So you’re thinking you want to switch real estate brokerages in the new year, but you’re not sure how or where to start? You’re in the right place! 

When I knew I needed to make a change, I had no idea which brokerage I would choose, when the right time would be, or where to start. And would people still want to work with me? That’s why I wrote this step-by-step checklist to take away the stress—so that you can focus on the excitement and growth ahead of you! Plus, I want you to feel confident that you can make the switch without losing clients. If I did it, so can you!

But let’s be honest: Getting out of our comfort zones isn’t easy. Still, nothing great comes easy, right? Let’s jump in make sure you’re prepared to make the transition to a new brokerage as smooth and efficient as possible. 

1. Make a Pros & Cons List

Remember, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. If you are thinking about switching brokerages just to get more clients, then my advice would be to sit down with your team leader or broker and have an open conversation with them about your wants, needs, concerns, and goals. If you like the people you work with, and they can support you in achieving your goals, then it may not be time to make a change. 

But if there’s something that you know is absolutely not aligning, and you’d truly be a better Realtor and better serve your clients elsewhere, then I’d say it’s time to make the switch.

I’d like to challenge you to think deeply about why you want to make a switch. Do you want to go from being a solo agent to joining a team, or vice versa? Do you need more support, more advanced technology tools, more marketing opportunities, or more commission? Would you like to place yourself in a different location or niche area? Are your goals and direction not aligned with your brokerage or team anymore? I do believe that if you’re not growing together, then you’re growing apart.

If you find yourself having a lot of back and forth thoughts about your decision, I find it’s best to write it all down. Make a list of all the pros about working with your current brokerage, and then make a list of all the cons. Also, write down your goals for 2024! Do the targets set by your current brokerage align with your goals?

 You can find more insight on knowing when it’s time to make a switch in the article below.

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2. Meet With Potential New Brokerages

Keep an open mind at this point. You need to start having these conversations before you decide whether you are making a switch. Connecting with other companies may make you realize you want to stay with your current brokerage.

In Person or Phone Calls?

Have as many in-person meetings as possible. This is a big decision, and in person is the best way to get to know what someone is like and how they run their business. If you can’t meet the actual broker in person, then try a Zoom meeting or phone call. Email is the least desirable option, but may be necessary at some larger companies. 

Meet the Other Realtors

Speaking with other agents in the brokerage is important. Get as much inside information and honest feedback about what it’s like to work there as you can. Ask how long they’ve worked there and about their pros and cons in terms of the brokerage. Also, meet with the team leads in the brokerage—even if you are not joining a team—as well as any other employees they may have (transaction coordinators, office managers, and coaches).

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3. Meet With Your Current Brokerage

If you’ve found a new company with more pros than cons, it’s time to share your decision with your current brokerage face to face. I know this can be nerve-wracking, but take a deep breath, and feel confident about your decision. I promise they will respect you for speaking with them in person. 

Don’t Burn Bridges

When giving notice, be honest and open. Thank them for the prior opportunity to work with them. My team lead ended up telling me that I was always welcome to come back if I wasn’t happy with my decision, and so I still have a good relationship with those team members. 

While you do want to be honest about why you’re moving on, there’s no need to burn any bridges. You never know when you could come across an opportunity to work with them in the future. What if they have a home listed that your client is interested in? You’d want to be on good terms, right? 

Deals Currently Under Contract

During this time, you will also discuss details of deals you may currently have under contract or listings that haven’t sold yet. Your contract with your brokerage or team should include details on how these situations will be handled. They differ from brokerage to brokerage, but it’s best to talk them through during this discussion to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Here are some important questions to ask:

  • Will my current listings stay with the brokerage, or will I take them with me? If they stay with the current brokerage, you may just be able to continue selling as normal and keep your regular split upon closing. If you were to take it with you, you may need to give a referral fee to your current brokerage. 
  • What kind of referral fee will I pay my team lead or broker if a lead from their database calls me to take care of them? It may be tempting to keep this quiet, but if a client from your old database calls you, tell your old broker or team lead right away! 
  • How will my sphere-of-influence contacts be handled? Be sure that your personal contacts will be exported and sent over to you in some format that will allow you to take these clients with you. Also, confirm that they will be deleted from any previous drip campaigns or brokerage marketing emails.

Again, these terms all differ from brokerage to brokerage. And you all may decide that another plan outside of those terms will work best for a particular situation. From my personal experience switching brokerages, the deal that I had under contract just stayed and closed with my old brokerage, and they mailed me the commission check as normal. Honestly, the most important part for me was that my clients didn’t feel any shift or lack of care during my transition. 

4. Make It Official

Congratulations on completing (what I think is) the hard part—now onto the paperwork! Here’s a checklist of the little things you’ll need to take care of at this stage:

  • Send an email to your old brokerage giving your official notice in writing.
  • Sign a contract with your new brokerage.
  • Log into your state’s licensing or department of real estate account and accept the new brokerage as your new sponsor.
  • Switch over any memberships, such as your Realtor association membership, if the new brokerage is in a different county. (Note: You’ll need a letter of good standing from the previous association to show the new brokerage.)
  • Switch over your lockbox account information. It’s best to call them and make sure. You don’t want to be on a tour and find out the hard way!
  • Now you can also update your social profiles and website information, plus any accounts you have on Zillow, realtor.com, or other lead gen sources.

5. Switching Out the Swag

You will need to give any items you may still have back to your old brokerage, and yes, this includes the lockboxes you forgot you had in the trunk of your car. Don’t forget open house signs, for sale signs, swag, postcards, etc. 

The exciting part is ordering new items! You’ll need new sign riders and swag. If your brokerage doesn’t provide lockboxes, then go ahead and purchase one to prepare for that new listing you’ll be getting soon. Again, this will vary from brokerage to brokerage. Some may provide these items, and some may not. 

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6. Schedule New Headshots

There’s something about taking your new headshots that really makes it all feel real! If your brokerage doesn’t have a photographer that they already use, then I recommend asking someone who knows you and can bring out your confidence. Make sure to wear a color, style, and fit of clothing that is going to make you feel your absolute best. Or choose a color from your new brokerage brand colors. If you’re not sure what to wear, then you can hire a personal stylist to help!

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7. New Email Signature & Business Cards 

Once you have your new photos, you can order new business cards! If you don’t want your photo on your cards, then you can go ahead and order them back in step five. You can also use your new headshot to set up your new email signature and social media profiles.

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8. Finally, Let’s Get Social!

Now for the most fun part of your big transition. You can go ahead and make that social media announcement that you have joined a new brokerage! Of course, you can post stories throughout your entire journey, building excitement in real time and sharing behind-the-scenes footage. But below I’ll give tips on making official announcements over multiple social media platforms.

Instagram

Here is the exact Instagram post that I made when I switched to a new brokerage. Use this as a template if it helps. I used one of my new brokerage headshots, and I explained how I felt like this switch was going to help me better serve my clients.

Instagram post from real estate agent announcing that she is moving to a new brokerage

If you want to use my version as a jumping off point for writing your own, here’s a template you can copy, paste, and edit in Insta:


Facebook

If your Instagram is connected to your Facebook, then I recommend posting to both at the same time. If they are not connected, then you can copy and paste the text from your Instagram to your Facebook and use the same photo.


LinkedIn

If LinkedIn is one of your favorite social media platforms, then absolutely make an announcement post here as well. While a very similar post would work on this platform, you definitely want to keep this one professional!


YouTube

Whether you have a large following on YouTube or not, I recommend posting a short announcement video if you have an existing account. And if you don’t have one, then perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to start your YouTube Channel! After all, you already have your first video idea. An example of what to post on this platform would be a video of you in your new brokerage office and very similar verbiage to the Instagram post I shared with you. No music, production, or filters are needed for this one. Keep it genuine, informative, exciting, short, and sweet.


TikTok

Keep this one fun and energetic! It could be the same video you use for your YouTube announcement, but add some music if you want. I also recommend adding captions so that if someone is watching in a public place where they can’t hear everything you’re saying in the video, then they will still be able to read along.

The Close logo

The Close Recommends

If you’re not sure how to make a big splash with your announcement, check out Coffee & Contracts. They have templates for all kinds of common situations in real estate, including telling your sphere about your big move.

9. Set Up Your New CRM

Typically, brokerages already have a customer relationship management (CRM) platform for you to use, but if for some reason they don’t—or you want to use a different one—there are a ton of good options available out there!

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As soon as you’re logged in, start building your new CRM! Import your existing list and add in as many family members, friends, business partners, or anyone else you can think of that you had put off adding in to your old CRM. This is a very important step to building your foundation at your new brokerage without losing clients or prospects. 

10. Email Announcement 

Use your excitement to get others excited about their real estate goals! Now that you’ve got your sphere in your CRM, it’s time to send out an email announcement about your big move.

I’d recommend a short introductory video, with a written-out email below it, and a link to your new website. Try to keep the video portion under one minute. Your CRM program should have a form of email blast marketing template, but if it doesn’t, then you should use a program outside of your CRM that is video-friendly!

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11. Get to Know Your New Tribe

Time to get to know your new fellow Realtors, if you don’t already! Join your new brokerage text message groups, Facebook groups, team meetings, and happy hours as soon as possible. This is your new tribe, and it will make for a smoother transition for you if you feel connected!

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12. More Social Media Announcements

Keep the excitement going! Create another social media post announcement and make it a fun reel or video this time. Below is a boomerang reel I posted on Instagram when I received my new brokerage sign riders. I shot it in my new office (to the song “If You Need Me, Call Me”). This could also be a video of you showing off your new business cards. Get creative!

Real estate agent's Instagram post about getting new sign riders after switch to a new brokerage

13. Go Make It Happen, Captain

Now that you’ve completed all the steps and you’re settled into your new brokerage, it’s time to get to work! I believe that you’ll be able to help even more people in the new year than you did the last. If you make a shift the right way and for the right reasons, you’ll soon see that you didn’t lose any clients from making the switch, and you’ve actually gained even more.

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14. Pop the Champagne

Oh, yeah: Don’t forget to pop the champagne and celebrate your accomplishments. Congratulations, you did it!

It’s important that you don’t underplay this moment in your mind. What you just accomplished is hard! I realize what it takes, and empathize with you on the pain points of making the change. It can feel as if you’re having to start all over again in a way. But let me remind you that you aren’t. All of your experience that has gotten you to this point will remain as your foundation.

It can also be a daunting thought to have to make the time to switch all of your marketing, complete the paperwork, and so on. But I hope this article challenged you to change your perspective and think about it as an investment of your time in order to create a larger return on investment than you are currently seeing. 

When I made the switch, I struggled with the idea of potentially losing my clients and the connections I had built. But after making the switch to a new brokerage a year ago, I have found that people actually never associated me with the brokerage I was with—they simply want to work with me because they like who I am as a person and they trust me.

I’ll leave you with two of my favorite quotes for inspiration as you start your journey ahead.

  • “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred DeVito
  • “If it’s both terrifying and amazing, then you should definitely pursue it.” – Erada