Marketing Academy
The New and Growing Real Estate Brokerage’s Hiring Plan: Finding Your Staff

The New and Growing Real Estate Brokerage’s Hiring Plan: Finding Your Staff

12 min read
The New and Growing Real Estate Brokerage’s Hiring Plan: Finding Your Staff

Starting a real estate brokerage of your very own is an aspiration for many agents who reach a certain point in their sales career, but if you’ve learned anything getting to where you are, it’s that you won’t be able to build a brokerage by yourself. The best brokerages (whether affiliated with a franchisor or establishing their own niche as an independent) have amazing staff that provide quality—ideally, unmatched—agent support and customer service.

Let’s say you’ve figured out the licensing requirements, you know what business model you want to follow, you have some workflows set up, and you’ve got a sense for your branding, your niche, where you fit in your market, all of the things you’ll need to assess before you get started. Or let’s say that’s all still a pipe dream, and you’re merely curious about what kind of investment you might have to make to go it alone.

We’re unpacking which hires to make when you’re just launching your brokerage and spreading your wings, alongside what to consider for the next-level hires you make, and some tips for how to find the people who are interested in growing with your brokerage.

Just Starting Out: Which Roles to Hire

In some ways, these hires could be some of the easiest to make because they are tackling tasks that you likely have no problem at all delegating. (Later on, when you’re more attached to systems and processes, it can become more difficult to let go.)

Your focus here should be establishing administrative support and creating systems that are scalable. Especially when you’re first starting out, you might not need full-time help for your brokerage, so consider whether you would like to hire each of these roles full-time, or whether you can outsource them to an hourly contractor, or perhaps find another solution within your existing tools or vendors.

First: Receptionist and Office Manager

Answering phones, handling the office supply requests, planning office launch and anniversary parties, managing the accounts, help with coordinating home showings, and other basic (but vital) tasks are perfect for an office manager, who will likely double as a receptionist when you’re first starting out, but these may well become two distinct job titles as you grow.

Are you unsure whether your budding brokerage can really support an entire office manager and receptionist role? Remember that you aren’t obligated to fill a full 40 hours each week with tasks for this prospective hire to complete; you can always hire for the hour amount you require.

If you don’t think it’s enough time for anyone serious to bother with, then consider creating an employee opportunity that encompasses both an office manager and a transaction coordinator, for example, or an office manager and a marketing manager. As your brokerage grows and you begin to require more individualized attention to each role, you can ask your best employees how they want to grow with your brokerage, and then adjust their duties accordingly.

Second: Transaction Coordinator

There are many highly capable transaction coordinators that outsource their work for agents; you might have even worked with one as an agent yourself! As a newer broker, you’re likely looking for a more basic level of support than a full-blown transaction manager who can handle writing contracts, compliance review, and other tasks that require a real estate license to tackle.

What transaction coordinators can do and how they work with brokerages tends to vary by state. If you’re already working with a good one whom you trust, you might ask if they could handle additional work, or whether they know any other coordinators to recommend. 

Working with an agency or through a platform like Upwork to find qualified contract help can be a good way to bypass hiring for this position—in fact, there are plenty of brokerages who never bring transaction coordination in-house, and maybe you’ll be one of them!

Third: Marketing Manager

Listing photos, listing descriptions, fliers, open house ads, social media banners, email newsletter campaigns, for sale signs … those are just a handful of the different pieces of marketing collateral that a brokerage generates for its agents, and that typically means brokerages need to hire someone to handle this part of the business. 

A marketing manager might have some writing or design skills all their own, or they might be the central keeper of all the keys, with the ability to order listing photos from a contract photographer and then send the finished product to a freelance designer to start creating fliers and ads. 

If you’re working with someone who doesn’t have a lot of existing skills, but is eager to learn, then perhaps you can start them off in a receptionist and office manager role, and then ask them to start coordinating any listing requests from agents, increasing their responsibilities as their interests and abilities expand.

The ultimate 2024 guide to building a real estate website
Get your FREE copy now!

Next Level: Scaling Up Your Brokerage

Whether you’ve hired one person to fill all three roles above, or whether you’re growing fast enough to warrant multiple full-time employees, most new brokers realize that the time to hire help is sooner than later. In other words, you don’t want to sleep on the next round of roles and hires to boost your productivity and grow your business!

First: Systems Experts

If you’re like most other real estate brokerages, you likely rely on technology tools to help you earn money, market your brokerage, and keep your business mind straight—matter of fact, to say you “rely on” them is an understatement akin to saying that mammals rely on oxygen to sprint. And if you’re like most other real estate brokerages, you’re paying for at least a handful of tools that at least one or two of your agents aren’t using, either because they don’t see the value or because they don’t know how.

A systems expert knows everything about a specific tool at your brokerage; you can have multiple, one for each tool, or you can ask one person to become the chief know-it-all and repository of knowledge around “how we use this thing.” 

A marketing coordinator or office manager might be an obvious systems expert to implement for your website platform, for example; you can assume they’ve been working with it. If you have someone in that role who’s expressed interest in learning more about marketing or transactions or whatever function the tool serves, consider asking them to help with troubleshooting and in-house agent support; many of your vendors will be willing to set up training and demos for those experts!

Second: Marketing Support Staff

From cleaning and staging a house before the listing photos are taken, to uploading those photos to the MLS, there are dozens of roles involved with preparing a listing for sale. Writers, photographers, designers—for print and social media and for website landing pages—are just a few of the people who can help make a listing shine or cause it to fade into the background against all the competition.

You probably think it’s obvious that you’re not going to have the capacity to support a full-time photographer, and that could be fair enough, but this is one of those roles that can mean anything, and that it’s quite possible to piecemeal and outsource whatever you can’t handle in-house. If your systems expert also happens to be handy with a camera and wants to improve their skills, then perhaps you can negotiate with them to add “resident photographer” to their resume.

Another option is to use add-on services that are already offered by one of your vendors. For example, instead of hiring a full-time or even a contract designer, you can use platforms like Placester Marketplace to hire qualified, experienced real estate designers who can handle one-off tasks like building a website from the ground up, creating an email newsletter template, write blog posts, or put together social media cover images.

Third: Onboarding Specialists

We’ve been so focused on support staff that we’ve hardly mentioned agents, but it goes without saying that you will want to hire them, too, and as many as you can support with your current business model and agent operations. Arguably the most important time for any agent at a new brokerage is the onboarding period, where they’ll usually feel anywhere between “welcomed with open arms” and “neglected and forgotten.”

To lean toward the better end of that spectrum, consider assigning onboarding support as a role to one of your existing team members, or possibly carving it out as its own job once your hiring reaches that level of need. By this point, you may have a team member or three who’s an outright evangelist for your brokerage, spontaneously sharing everything they love about it with anyone who will listen—definitely ask this person first if they want to be your onboarding coordinator or specialist, or at least take on some of the responsibilities.

Tips for Finding the Best People for Your Brokerage

When you bring your team together, it feels apparent—everyone is moving in the same direction for the same purpose; you have trust in each other as individuals and in the group. But getting to that place is just as elusive as it is magical once you arrive. Hiring a team that believes in your vision and wants to grow alongside you is one of the most important things you can do as a broker-owner.

It might be tempting to hire and onboard the very first person who expresses interest in joining your brokerage, but you’ll be much better served by spending some time evaluating why they think they’re a good fit—and whether you agree with their assessment. Your first few hires are going to help set the tone for everyone who follows.

Hire (And Create Roles) for Future Growth

Most people want to learn new skills and acquire higher earning power throughout their careers, so establishing job titles and associated tasks at your brokerage that are set in stone and have little flexibility will not serve you well if you’re looking for long-term employees. You’ll probably find a handful of people who are content to grind away in whatever role they’ve mastered because it’s easy and they’ve achieved work-life balance—and that’s amazing! But make sure you’re not only hiring those folks, as you won’t have much luck promoting from within.

Think about the duties at your brokerage as loosely aligned with the job title; you don’t want to give people work that’s outside their scope of practice, of course, but you also don’t want to shoehorn one type of “easy marketing” work into one job title and then refuse if a “systems expert” expresses interest in doing it.

Ask Them to Weigh In On Your Mission, Vision, Values

There has to be a reason why you launched your brokerage beyond “I want to make money,” especially because profit margins make it a more challenging business than it’s ever been! If you haven’t already articulated those reasons in statements that help explain your mission, vision, and values as a brokerage, then it’s time to put together your “elevator speech” for why you exist and why someone would want to help you accomplish your goals.

Hiring is your first and best opportunity for you to determine if someone is going to grow with you, or whether they’re likely to find other pastures much greener than yours. Don’t be afraid to share your values upfront and ask your hirees what they think about them. The worst that could happen is they can confirm that you both aren’t a good long-term fit before you embark on a career journey together!

Get a Sense for Their Lifetime Goals and Priorities

This is less about whether your possible future employee has always dreamed about climbing in the Himalayas and more about, well, career goals. Has one of your receptionist candidates always wanted to learn PhotoShop? Does another want to eventually work in marketing for an agency? Is yet another hoping to find a steady job that will take care of him so he can make it to his kid’s sports games?

When you understand that an employee you’re hiring today has aspirations that align with your own business goals tomorrow, the mutual benefits can be astronomical. Many real estate brokerages hire lifetime employees by keeping a lookout for entry-level hires who have a passion to grow in the same direction as the brokerage is reaching.

Don’t Be Afraid to Cut Ties When You Make a Hiring Mistake

Making a mistake when hiring can be embarrassing! More than anything, you may want to sweep the whole episode under the rug and pretend it never happened, or cross your fingers that the bad fit figures it out on their own and quits.

The problem with that approach is that you’ll likely lose the trust of your other staff, many of whom have undoubtedly noticed that this was not an ideal hire, and who are looking to see what you’ll do about it. If you have doubts about bringing someone on board, work with them first as a contractor to assess their reliability, the quality of their work, and how they fit with the rest of your team. It’s much easier to replace a contractor than a staff member everyone knows!

Take your real estate website to the next level with Placester!

Discover new opportunities and save thousands of dollars every year.

Call us at 800-728-8391 for more details or simply leave your phone number, and we’ll reach out to you!