The Complete Guide To Recruiting Real Estate Agents In 2024

Learn how to recruit real estate agents and retain the best talent.

The real estate industry experienced a significant slump in 2023. Mortgage rates were approaching 7%, and the existing U.S. monthly home sales fell by 3.3% between the start of May and the end of July. Unfortunately, this slump is set to continue in 2024.

Believe it or not, a market downturn like this is a prime opportunity for realtors to expand their teams by attracting and recruiting new real estate agents.

Why? Because many agents will have seen their production and commissions fall. Those who were considering a move will be more motivated to switch brokerages and seize the opportunity to find a more rewarding career environment.

This guide is designed to help you develop a consistent and effective strategy for recruiting real estate agents and ensuring their long-term retention.

In this article, we will discuss how to create an effective recruitment process, including what attracts top real estate agents, the best ways to recruit them, and how to retain them once they’re working for you.

How to Recruit Potential Agents

In any industry, finding good people is the key to success—and real estate is no different. Signing top producers to your real estate brokerage or team will give you a competitive advantage and help you sustain long-term growth.

This is because great real estate agents are committed to building a healthy pipeline, closing transactions, and maintaining a robust network of happy clients.

This level of commitment is why top-producing real estate agents earn more than four times what their novice peers bring in.

Top-performing agents also offer specialized knowledge and extensive experience, resulting in hassle-free closings, valuable referrals, and repeat clients.

The real estate recruitment challenge

The problem is that the best agents are almost always employed. For this reason, these highly sought-after professionals are rarely in between jobs.

To overcome this, recruiters must have a process for nurturing long-term relationships with talented real estate agents. This ensures that your brokerage is the one top talent considers when they’re ready to move.

Unfortunately, many brokers keep recruitment on the back burner when they should be prioritizing it to ensure they maintain a funnel of desirable prospective agents.

In other words, the right time to start recruiting new real estate agents is now, and the right time to stop recruiting is never.  

How to Create Your Real Estate Agent Recruiting Process

A successful real estate agent recruitment strategy hinges on a deliberate and well-structured process that consistently nurtures relationships with agents until they’re ready to move.

We recently spoke to real estate industry veteran and top recruiter, Robb Campbell. He shared his real estate recruiting strategy with us. 

To summarize, the seven steps are:

  1. Buy or create a database of real estate agents with the experience you need in your area.
  1. Hire someone to perform outreach calls and get real estate agents to commit to a 15-minute conversation with you. 
  1. During the scheduled call, ask the agent how business is going and about their future.
  1. Try to organize an in-person meeting. Tell the agent that you know they’re happy where they are and that you want to build a relationship in case anything changes in the future.
  1. At the meeting, tell them about your real estate business over coffee or a shared meal.
  1. Hire someone else to follow up with the agent after the meeting to see if they need more information.
  1. If the agent isn’t ready to move yet, maintain contact by steadily providing them with updates and other information. 

Robb says that with this system, every agent he speaks to thinks of him when they eventually consider moving brokerages.

3 Ways to Find Out What Talented Agents Want

Recruiting agents involves understanding their values and priorities. Do they want more favorable commission splits? A better work-life balance? Here are some of the ways you can find out what they want from their career:

1. Get out and meet them

A helpful way to find out what great agents want from a brokerage is simply to ask them.

Find top-producing agents in your area or niche and offer to take them to dinner. Ask them what would make them consider moving to a new brokerage.

You can also ask them if they can recommend any agents looking to move. Be sure to enquire about promising new agents whose talent you can develop.

2. Understand what motivates agents

Some agents will actively be looking for a new company to move to, while others will only consider a move if it comes their way. Knowing how to pitch to different agent mindsets is critical.

For example, agents not looking for a new brokerage are likely happy where they are, but earning more under the same conditions may be favorable for them. 

3. Offer more than just money to real estate agents

Top-performing agents are increasingly motivated by flexibility, mobility, and opportunities for professional development.

Agents may be interested in training and development opportunities or additional support and mentoring. They may also be interested in flexible working arrangements.

Other benefits you could offer include:

  • A company car.
  • Proving them with assistance to build their own personal brand.
  • Equipment such as the latest phones, tablets, and laptops.
  • More vacation days.
  • Opportunities to work with certain types of clients.
  • Insurance plans such as healthcare, dental coverage, and life insurance.
  • Company pension with contributions.
  • Other benefits such as free gym memberships or cycle-to-work schemes.

4 Ways to Find Great Agents

Placing job adverts online will get you lots of applications—but they are unlikely to be from top agents. 

To find the best real estate agents, you need to cast a wider net and be more proactive and creative in your recruitment techinques.

Here are a few ways to do this:

1. Attend real estate industry events

Attending industry events is a good way to meet agents. Your local real estate association will usually hold regular networking, professional development, and lobbying events.

Here is a great example from the Chicago Association of Realtors. The organization hosts various events throughout the year: 

2. Use social media

Social media is a great way to extend your company’s reach beyond your website or word of mouth. The same goes for your agent recruitment.

Regularly publish posts that celebrate your agents. Below is a great example from Asheville Realty Group’s Facebook page

You could also create campaigns aiming to get more real estate agents to follow your brokerage. This could include guides to becoming a realtor or the latest regulatory changes for agents.

Here’s a good example from Diane McCown’s Facebook page:

When it’s time to recruit, post a link and include a personal message asking if anyone is interested. 

Here’s a great example from Reali on LinkedIn.

3. Offer sign-up bonuses

Personal relationships are the best way to find successful agents—and using other people’s networks helps you to find even more of these opportunities.

Offer bonuses to agents and staff who refer a new agent who signs up with the brokerage. This empowers your staff to recruit agents themselves.

4. Host real estate agent events

Whether in real estate or another sector, people get excited about joining a company they know well. Consider hosting events that seek to build these types of relationships.

You could host talks with veteran agents about their journey to success or with accountants about how to maximize income and lower taxes. 

Real estate agents may find these topics useful and compelling, making them more likely to attend your event.

10 Ways to Retain Real Estate Agents

Attracting great agents is only one part of the process. Once they have joined your brokerage, you’ll need to create an environment that keeps them at your company. Here are some tips on how to do this:

1. Offer a simple transaction process

Top-producing agents love tools that are simple because they don’t require hours to learn, use, or maintain.

Whether it’s your broker transaction management software, intranet system, customer relationship management (CRM) software, form tools, or anything else—experienced agents want to get in and out as quickly as possible.

2. Offer adaptable technology

Many brokerages insist that their agents use certain tools or software, either because they provide comprehensive solutions or to keep all leads under the company’s control.

Imagine meeting with a top agent and telling them that to work with your brokerage, they must learn a new process and give up the tools and workflows that have made them successful.

Instead, offer technology solutions that allow them to continue operating in the way that suits them best.

3. Offer tools that increase agent productivity

Some real estate agents may need tools to help them increase their productivity.

Consider implementing transaction management systems that are easy to learn and use.

Additionally, you can use tools that offer automated task reminders based on the most critical transaction milestones—such as acceptance, close date, loan approval date, or the option period.

It’s important to ensure that your systems can automatically sync with your new agents’ calendars, which you can do with Paperless Pipeline:

4. Provide insightful production reports on demand

Real estate agents need regular and detailed production data to work effectively.

Offer agents the ability to quickly view their production and hone in on deals that are missing critical documents or require attention. 

Allow agents to quickly find client contacts or transaction information from any of their previous deals. 

Ensure that they can view these reports, filter and sort results, and access the exact information they need when they need it.

All of this can be done with Paperless Pipeline:

5. Provide access to income statements in real-time

When it comes to the end of the year, brokers aren’t the only ones rushing to get ready for tax season. Agents feel the same pressure and want their financial information quickly and on time. 

Consider providing automated monthly financial reports with the previous month and year-to-date information on gross and net income from the commissions they’ve generated. 

Take it a step further and make it clear to agents that they can also view all of their financial information in real-time.

Here’s an example of an income statement using Paperless Pipeline:

6. Offer commission structures that motivate

Brokerages generally offer two standard commission structures to agents: splits or flat fees. 

It’s essential to consider your commission structure and evaluate whether it motivates agents to perform. 

For example, higher-than-typical commission splits can encourage agents to continue finding new clients as every sale grows their income. 

7. Offer attainable commission plan incentives

A great way to help recruit agents seeking ways to increase their earnings is to offer commission plans with more incentives

For example, some brokerages will offer different splits based on the lead source—in other words, they get a more favorable split if they generate the lead themselves. Top agents love this incentive, as they receive a lot of referrals and repeat clients.

Another tactic (whether you offer splits or a flat fee) is to provide a commission threshold. Once the threshold is exceeded, the agent earns 100% of the total commission, or their fee is waived.

8. Recognize and celebrate your real estate agents’ success

We mentioned earlier that celebrating agents will attract talent. But it’s even better for retaining agents. 

Consider shout-outs on social media, annual events to highlight the top producers, and rewards for productivity. 

Be sure to offer this incentive to new real estate agents who are rapidly establishing their reputation, or to those who have demonstrated significant efforts to improve themselves.

9. Support your agents 

Becoming a successful real estate agent, broker, or team is challenging. There’s a lot of competition, and many of those competing agents have years of experience or a strong brand behind them. 

One of the best ways to improve your company culture is to establish a process to support every real estate agent—no matter their experience level. 

Meet with them to discuss their needs, what’s working, and what’s challenging. Help them improve what they do well and overcome the difficulties they encounter. 

Genuine assistance and support says a lot about your company, and it’s one of the most powerful ways to increase word-of-mouth referrals. 

10. Support team opportunities

Experienced agents are often ambitious and continually looking to the future. Many have their sights set on building their own brokerage or team. 

If you are an owner-producer, you may not want to share leads. This can result in seasoned agents feeling like they are being held back. They may eventually look for other opportunities. 

Make a point of supporting your agents and their goals. Help them develop top-producing teams to take your brokerage to the next level. 

Recruit Top Real Estate Talent with Paperless Pipeline

Paperless Pipeline is the transaction management software of choice for more than 80,000 real estate professionals. 

It’s purpose-built software with one goal in mind: to help the country’s top realtors close more deals and grow their real estate business. Paperless Pipeline offers:

  • Simplicity: It’s so easy to use that it doesn’t require a 24/7 technical support team.
  • Versatility: The software doesn’t force admins and agents to learn an entirely new process from the ground up.
  • Adaptability: Paperless Pipeline doesn’t compromise the closing of any of your active transactions.

With a proven blend of mobility, simplicity, and sophisticated technology, Paperless Pipeline is perfect for drawing top-producing agents to your company and retaining them for years to come. 
Try Paperless Pipeline today without a credit card or commitment, and see for yourself why the country’s top brokerages trust this software to help them recruit and retain successful agents.