One of the first things I coach my broker clients to do is develop a real estate brokerage procedures plan. It may seem trivial, but a written procedures manual will systematize your business—saving you time, avoiding confusion, and paving the way for rapid growth. Your brokerage procedures plan will help you set standards and define objectives, leading to a better agent experience and better outcomes for your clients.
In this article, I’ll share a complete list of the procedures needed to operate a real estate brokerage, show you how to define your own procedures, and help you create your customized procedures manual.
Free Real Estate Brokerage Procedures Plan Template
If you are serious about starting a real estate brokerage, the time to begin defining and writing your business procedures is now. To get started, download my free Brokerage Procedures Plan Template below. Read on to learn how best to use it.
No Task Is Too Small for a Procedures Plan
In a real estate brokerage, there are no simple decisions or tasks. Even basic tasks like making coffee are important enough to include in a procedures plan. You might not think something as trivial as making coffee can hurt your business, but minor snafus, gaffes, and miscalculations can add up and ripple outward to become significant failures.
Imagine a receptionist who is in charge of buying coffee. Without a procedures manual, they may choose their favorite organic espresso roast because they like the taste, the boutique brand, and the jolt it provides. Later, your agents say the office coffee tastes too strong. So you address this with your front-office employee and ask them to buy a milder brew or brand.
Problem solved, right? Wrong. A few months later, you hire another receptionist, and they’re blissfully unaware of the office “Coffee War” of just a few months ago. Trying to save the business some money, they pick up the cheapest coffee at a box store, thereby launching “Coffee War II.”
This issue could have been averted if you had a written procedures manual for the new employee to follow, explicitly stating the brand, bag size, roast type, cost, and grind of the coffee preferred by your team—and maybe a second option to choose when the first choice is sold out.
How to Create Procedure Plans for Your Real Estate Brokerage
It may sound like overkill, but in the long run, using a procedures plan at every level of your brokerage will save you a lot of time and headache. A procedures plan requires more than a simple description of the task. There are six features to each procedure in your plan.
6 Features of a Brokerage Procedure Plan
What’s the desired outcome of this task? Clear and measurable objectives are best, and defining them ensures that everyone knows what is expected of them.
The sales manager’s objective is to recruit two agents a month to grow the brokerage and keep it profitable.
Who’s responsible for completing the task? The person responsible for completing the task is not necessarily the person who actually does the work. For instance, the receptionist may be responsible for the office looking clean and tidy, although they are not the one actually cleaning the office after hours.
Choose someone who you can hold accountable for success or failure for the task, as well as someone who will be the point person who agents and other employees can look to for support or answers.
How is the task to be completed? Include a detailed step-by-step explanation of how to complete each task. These instructions ensure that the employee assigned the task can follow with little or no additional supervision.
How often does this task need to be completed? Some tasks are scheduled daily, some weekly, some monthly, and some annually. To ensure that tasks are not forgotten, each employee must clearly understand when and how often the tasks are to be completed.
What are the quality standards for the task, and how are they measured? Each task should include a measure of the standard that must be followed. Even a task as simple as answering the phone must have clear standards. You don’t want your reception answering the phone with, “What’s up, dude?”
What’s the budget for the task? If the task requires the employee to spend money, how much can they spend without requesting approval? Whose permission do they need to go over this budget?
Example Procedures List
In my recent article, The 5 Employees You Need to Hire to Grow Your Brokerage in 2021, I broke out the employee organization chart into sales and operations. I’ll do the same for the typical procedures you’ll need to include in your brokerage procedures manual.
These tasks are the responsibility of employees who support the sales side of your brokerage.
|CATEGORY||PROCESSES & PROCEDURES||FREQUENCY||RESPONSIBLE|
|Communications Schedule||Bi-weekly||Sales Manager|
|Team Meeting Schedule||Weekly||Sales Manager|
|Continuing Education Schedule||Quarterly||Sales Manager|
|Agent Recruiting Plan||Weekly||Sales Manager|
|Agent Onboarding Plan||Weekly||Office Manager|
|Agent Off-boarding Plan||Weekly||Office Manager|
|Advertising Plan and Budget||Monthly||Lead Manager|
|Lead Management Plan||Weekly||Lead Manager|
|Agent Accountability||Weekly||Sales Manager|
|Brokerage Marketing Plan|
|Community Involvement||Monthly||Sales Manager|
|Advertising Plan and Schedule||Monthly||Sales Manager|
|New Agent Training|
|Structured New Agent Training Plan||Quarterly||Mentor|
Operations Process & Procedures
These tasks are the responsibility of employees who support the operations side of your brokerage.
|CATEGORY||PROCESSES & PROCEDURES||FREQUENCY||RESPONSIBLE|
|Agent Split/Fee Management||Monthly||Office Manager|
|Commission Disbursement Process||Weekly||Office Manager|
|Agent Billing Process||Monthly||Office Manager|
|Escrow Accounts Management||Daily||Office Manager|
|Financial Review and Management||Monthly||Owner|
|Employee Hiring and HR Management||Weekly||Office Manager|
|Annual Tax Filing Plan||Annually||Office Manager|
|Agent Marketing Support Plan||Monthly||Marketing Manager|
|Listing Marketing Plan||Daily||Listing Manager|
|Coffee and Supplies||Weekly||Receptionist|
|Printing and Copy||Weekly||Receptionist|
|Cleaning and Repairs||Weekly||Receptionist|
|Landscaping and Snow Removal||Seasonally||Receptionist|
|IT Support||As Needed||Receptionist|
|File Compliance Process||Daily||Transaction Manager|
|Broker Contract Review Plan||Daily||Managing Broker|
|Industry Changes and Updates Communications Plan||Monthly||Managing Broker|
|Broker Question Process||Daily||Managing Broker|
Brokerage Procedures Manual
Now that you have created the list of procedures to run your real estate brokerage and have started the exhaustive process of detailing each task, you will need to keep each procedure plan accessible to you and your employees.
One convenient solution is to opt for a project management software like monday.com to assign tasks, manage projects, and keep your team organized. If your brokerage is virtual, then monday.com is your best option.
A low-tech alternative to keep your important procedures top-of-mind is simply printing them out and binding them into a procedures manual.
Steps to Create Your Procedures Manual
Print & Bind or Use monday.com
Print your procedures manual and keep it in a three-ring binder. This method will allow you to easily update your procedures and best practices and add to sections without needing to reprint the entire manual.
Categorize Your Plan by Roles
Organize your procedure plan by the employee who is responsible for the completion of the task. Categorizing tasks gives your employees quick reference to the procedures for which they are responsible.
Lead by Example
To rapidly grow your brokerage, you need new employees to pick up the tasks they’re responsible to complete quickly. You can lead by example by bringing the procedures manual to employee meetings and reference it often.
Keep It Up to Date
If changes are made to a task, the person responsible for the task is also accountable for updating the procedures plan and procedures manual for that task. This step ensures that procedures are being followed and that they’re always up to date.
To build a brokerage that will support agents and rapid growth, you’ll need to devote some time NOW to consider and define the procedures that are important and necessary to support your brokerage, agents, and your community.