Today’s sophisticated agents want more from their real estate brokerage than just the basic file review, supervision, and commission disbursement. That’s why successful brokers are providing more and more services to attract and retain productive agents. So if you don’t want your brokerage to get left in the dust, you will need to step up the real estate services you provide.
Offering high-quality services and support will not only help you attract more agents, but better agents. You can also more easily justify the higher splits and fees you might need to cover those expanded services. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to strike a fine balance. Frankly, a pitfall for many smaller brokerages is offering too many services too soon. You’ll quickly overload yourself and your staff.
In this article, I will uncover the full list of the services that your brokerage may choose to provide, a detailed description of each, and the estimated costs so you can make the best decision for your brokerage. Starting with software and outsourcing is not a bad idea while you continue to grow. Let’s dive in.
Buyer & Seller Leads
In an agent’s world, prospecting is the name of the game. They’re hungry for leads, and as more companies provide them, that appetite seems to grow. Keep in mind that when brokers supply their agents with leads, everyone wins. With more leads to work, your agents should close more deals—and add money to your brokerage’s pocket.
The game has changed nowadays to make leads more accessible (as long as brokers are willing to pay). However, the benefit of buying these leads directly is that you can also save money on marketing—just cut out the advertising middleman and buy the leads directly from a platform like zBuyer.
Of course, it’s not as cut-and-dry as all that. Providing your agents with leads means that you’ll need to budget for them. You’ll also need to hold your agents accountable for the leads you provide—that’s a fine line to balance. By offering leads, you may be attracting more junior agents with less experience who may need more coaching and education. This balance is important in keeping your brokerage alive with seasoned professionals as well as the fresh new agents.
Why Smart Brokers Provide Leads
Your return on investment (ROI) on providing leads will be directly related to your training and accountability to the agent. Brokerages that do this well can see a three to four times return on their money. Additionally, there are a lot of talented agents who just need a little momentum in their business, which brokerage-supplied leads may provide.
Lead Generation Cost Breakdown
Of course, the cost of providing your agents with leads will vary depending on where your brokerage is located. But if you want to provide enough leads to attract and maintain motivated newer agents, then you should expect to spend anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 per month on leads. Once you throw in a lead manager, you can expect to pay another $45,000 per year for their salary. Let’s review some of the top lead gen companies that brokers should be looking at:
|Top Producer + Social Connect
|Automated marketing, built-in CRM, done-for-you lead generation via social media
|Starting at $300 per month for five users, contract required
|Exclusive inheritance property listing leads
|Starting at $360 per month for 30 leads, contract required
|No-contract leads on demand
|Buyer leads are ~$12 each, seller leads range from $13-$17 each; minimum spend of $400 per month
|Hands-on brokers who like to educate and train seeking a low-cost option
|Starting at $50 per list (FSBOs, expireds, preforeclosure, etc.)
Consistent Digital & Print Marketing
One of the most important lessons learned over my 28-year real estate career is that nothing is more important in an agent’s business than them getting their marketing out consistently. Despite all the systems and tools that are available, more than 80% of agents still fail to follow up with their clients after a sale—not even a postcard!
Brokerage-provided marketing services can include mailing monthly postcards to their sphere of influence (SOI) and farm area as well as helping agents with social media content and creating professional listing and buyer presentations. Your brokerage can provide marketing services through software, outsourcing, or, when you’re large enough, hiring a full-time marketing manager.
Why Smart Brokerages Provide Digital & Print Marketing
If you want to add a service that provides value and measurable returns in both productivity and profits, then taking over your agent’s marketing is the answer. Agent marketing will attract other agents, increase referrals and repeat business from your agents’ SOI, and—best of all—it helps maintain your brokerage’s brand image and standards.
Digital & Print Marketing Benefits vs Costs Breakdown
|Service or Task
|Attracts agents who wish to do more networking
|$30 for 500 cards per agent
|Social Media Content
|Attract agents looking to build a brand and value digital lead generation
|$0-$200 per month per agent
|Attracts those agents who wish to have that digital edge and polished look
|$100-$500 per video
|Agent Headshots & Photography
|Attracts agents seeking help with listing marketing
|$100-$300 per shoot
|Custom Listing & Buyer Presentations
|Attracts busy mid- to high-producing listing agents
|$150-$350 per presentation
|Just Listed & Just Sold Postcards
|Attracts agents seeking marketing help and leads
|$75 for 100 postcards (includes print and mail)
|Farm Area Mailers
|Attracts agents seeking leads and marketing help
|$375 for 500 postcards (includes print and mail)
Coffee & Contracts is a real estate marketing company that offers thousands of social media templates designed specifically for real estate agents. This includes Instagram Reels, carousels, Broke Agent memes, and more. You’ll get access to fresh content and new options every month as a subscriber. You can get started with $15 off your first month with the promo code THECLOSE.
Listing Preparation & Marketing
This is a no-brainer if you’re trying to recruit listing agents. Many high-producing agents are good at lead generation and sales but can fall short when it comes to marketing and managing their listings.
That means you can take a big burden off their plate by offering to handle all the details of listing preparation, like cleaning and staging. You may also help them with marketing tasks like photography, video production, sign installation, MLS input, and promotion.
These services should be outsourced until your real estate brokerage is large enough to support a full-time listing manager. Be sure to negotiate volume discounts with your vendors to keep your expenses within budget. If you’re just dipping your toe into this brokerage service, I recommend looking into providing your agents access to a service like Apply Design, an easy-to-use virtual staging software that charges $7 to $10 per image.
Why Smart Brokerages Provide Listing Preparation & Marketing Services
Of course, these services will allow you to attract the right agents for your brokerage, but there are other benefits you may not be aware of.
Maintain Your Brand’s Image & Standards
This way, listing marketing will be up to the standards of your real estate brokerage and in line with your branding. No more cell phone pics, dark and blurry images, or real estate signs printed with the wrong colors or font. Just this by itself will attract image-conscious homesellers.
Listings Sell Faster & for a Higher Price
When your marketing is done correctly, you will attract more buyers, too. The more buyers who see your listings, the greater chance they will sell quickly and for top dollar, and this will make your agents look good!
Higher Splits & Fees
Believe it or not, many productive and top-producing agents are happy to pay their broker more for the benefit of having all the listing marketing done for them. This provides them with the confidence they need to go after luxury listings and gives them back more time to do what they love—making more sales!
Listing Preparation & Marketing Benefit vs Costs Breakdown
|Service or Task
|Attract busy mid- to high-producing listing agents, maintains your brand’s image and standards
|$500-$2,000 per listing
|Attracts busy mid- to high-producing listing agents who value photogenic listings, maintain your brand’s image and standards
|$15-$199 per listing
|Attracts agents seeking to offer a unique benefit and show their properties in the best light possible
|$200-$400 per listing
|Floorplan or Matterport 3D
|Attracts tech-savvy agents who want to showcase their listings in the best way possible
|$100-$150 per listing
|Helps you stand out as a broker with top-tier agents
|$100-$300 per listing
|Can add a selling point for innovative and luxury agents
|$100-$300 per listing
|Video Production & Editing
|Even a green screen can help your brokerage stand out with agents
|$200-$2,500 per listing
|MLS Input & Management
|Draw in busy agents who want to focus on selling, not paperwork
|$30-$60 per listing
|Listing Promotion: Social Media Channels, Email Blast, Newspaper, TV & Online
|Helps your agents build their brand and attracts new clients
|$30 per email blast, depending on your provider;
$2,000-$20,000 per month via newspaper, TV, and online ads
Transaction Management Services
If you have a highly accountable group of agents, then any task you can take off their plate will increase their productivity. Simply put: If your agents are chasing paperwork, they are not generating leads. Transaction management is an easy and low-cost way to get some of those red-tape tasks off your agents’ schedules.
You can choose to offer this as an a la carte service, but I prefer to increase my fees and include it on every file.
Why Smart Brokerages Provide Transaction Management Services
Taking over the transaction once it has gone under contract will not only free up your agent’s time, it will also eliminate the challenge of chasing down paperwork from your agents to complete your required brokerage file.
Since you have to pay someone to manage that file, it is easy and inexpensive to add this transaction management service to the list of what your brokerage provides. We’ve done a breakdown of our top transaction management software picks to make the choice as easy as possible.
Transaction Management Benefits vs Cost Breakdown
|Service or Task
|Attracts busy mid- to high-producing listing agents
Can be added to the tasks of managing the brokerage file
Agents have more time to lead generate, increasing productivity
|$200-$400 per file or full-time transaction manager for $30,000-$45,000 per year
Agent Signs & Lockboxes (Installation, Removal & Storage)
It may sound simplistic, but providing signs and lockboxes and having them installed, removed, and stored is very enticing to agents. Why? Because what self-respecting agent loves to swing a sledgehammer at a steel sign frame to get it into a frozen lawn? No one, that’s who! Even worse is placing 20 open house signs on busy intersections wearing a black Armani suit in 100-degree weather. Been there—hated it!
Save your agents the pain and embarrassment of having to install listing and open house signs. Let someone else deal with the headache of where to place the lockbox and finagling it onto a metal screen door. Your agents will love you for the simple gesture. To provide this service, you can contract with a local sign company to manage the whole process. The cost is typically $30 to $50 for each install or removal.
Why Smart Brokerages Provide Sign & Lockbox Services
Maintain Your Brand Image & Standards
If I had a dollar for every time I saw one of my brokerage signs printed in the wrong color or with the wrong font, I could buy the Miami Dolphins! Most agents are not in tune with the importance of maintaining a brand, and if they have the ability to save $10 a sign by having them printed more cheaply, they will. If you include listing and open house signs as part of your services, this will ensure that your brand is always presented with quality.
Promote Your Brand
If your listing and open house signs are branded to your brokerage, you are also promoting your brokerage—and the best part is you only pay when your agents take a listing or hold an open house.
Signs & Lockboxes Benefits vs Cost Breakdown
Meetings & Events
Real estate sales is a social business, and most agents love to socialize. A healthy event calendar will not only increase agent retention, but will make recruiting easier. Real estate can also be a lonely business, and many agents are hungry for connection, especially if they are struggling.
3 Types of Events Successful Brokerages Host
Believe it or not, team meetings are less about education and information and more about building and maintaining relationships and company culture. Coffee and donuts, or lunch right after your team meeting, can give agents a reason to socialize and bond. It also gives them a reason to show up (besides listening to you or your sales manager talk shop).
Social Happy Hours
A monthly happy hour at a local brewery or trendy restaurant will make your agents feel like you value them and want to get to know them better. Additionally, these social happy hours are a great opportunity to invite agents from other brokerages to check out your company’s culture.
Getting in front of your agents’ clients not only builds your brokerage’s brand, but it provides a reason for your agents to reach out to their SOI and past clients. Many busy agents would love to throw customer appreciation events but lack the time or skills to do it. And some agents with small SOIs or client databases fear that they won’t have enough people show up. Why not give them all a helping hand and coordinate the event for them? There’s no need to do them monthly—quarterly or bi-annually will be enough to keep your agents in front of their SOI.
Meetings & Events Benefits vs Costs Breakdown
|Service or Task
|Improves company culture, educational requirements, and keeps agents engaged
|Free-$150 per meeting
|Happy Hour & Social Events
|Improves company culture
|$200 per event
|Client Appreciation Events
|Attracts busy mid- to high-producing listing agents who wish to have more customer engagement
|$1,500-$4,000 per event
Education & Training
Any real estate brokerage that wants to serve agents throughout their careers must provide a full suite of education and training. If they’re not getting it from you, they will get it somewhere else. Plus, keep in mind that your educated agents tend to be more productive and on top of the newest contract changes, leading to less mistakes—in short, your errors and omissions insurance will thank you.
Begin by thinking about what type of agents you want your brokerage to serve. What phase of their career are they in? What skills and knowledge do they need to be successful in order to push through to the next phase?
If you don’t have time for this rhetorical question, I did some of the thinking for you. Below you’ll find a short list of the phases of an agent’s career, as well as classes that will support them in that phase.
Types of Agents & Training Smart Brokerages Offer
People interested in getting into real estate need access to a real estate school. Many successful brokerages either offer an in-house real estate licensing school or have an affiliation with one, where they refer students in exchange for promoting their brokerage as an affiliation option. So if your business model includes recruiting brand-new agents, getting into prelicensing education is a no-brainer.
New & Newer Agents
This is where you need a structured training calendar—one that can walk a new licensee through a marketing plan, lead generation strategies, and all the required tasks related to working with buyers and sellers.
Newer agents also need the support of a mentor who they can call to get their urgent questions answered. This ensures that they are doing the right thing and protects your brokerage.
Busy productive agents don’t want to sit in classes week to week. They only want to attend classes that they can directly apply to their business. Productive agents are attracted to business planning, lead generation classes, and continuing education (CE) credit courses that offer knowledge they can use.
Top Producers & Teams
Top producers and teams are looking for educational opportunities that are geared toward the latest systems, tools, and strategies that help them bring their business to the next level.
Try bringing in coaches, trainers, or top producers from other markets to teach your driven agents. Agents from outside your market area are more likely to share their secrets without the fear of a competitor taking their market share away.
Education & Training Benefits vs Costs Breakdown
|Service or Task
|Real Estate License School
|A consistent source of new agents coming into your company
|Part-time or full-time teacher; $10,000-$40,000 per year
|New Agent Training
|Attract and develop new or newer agents
|Part-time or full-time trainer; $10,000-$40,000 per year
|Provide support for new or newer agents
|Part-time or full-time mentor; $10,000-$40,000 per year
|Attract agents who wish to improve their sales skills
|$500-$2,000 per training event
|Continuing Education & Contract Classes
|Help agents keep up to date with CE credits and contract changes
|$30-$40 per agent
|Attracts productive agents who wish to grow and create consistency in their business
|$500-$2,000 per training event
|Team Building Training
|Attracts high-level agents who wish to take their business to the next level
|$500-$2,000 per training event
Office Management Services
Beyond just printing fliers, holding classes, and running team meetings, you still have to fulfill all the state-mandated managing broker activities, such as agent supervision and file compliance—not to mention all the management tasks that go with running a brokerage, such as financial management, office reception, and recruiting.
While these services may not be on your company brochure, if you wish to have a successful brokerage, they still need to be managed.
Office Management & Services Benefits vs Costs Breakdown
|Services or Task
|Open and close office, answer phones, greet agents and guests
$28,000-$32,000 per year
|Set and coordinate showings, manage feedback
|$29 per agent or $20 per listing
|Issue commission checks, pay bills, create financial documents
|Part-time or full-time operations manager;
$15,000-$42,000 per year
|Broker File Review
|Managing broker reviews each file for legal compliance
|Full-time licensed managing broker;
$40,000 per year + and/or no cap or fees
|Brokerage file reviewed for dates, signatures, and disclosure compliance
|Part-time or full-time transaction manager;
$15,000 - $32,000 per year
|Recruit, interview, onboard new agents
|Part-time or full-time sales manager;
$30,000-$60,00 per year + bonus
Essential Software to Manage Real Estate Brokerage Services
Now that you have decided what services you are going to provide the agents with your real estate brokerage, next look for the software solutions that will help you deliver these services and manage your brokerage.
To keep your expenses low, use software whenever you can. Even though the upfront cost and setup of software can be pricey, it will save you money over the cost of hiring an employee.
For a full list of software solutions to run a real estate brokerage, please check out the article: Real Estate Brokerage Software: Our Top 26 Picks for 2023 (+ Pricing).
It’s a Fine Balance & Further Reading
The types of services you choose to offer will ultimately determine the employees you will need to successfully run your real estate brokerage. A common mistake new brokers make is offering too many services when their brokerage is small. This mistake puts too much stress on a young brokerage’s limited staff.
To avoid this misstep, you must find creative ways to provide a full range of services to your agents—all while not breaking the bank. One way to do this is to use software solutions, outsourcing, and then hire employees to manage the remaining tasks. For a complete list of employees see our recent article, The Employees You Need to Successfully Grow a Real Estate Brokerage.
What mistakes did you make when you set up your first brokerage? Are there any services I might have missed? Let us know in the comment section below.