“The Great Resignation” is a phenomenon across the country that some experts are saying will see up to 40 per cent of employees thinking of leaving their jobs in the next year. Millennials, front-line workers, managers and even some senior-level executives are looking for a change. Many have reached a breaking point after months of high workloads, hiring freezes and stressful workdays. The idea of returning to long commutes and inflexible schedules is unappealing, to say the least. Looking for a better work-life balance and control of their own destiny, many of those leaving long-time careers in other fields are looking at real estate as a possible “next career” choice. Every province in Canada will soon see an enormous wave of new agents graduating from the real estate course.
To succeed, this wave of new agents will need what most successful agents have: a great broker that can provide the training, technology, marketing and team environment that will ensure the agents have the best chance of success in our industry. A strong broker can flip the well-known equation that 80 per cent of new agents don’t make it to their second anniversary, to an 80-per-cent-plus chance of successfully carving out a new career in real estate.
However, there is a shortage of great brokers. Many of the leaders in our industry who run brokerages are now in their 60s and 70s, some without a succession plan as fewer agents are choosing to transition to management. This will inevitably lead to broker consolidation.
Being a broker is hard work. The responsibilities of regulatory compliance and management of complex operations with high overhead, salaried staff and independent agents with strong personalities is taxing. Brokerages, even when run well, typically only see a small percentage of the upside of an otherwise raging real estate market. Most of the risk in the real estate transaction falls on the broker, yet so little oversight is achievable as agents learn their craft, many choosing their own enrichment over the due care and attention of their clients’ best interests.
Successful brokerages require outstanding leadership and management skills. A great broker excels at taking brand-new agents and guiding them to a successful career. They make already good agents better with their support and culture. They offer great technology and marketing tools and then train agents to use it. They offer great training and counsel their agents to treat people right. They recruit and retain strong agents who recognize and appreciate the value of a great broker.
Too many agents struggle because they are at a brokerage that offers them very little, other than low fees. They struggle because their personal value proposition is weak; bad web presence, slap-dash marketing tools, they don’t use a CRM or presentation tools – and they don’t have the training available to make them better agents. And perhaps most importantly – they don’t have the guidance, mentorship or leadership available to them to shape them into a professional, successful agent.
In five years, there will be more agents working at fewer brokerages. The strong brokers will get stronger because they offer their agents a better value proposition and a path to be more professional – and earn more referrals. And yes, the already large brokers who offer very little for very low fees will also grow as they can warehouse the part-timers who cling to their real estate license hoping to sell that one house a year.
As an industry, I believe we need to celebrate the outstanding leadership and professionalism of the great brokers – our true leaders who work tirelessly to foster great agents. We just need more of them.