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.

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No Task Is Too Small for a Procedures Plan

making coffee

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

procedures plan meeting

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

1. Objective

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.

2. Who

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.

3. How

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.

4. Frequency

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.

5. Standards

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?”

6. Budget

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.

Sales Procedures

These tasks are the responsibility of employees who support the sales side of your brokerage.

Agent Support
Communications ScheduleBi-weeklySales Manager
Team Meeting ScheduleWeeklySales Manager
Continuing Education ScheduleQuarterlySales Manager
Agent Recruiting
Agent Recruiting PlanWeeklySales Manager
Agent Onboarding PlanWeeklyOffice Manager
Agent Off-boarding PlanWeeklyOffice Manager
Lead Management
Advertising Plan and BudgetMonthlyLead Manager
Lead Management PlanWeeklyLead Manager
Agent AccountabilityWeeklySales Manager
Brokerage Marketing Plan
Community InvolvementMonthlySales Manager
Advertising Plan and ScheduleMonthlySales Manager
New Agent Training
Prelicense EducationQuarterlyMentor
Structured New Agent Training PlanQuarterlyMentor

Operations Process & Procedures

These tasks are the responsibility of employees who support the operations side of your brokerage.

Office Management
Agent Split/Fee ManagementMonthlyOffice Manager
Commission Disbursement ProcessWeeklyOffice Manager
Agent Billing ProcessMonthlyOffice Manager
Escrow Accounts ManagementDailyOffice Manager
Financial Review and ManagementMonthlyOwner
Employee Hiring and HR ManagementWeeklyOffice Manager
Annual Tax Filing PlanAnnuallyOffice Manager
Agent/Listing Marketing
Agent Marketing Support PlanMonthlyMarketing Manager
Listing Marketing PlanDailyListing Manager
Office Maintenance
Coffee and SuppliesWeeklyReceptionist
Printing and CopyWeeklyReceptionist
Cleaning and RepairsWeeklyReceptionist
Landscaping and Snow RemovalSeasonallyReceptionist
IT SupportAs NeededReceptionist
Agent Supervision
File Compliance ProcessDailyTransaction Manager
Broker Contract Review PlanDailyManaging Broker
Industry Changes and Updates Communications PlanMonthlyManaging Broker
Broker Question ProcessDailyManaging Broker

Brokerage Procedures Manual

Procedures Manual - Q3 project overview

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 to assign tasks, manage projects, and keep your team organized. If your brokerage is virtual, then 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

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.

Bottom Line

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.