If you’re already a licensed and experienced Real Estate Professional, you may have considered the option of opening your own brokerage. Investing in a brokerage gives you the freedom to run your own business, and the opportunity to reach new heights in your career. As a brokerage owner, your income is derived not only from the real estate deals that you conduct, but you also receive a portion of the income from the team of agents working within your brokerage. 

As daunting as it may seem, the great news is that with some organization and a well-laid out business plan, starting your own real estate brokerage franchise is a straightforward process. To make it easier, we’ve outlined the most important steps that will set you on the right path to starting a real estate brokerage.  

Do you have your Brokers Licence?

A requirement for anyone hoping to start their own real estate business is that you must be a licensed real estate broker. The path for securing your broker’s license varies depending on your State or Province. Typically, you need to have been practicing as a real estate agent for at least two or three years, and you must submit an application with your State Department of Commerce or Provincial Real Estate Council. This is followed by a series of courses and examinations. 

Franchise or Independent Real Estate Brokerage? 

As a broker, you have the option of starting your own independent brokerage, or adopting a real estate franchise model. There are distinct pros and cons to each model that are important to thoroughly understand before making your choice. As an overview, starting your own independent brokerage allows you certain freedoms, such as building your company’s brand from scratch. 

Franchise models, on the other hand, come with the advantage of a proven set of blueprints to build your brokerage business. This includes a recognizable franchise brand name, marketing materials, and training tools, as well as access to a robust network of real estate professionals and referrals. With this framework already in place, you have the ability to focus on other aspects of your new business, such as conducting market research and building your team. 

Register with your State/Provincial Real Estate Council & Real Estate Board

Select a name for your brokerage that is unique, memorable, and aligns with your brand image. Be sure to check if the desired trade name and domain name are available, which will make it easier for you to set up your website once you’re ready to market your business. 

While requirements will vary, typically brokerages are required to apply to the state or provincial Real Estate Council or Board, as well as be a member of your local real estate board. These application processes are comprehensive, and generally require the coordination of other paperwork such as police checks, bank account set-up, and transfer forms, to name a few. Ensure you pay close attention to the requirements to ensure that details are not missed along the way. 

Enlist a Lawyer to Help with Incorporation of your Brokerage

It’s a good idea to seek the guidance of a lawyer who is experienced in the process of brokerage incorporation. Typically, your local Real Estate Council or board will have detailed guidelines regarding incorporation requirements, and it’s important that your lawyer is familiar with the nuances of the process to ensure that your brokerage is compliant. 

Hire an Accountant 

As a brokerage owner, your accounting requirements are a great deal more complex than as a real estate agent. Ensure you have the help of an experienced accountant to develop a sound accounting plan that is compliant with all government regulations. Typically, brokerages require three bank accounts to separate funds received for different transactions; your accountant will monitor these accounts closely to ensure they are accurate at all times. Proactive accounting will save you from any undue stress in the event of an inspection. 

Designate Your Workspace

Wherever you decide to run your brokerage, it is important that your space is clean, organized, and comfortable for your team as well as your clients. Decide what is best for you and your team. At first, you might consider renting a temporary space until you can find a suitable office space for your brokerage. 

As your team of agents grows, you may decide to invest in a dedicated office space for your brokerage. As a significant expense, ensure that you take the time to select a space that has good visibility for your business, and is accessible to your team and clients. 

Define your Brand, Market Your Brokerage

  • Website
    • In today’s digital marketplace, a well-developed, visually appealing, and easy-to-navigate website is one of your best tools for ensuring that your business is found by potential clients. Work with a graphic artist to ensure that you have a comprehensive library of logo and branding designs in a variety of sizes, that are both digitally compatible as well as fit for various print purposes. 
  • Advertising and Promotional Material
    • Source print houses that can help with traditional real estate advertising tools such as lawn signs, flyers, and business cards. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and develop creative promotional material that will set your brokerage apart from the competition. 
  • Networking
    • As a brokerage owner, your marketing efforts will not only be aimed towards potential clients, but also towards attracting quality agents to work within your team. Local networking events are a great opportunity to meet other professionals within your community or industry. These connections can prove to be a source of valuable referrals to grow both your business, and your team. 

Cut the Ribbon!

Congratulations, you’ve turned your business idea into a real estate brokerage set for success! 

If you’re interested in partnering with us and exploring the benefits of Franchise ownership with RE/MAX, one of our Franchise Consultants can walk you through the process from start to finish. When you partner with RE/MAX, we help set you up with the tools and resources you need to make your brokerage successful. Contact us today. 

This material is not an offering. The information in this material is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy a franchise; it is for informational purposes only.  A franchise is offered in many jurisdictions only by delivery of a franchise disclosure document to you in compliance with applicable franchise disclosure laws. Further, if you are currently affiliated with another franchisor, this material is not intended to offer a RE/MAX franchise or to solicit a change in affiliation. RE/MAX INTEGRA, 7101 Syntex Dr., Mississauga, ON, L5N6H5 Minnesota File No. F-1659