When considering a real estate brokerage to work for, it’s a good idea to evaluate the real estate company’s brand recognition and reputation.
Think of an real estate company’s brand equity and reputation as weak neutral or strong
A brokerage with a strong brand recognition can provide benefits such as increased credibility and trust with potential clients for you.
In this case, the concept of “rising tides raise all boats applies.”
But consider for a moment who benefits the least in this case – it’s the individual real estate agent who is a top performer and has an equally strong personal brand in the market.
In this scenario, that agent may not enjoy additional benefits from a brokerage with a stellar reputation.
It’s more likely and more common in this scenario that a real estate agent with a stellar reputation has MORE value to a broker with a neutral or weak brand. The weak brand will want to elevate its company brand and views the reputation of the agent as a means to get there.
But still, in general, a brokerage with a neutral or strong brand will view favorably on an agent’s personal brand.
Consider the local reputation in your market as well as the reputation elsewhere.
Is one better than the other? Do things happen at the corporate level that shine a poor light on the local brokerage and the agents?
So the question is – how do I evaluate a real estate company’s brand?
Research online and offline – here are some things you can do.
Agents can check online reviews on websites such as Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau to see what others are saying about the brokerage.
Follow industry trade magazines on Twitter or set up Google Alerts from Inman, The Real Deal, RIS Media, etc and set up alerts or subscribe.
These publications are more likely to provide objective reporting or analysis and these are the ones I track.
If I come across negative news about a company’s brand via a news report, I’ll look for other sources of the report and give the story time to play out.
Look at the brokerage’s website, including both the local website as well as the national brand if they are different.
Agents can look at the website’s design, content, and search engine optimization (SEO) to get an idea of how visible the brokerage is online.
This analysis may seem overdone, but a company’s ability to show up on the first page of Google or Bing can be of benefit to an agent who can be the recipient of those leads.
Attend industry events and observe and listen.
If you can’t attend, make sure to watch the replays of the conference or the webinar.
Keep in mind these events can be more promotion than sources of objective insight for you. As you consider a move to a new brokerage, it’s critical you don’t get swept up in the emotion of the moment or caught in the middle of a positive or negative feedback loop on Twitter.
Make sure you’re connected and checking in with other agents – they can be a source(not good, not bad, but a source of information) get a sense of the brokerage’s reputation and market presence.
This can provide valuable insights into the culture, resources, and support provided by the brokerage.
As an executive recruiter for over 20 years, I’ve been on the receiving end of thousands and thousands of stories and anecdotes of poor company culture, gossip and other wild stories that would make most people blush.
It’s been beneficial for me to not jump to conclusions or accept what I’m hearing as fact right away. But rather, to continue to learn more and let time pass, or, if necessary and time is of the essence, get on the phone and call some other sources to confirm or invalidate what I’m hearing.
Look at which brokers and agents are doing the most deals in a market – this doesn’t necessarily result in determining the actual brand value of a broker, but it does give you insight into what brokers manage their brand well enough to not hinder sales.
In more cases though, the broker is doing things right, has excellent agents and is respected enough by buyers and sellers for them to not say, “I don’t want that company sign in my yard.”
In the MLS, agents can look at market data, such as the brokerage’s sales volume, market share, and number of transactions to get a feel for how they weigh in the market.