How To Build A Brokerage: 13 Key Factors To Consider When Choosing A Partner

Building a brokerage is no easy feat, and for some, finding a partner to take the journey with may be the best course of action. However, though from the outset someone may seem like a perfect fit for the enterprise, it’s possible a lack of proper due diligence could leave you with a partner who doesn’t exactly share your same vision for the future—or agree on what steps you should take to get there.
Avoiding these situations requires a solid understanding of how to spot suitable partners, as well as unsuitable ones. If someone doesn’t demonstrate the proper criteria, it’s a safe bet that they just aren’t suited to being your brokerage partner.
Experience is the best judge in these cases, which is why 13 experts from Forbes Real Estate Council discussed some of the key factors to look for when choosing a partner who will help you and your brokerage go the distance.

Forbes Real Estate Council members share what to think about when considering a partner for your brokerage.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Alignment Of Values And Vision
Partnerships are formed with good intent, but can fail for a variety of reasons. In addition to shared financial commitments, you and your partner must have shared values and vision. If you aren’t on the same page, then the strength of the relationships diminishes, especially during difficult times. Partnerships are a long-term commitment, and the success of the partnership requires alignment. – Michelle Risi, Royal LePage Connect Realty
2. Yin And Yang
Look for someone who will complement your professional weaknesses and allow you to excel at your strengths. Make sure you have previously worked with the potential partner through some good times and bad times before you make a commitment to a partnership. How they handle success is important because you don’t want them to get complacent, but the true test is how they handle the stress. – Donald Bake, New Western Acquisitions
3. Shared Skills And Moral Compass
Real estate is fundamentally a relationship business. As such, it’s critical to build partnerships with those individuals that have the core foundational skills and share a similar moral compass. The most successful brokerages are typically sustained through referral business. People will only refer those businesses that they know, like and trust. – Danielle Pierce, Women, Wealth and Real Estate
4. Chemistry
You can find the most knowledgeable, experienced professional to help you build a brokerage, but if there’s no chemistry, the relationship will be destined to fail. Never underestimate the importance of chemistry in any partnership. Listen to your gut because chemistry is vital for success. – Kevin Hawkins, WAV Group, Inc.
5. Commitment
Building a brokerage is like raising a family: it takes a massive amount of time, energy and resources to nurture and grow. Having the right partner, like in any marriage, can make all the difference. Both partners must be committed and share the same values, as well as a clear vision of the future, otherwise you’re doomed. Stay single and lean on your village if you don’t find the right partner! – Anna Michaelidis, Royal LePage Urban Realty
6. A Different Approach To Business
I want to partner with someone who excels where I am less sharp. While I may speak and present well and can spin a marketing tale, I want to partner with someone who looks at the lifetime value of a client, listing cost versus value and the cost of slow-to-produce agents. Or, I want to be with someone who can outshine me in a pitch, and leave me to the data. Then, I look to connections and recruiting. – Kristin Geenty, The Geenty Group, Realtors
7. Trust And Flexibility
Trust. And this is a hard one because a big part of knowing if you can trust someone comes from your gut and getting a feel for how you will work together. The other piece of the trust puzzle is knowing someone’s career history, past business decisions, associations, recommendations—all of these should be analyzed and vetted first. Second to trust comes flexibility. Rigid never works. – Bill Lyons, Griffin Funding, Greendoor, & Revestor
8. Similar Short- And Long-Term Goals
Besides trustworthiness, you need to make sure you and your prospective partner have similar short- and long-term business goals. It’s very important to be on the same page from the start, and to make sure their mission and goals are in line with your own. This will prevent any confusion when you start building your brokerage. – Robert Rahmanian, REAL New York
9. History
For a simple answer: history. For a more in-depth answer: their history with office culture, local agents or brokers, clients, how issues and complications were handled, finances, networking, local business owners and ambassadors, charities, community organization boards, their spouse, friendships, habits, hobbies, faith or belief system. – Stephanie Arnett, Tom Ferry
10. Who Does What
Business is good and lead generation is trending upward. You need help. OK, get a partner. Who do you get? When do you consult, and who is charged to act in regards to administration, sales, etc.? You can like a person and even make a lot of money with them. The question is, can you trust your future to this person and vice versa? A heartfelt discussion is mandatory. Review personal and business positions. – Michael J. Polk, Polk Properties / Matrix Properties
11. Grit
When choosing a partner, the most important thing is to determine whether or not you both operate by a similar moral framework and, in that, have a similar vision of what the company will do and how it will do it. The second is to determine if they have the grit to do hard things for a long time with little reward. – Bethany Babcock, Foresite Commercial Real Estate
12. Personal Outlook
Their personal outlook. Traits like optimism and resilience can be the determining factor between success and failure. Inevitably, there will be downturns in the market and times when business is slow. Are they going to help power through or give up? – Ari Rastegar, Rastegar Property
13. Reputation
To be successful in building a brokerage, a major factor to consider is your partner’s reputation. Look for a partner with a solid reputation and business track record to enhance your own. Anything less will detract from your ability to expand client relationships and eliminate the benefits of the partnership. – Min Alexander, Auction.com
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