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The Complete Guide to Recruiting Real Estate Agents

Whether you’re an established brokerage with experienced agents, or a new brokerage recruiting real estate agents, this guide is designed to help you develop a successful and ongoing process for recruiting and retaining the best agents.

Real Estate Recruitment Explained

In any industry, finding the right people is one of the most important keys to success. In real estate, signing top-producers to your real estate brokerage or team is one of the most important factors to sustained long-term growth.

Why? Because the best agents are committed to building a healthy pipeline, closing transactions, and maintaining a robust network of happy clients.

That level of commitment is likely why top-producing agents earn more than four times what their more novice peers bring in. Even more, top-performing agents offer specialized knowledge and extensive experience that enables them to create the conditions necessary for hassle-free closings, valuable referrals, and repeat clients.

Without these top-producers and their extensive professional experience, companies may find themselves struggling to keep production high and their clients satisfied.

This guide will help you understand why real estate recruitment should be a long-term top priority and how you can recruit (and retain) the very best agents.

Recruiting Real Estate Agents is Ongoing

But just like winning clients or closing a deal, attracting the best real estate talent requires thoughtful strategic planning. Commission splits, tiers, and plans aren’t everything. Top-performing agents are increasingly motivated by flexibility, mobility, and opportunities for professional development.

In response, any successful recruiting strategy must be able to fulfill these expectations to attract and retain the best talent.

Recruit agents before they start looking.

The best agents are always employable because they bring success with them. In response, the best agents are rarely in between jobs.

Unfortunately, many brokers keep recruitment on the back-burner when instead, they should make it a priority to ensure they maintain the funnel filled with desirable leads. 

In other words, the right time to start recruiting is now, and the right time to stop recruiting is never. That means you’ll be actively recruiting agents working for a broker, but it also means you’ll be top-of-mind when they make the switch elsewhere. 

Keep an eye out as well for new agents at competing brokerages who are making a quick name for themselves. Often, you can cultivate that relationship and offer even more in terms of support, coaching, and opportunity—especially if they’ve signed up under less than favorable commission terms. 

Continually invest in your company brand.

It’s much easier to recruit the best agents when you’re a market leader and not a market-challenger. Sure, there are benefits to both, but being the market leader with brand recognition comes with some great perks. Prospects recognize your company name, logo, brand—and with it, they quickly understand a strong value proposition. 

Consider investing in paid ad campaigns, social media marketing, and search engine optimization tactics that will help evaluate your company name. The results of these efforts extend beyond gaining new clients—it garners the attention of the area’s top producing agents and agent teams.  

Know what other brokers and brokerages offer.

The most successful brokerages will be actively recruiting agents before they’re looking. These agents are one of two types of job-seekers: Active and Passive job-seekers. Knowing what to pitch and how to negotiate with an agent is critical to nurture ideal prospects.

The primary reason that passive job-seekers switch companies is for more money. In other words, for those agents who aren’t looking for a new brokerage, they’re likely happy and content, but making more money under the same conditions is certainly favorable. However, for agents actively looking for a new brokerage, they often want better opportunities or a healthy work-life balance. For these job seekers, consider offering a different way of working (the remote culture), or better ways for them to improve their skills and grow their income.

Diversify your recruitment pipeline.

Utilize social media to extend your company’s reach beyond a website or word-of-mouth. While those are often critical, there are other great ways to promote your company and offer. Utilize your brand channels, including Ads, SEO, and video-based marketing efforts, or consider bonuses for agents who refer an agent that signs up with the brokerage. 

Whether it’s within real estate or most other industries, people get excited about working for a company that they’ve familiar with. Consider hosting events that seek to build these types of relationships. 

Opportunities to hear from veteran agents about how their journey to success or talks from accountants about how to maximize income and lower taxes are great topics that generate new agent leads. The more an agent enjoys these types of events, the more often they may show up—giving you a chance to build long-term relationships and consistently demonstrate the value of your company.   

Find new ways to retain top producers. 

Business owners know that it’s cheaper to maintain customers than it is to acquire new ones. The same rule holds true for recruitment as well. In fact, not only is keeping your agents more cost-effective than investing in finding more, but they can help you find new agents at a cheaper cost. 

Empower your current agents to help recruit. Invite them into the process as a decision-maker, and you’ll often find that they will find new ways to improve the process and close the deal on the best new talent. Additionally, keeping your top producers with your company enables you to highlight more stories of success, growth, and accomplishment—nearly free social proof initiatives for marketing and brand awareness. 

How to Recruit Real Estate Agents

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, CRM, form tools, or anything else—top agents want to get in and get out in as little time as possible.

Your agents likely don’t want to spend time entering data into a system. Instead, they want to use a system that quickly helps them stay on track. Top agents love simple tools because they are easy to learn and easy to use, and fewer “moving parts” make simple tools more reliable than complicated ones.

Imagine meeting with one of the top agents in your area and telling them that, if they come to work with your brokerage, they have to learn an entirely new process and give up the tools and workflows that have made them successful.

Worse, tools that need 24/7 technical support force agents to stop and delay work until issues are resolved or force them to stay sitting and waiting for a support member to help them. For many brokers, those types of issues are not going to help close the deal.

2. Offer adaptable technology.

When you recruit a new agent, especially one that’s a top producer, it means that you’re bringing on more than a person. Top real estate agents come with a set of tools, processes, and systems that they’ve used and that have directly contributed to their success.

Unfortunately, many brokerages require agents to use their tools or software because they pay for all-in-one solutions or because they want all leads collected by the company. 

Instead, offer technology solutions that allow them to continue working in their specific way. Some top producers work exclusively with clientele who prefer pen and paper—it’s essential to enable them to continue supporting their clients in the best way. Other agents come with an extensive list of leads and clients that they don’t want to share out, so ensuring they can continue using their tools is imperative. 

Additionally, top brokers know that recruiting and supporting new agents is an entirely different task than recruiting top talent. The difference requires a versatile system that can adapt to each agent type and need.

New agents require hand-holding, more intense coaching, and greater oversight. The workflow required of them should not impact your top producing agents. Those top agents don’t want to spend time learning an over-engineered process when they’ve been using a system that works well for them.

3. Offer tools that help agents become even more productive.

While many agents have a workflow that works well for them, others may need technology tools in place that can help them increase their productivity. For these agents, it’s important to offer tools that are simple and can help keep them on track. 

Consider implementing transaction management systems that are easy to learn and just as easy to use. A versatile system that allows agents to submit paperwork by email, upload, or scan ensures that no matter what agent you recruit, they will have a seamless way to submit documents to the brokerage. 

Additionally, you can utilize 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. Even better, make sure your systems can automatically sync with your new agents’ calendars. 


4. Offer technology that works with other tools.

In addition to providing software tools that are adaptable to different workflows and that enable agents to become even more productive, it’s important to offer options. For many brokerages, agents are still independent contractors, and as such, often cannot be required to use your tools. 

Make sure that your transaction management system allows agents to use their favorite other apps. Some agents prefer the tools provided with their association membership or by the state, while others prefer their systems for collecting signatures and processing forms. Forcing them to navigate yet another tool that they don’t need or want is the quickest way to frustrate agents and over complicate the process. 

5. Provide insightful production reports on-demand.

Every top real estate agent has their style, but one thing is often similar: the need for consistent and insightful production data. Offer agents the ability to quickly view their production and hone in on deals that are missing critical documents or that require attention. 

Allow agents to quickly find client contact or transaction information from any of their previous deals. Ensure that they can view these reports, filter and sort results, and see precisely what they need as they need it. Doing so will ensure that new agents are confident they won’t have to waste time driving into the office or spending time with a third-party support team 24/7. 


6. Give 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 new prospects that they can also view all of their financial information in real-time. This will save time for everyone, and for new agents looking to work with your brokerage, it’s a great way to provide a clear and consistent picture of their earnings. 


7. Offer commission structures that motivate.

Brokerages generally offer some pretty standard commission structures to agents: splits or a flat fee. It’s essential to consider your commission structure and evaluate if it motivates agents to perform. For example, higher than typical traditional commission splits can encourage agents to continue investing in finding new clients as every sale will grow their income. 

For top agents with deep client bases and long rosters of experience, flat fees can be even more motivating because your agents will keep nearly the full commission earned on every transaction. Keep in mind that when recruiting new agents, the flat fee is less appealing because the fixed cost is a certainty while production is not.

8. Offer attainable commission plan incentives.

A great way to help recruit top agents who are seeking ways to increase their earnings is to offer commission plans with more incentive. For example, some brokerages will offer different splits based on the lead source—something that top agents love. 

Another tactic, whether you offer splits or a flat fee, is to provide a commission cap where the agent will earn 100% of the total commission or where the fee is waived. This also works well for high-producing teams because you can offer the team lead 100% while the team members remain on a commission plan that splits the commission with your company. 

9. Highlight and Recognize Your Agents

Consistent recognition of great work is another way to build an influential company culture that new agents and top talent want to work for. Consider call-outs on social media, annual events to highlight the top producers, and rewards for productivity. Do the same for the new agents who are quickly making a name for themselves or who have shown meaningful initiatives to get better. 

You may also consider changing the relationship with agents deserving of recognition. Give them a leadership role in the office, ask them to help direct and coach new agents, or pay for learning opportunities outside the brokerage. 

10. Support Your Agents  

Becoming a successful real estate agent, broker, or team is a challenging process. There’s a ton 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 all of your agents—no matter how experienced or new they are. 

Meet with them to discuss their needs, what’s working, and what’s challenging. Help them improve what they do well and help them overcome the challenges they encounter. Genuine and authentic help says a lot about your company, and it’s one of the most powerful ways to increase word-of-mouth referrals. In addition to personal support, consider offering tools, software, and reports that can further enable and support agents’ success. 

11. Coach Agents to Where They Want to Go

Coaching isn’t always effective, and effective coaching is rarely cheap. Offer new agents access to effective coaching and consistent mentorship. These types of opportunities are rare—many brokerages believe that coaching should come from real estate veterans, rather than from professional coaching. 

Great coaches are often companies, not individuals, and not someone in the office that takes the role of the “part-time coach.” These types of companies provide effective services and proven results because they develop accountability and motivation to agents, as well as the brokers and teams, too.

12. Support Team Opportunities

Top agents are often ambitious and are continually looking to the future. Many don’t believe they’ll remain an agent throughout their entire career and instead have their sights set on building their own brokerage or team. Unfortunately for brokerages with owner-producers, this can feel like an unhealthy relationship. Leads are held close and not shared, and top agents will passively be looking for the next opportunity. 

Make a point to support your agents and their goals. Help them develop top-producing teams that can take your brokerage to the next level. As with any employee, they may eventually leave, but a genuine interest in helping them succeed will ensure that your pipeline of prospects never runs dry. Often, new and talented agents alike will be eager to work with the brokerage that can support them.  

How Paperless Pipeline Can Help Your Brokerage or Team Recruit Top Real Estate Agents

For more than 80k real estate professionals, Paperless Pipeline is the software of choice for real estate transaction management because it’s purpose-built software with one goal in mind: To help the country’s top real estate companies close more deals and grow.

  • Paperless Pipeline is simple. It doesn’t require a technical support team that needs to be available 24/7 to use it.
  • Paperless Pipeline is versatile. It doesn’t force admins and agents to learn an entirely new process from the ground up.
  • Paperless Pipeline is adaptable. It 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 keeping them there! Try it today, without a credit card or commitment, and see for yourself why the country’s top brokerages trust Paperless Pipeline to help them recruit and retain the best real estate agents.