Letter

Real estate agents are always doing cross-sales with each other. To keep the bad blood to a minimum, consider writing your previous brokerage a letter.

Tell them you appreciate them and are looking forward to seeing them around.

It’s simple and goes a LONG way.

Final Thoughts on Switching Real Estate Brokerages

As someone who has switched brokerages, this is a guide I wish I had. If you or someone you know is going to switch brokerages, please use this and help me make it better. Leave a comment below if I forgot something!

If you’re unhappy with your current brokerage, check out our community!

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