Top reasons agents are leaving big box brokerages

So we're talking about how the bigger traditional box brokerages are losing traction in the marketplace. We both had conversations with the agents that have left box brokerages, ourselves included, and some of the prevailing, the top four prevailing reasons what they're looking for outside of these box brokerages.

Agents leaving traditional brokerages seek culture, purpose, leadership, and agility. They want a collaborative, purpose-driven, transparent, and adaptable community. The culture they desire is one of collaboration, personal growth, and fun, creating a tight-knit tribe. Purpose extends beyond transactions to meaningful client relationships and community impact. They seek leadership that guides them through market volatility, unlike the lack of direction at big box brokerages during the 2008 crisis. Transparency and a clear plan are essential for inspiring trust and changing the brokerage culture. Lastly, agility means adapting to changing markets and evolving commission structures. Smaller independent brokerages often excel in this regard. Join us to be part of a brokerage that embodies these values and empowers agents to thrive in real estate while pursuing their broader life goals.


The number one thing that I hear is when I'm talking to agents is culture. I think agents are searching for a culture that supports their business. Collaboration is a word that comes up, and they're looking for a tighter knit group that is willing to collaborate not just in ways that supports their business and helping their client base and growing their business, but also helps them personally too, whether it be personal investments or raising their leadership skills. Just more collaboration. I think another part of that collaboration is also just having fun, a non stuffy atmosphere, bringing more energy to the space, doing events together, just having fun with your coworkers and the people that are in this with you. They're looking for a tribe. Yeah, I think along with that.


Culuture leads into the second thing that we hear that comes up when I'm talking to agents is purpose, which is a part of culture. A lot of agents are looking for to move from just being transactional to really having purpose with their work. And it could be just with going deeper with their client base. A lot of agents are just kind of turning and burning and then realize they get to a certain point where they really want to be more purposeful with their clients. Because you develop these relationships, right? We talk about being an inch wide and a mile deep and then how you go about doing that. But also in the community, what are you doing with your time when you're not out there working with clients? How are you applying yourself so that you're making an impact? I think everybody inherently wants to do good.

I think the other part of purpose, too, at least for me and what I feel like what we're doing here at Atlas is talking about what we're going to do after this. Right? Like, what is our purpose in real estate? Is it to sell real estate for the rest of our lives? I know it's not for me. And if that's true, then why aren't other real estate agents helping each other figure out how to not sell real estate for their entire lives? I don't want to be that 85 year old real estate agent still slinging houses. Nothing wrong with that. Just not what you want to do. It's not what er want to do forever. And I think that there's a big portion of our real estate community who doesn't want to do that forever. And so having a purpose, an end goal in mind as a tribe will help as well.

And for me, it's to have fun doing this and to fund, doing things that I really enjoy doing outside of this, like giving back, spending time with my friends and family. But yeah, it's really just a means to an end. Right? 


This comes up too, and especially important right now, where the market's kind of turning and there's a lot of volatility, it's constricted, there's a lot of uncertainty in the market. I'll speak to my own personal experiences. I was with a big box brokerage the beginning of my career, from 2003 to 2009.

So we were with a traditional box brokerage at the time and the market had crashed in 2008. And here we are in 2008, 2009. We're with this box brokerage and they're closing offices, they're firing people. They're really just trying to cut bait and save face. There was real no leadership. It was just trying to manage the mess that we were in. And I can't even say that we were looking specifically for leadership until we saw it with the company that we ended up going with, which was a boutique, small local brokerage just outside of Baltimore that we ended up moving to. And it was a completely different feel, which also they were saying, this is how we're going into this new era of real estate after we've crashed, this is where we're going, this is how we're getting there. And that actually fed into the culture. All these things tie together. And I think that's really important, especially right now. Transparency with the plan, with big box brokerage, we had no idea what their plan was. All we were doing was making assumptions based on what we were seeing them do. It was just management. They were just managing the chaos versus saying, this is how we're getting through this big difference. And it changed the culture, which changes your mentality and how you show up every day, which changes how you show up for your people, your clients. I mean, it all has a filtering down effect. 

Being Agile

And then the fourth thing is the ability to be agile, right? And that's part of leadership. It's part of culture, it's part of collaboration. It's just the ability to be agile in good times and bad times, right? Being able to switch and pivot how you're doing business and what you're doing, how you're pouring into your community, how you're pouring into your database, right? So I think that's another thing that I see come up with agents.

I think the thing about being agile though, is it's not just about switching the plan either. The brokerage itself, the models, everything has to change if the markets change drastically.

Something as simple as not simple, but something like commission plans and how agents are getting paid, that changes over time, as it should. Right. That's just a fact of life. I think some of these smaller independent brokerages have the ability to be more agile with their financial packages.

As always if any of this resonates with you, or you'd like to find out more don't hesitate to reach out!

What to dig deeper? Let's connect!

Nick Kellar
CEO & Co-Owner
Atlas Premier Realty
[email protected]
2018 Baltimore Real Producers Heart & Hustle Winner
2023 Baltimore Real Producers World Changer Nominee
Carroll Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees Member

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