How to Grow a Real Estate Brokerage

The real estate industry is fast-paced and ever-changing, and life as the head of a brokerage is typically the same. It can be a full-time job to simply stay on top of the day-to-day running of a busy brokerage, so blocking out the time to develop a sustainable growth strategy can be daunting.

If your goal this year is to expand your client list and tackle new cities or states but you don’t know where to begin, keep reading. This is our comprehensive guide on how to grow a real estate brokerage and expand your operations into new regions.

Research Your New Region

Typically, real estate brokerages are founded in the area that the head of the firm is most familiar with. However, when it comes to entering a new region, much more research is needed to understand how your brokerage could thrive in that landscape. Here are some of the best ways of doing this:

Visit the Target Region

The ideal place to start is by personally visiting the area to see your target market for yourself. Spend time getting to know the people, neighborhoods, and key amenities such as schools, transport, and leisure facilities. It’s also useful to take note of the condition of the properties in the area so you know exactly what you’ll be selling.

Attend Local Events

Attending local real estate events is another effective way of gaining insight into the target market. Sign up for relevant newsletters and join Facebook groups to stay informed on upcoming seminars and conferences that may be of interest. If your target region is far from your brokerage firm’s base and that isn’t practical, look for online events instead.

Collaborate with Local Real Estate Agents

Finding ways of working with local real estate agents is a smart approach to staying informed on local real estate legislation, trends, and marketing conditions. Making contact with local independent showing agents is a great time management tactic because they can essentially keep their ear to the ground for you. They can be a great flexible resource for support with showings once you are operational in that region, too. 

Get to Know the Competition

Once you’ve decided to enter a new region, getting to know your competition is important. Many real estate business owners overlook this, which is a major mistake. Here are three things to consider:

How Can You Take on the Major Players?

The real estate market is highly competitive with big players seemingly dominating the market, so breaking into new regions can seem a little like David and Goliath. However, tools like Showami’s brokerage solution put smaller firms on the same playing field as companies like Zillow and Redfin regarding availability and scaling outside of a given region.

What Are the Region’s Unmet Real Estate Needs?

Is there an unmet need in your targeted city or state… and can your brokerage fill it? Whether you specialize in residential, commercial, or industrial property, do your research on who the real estate agents and brokerages serving that area are, and whether there is scope for you to take a piece of the pie.

How Does the Competition Operate?

What does the local competition look like? What do they offer and how do they operate (and is that system working)? Analyzing and understanding the competition is a step that many real estate business owners overlook. However, this knowledge can inform your marketing plan, provide invaluable insight into your target audience and potential clients, and put you in a much stronger position to compete with established players.

Grow Your Network

Experienced agents will tell you that relationships are at the core of successful brokerages, and that building a solid network should be part of any real estate business plan. 

Building connections can generate excellent professional exposure and valuable access to new opportunities. Some of our top tips for getting the name of your real estate firm out there are as follows:

  • Attend networking events – online and in-person professional meetups are great opportunities to make local and national contacts in your industry
  • Volunteer in the community – giving your time to local organizations and events is an effective way of demonstrating that you are genuinely invested in the community
  • Hand out business cards – you never know when ideal customers will cross your path, so make an effort to strike up conversations with folks in the local area
  • Subscribe to newsletters and magazines – industry publications are a great source of information on real estate trends, players, and events
  • Stay active on social media – create a strong online presence by connecting with other real estate professionals and getting involved in conversations

Minimize the Number of Team Members Needed for a New Region

Identifying the correct team structure is essential to any growing brokerage, and keeping that team as streamlined as possible is a key consideration for your bottom line. Many savvy real estate brokerages are incorporating the following tactics into their business models:

Leverage Software and Automation

There are plenty of day-to-day tasks that can be handled by software to free up more of your team’s time.

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) – balancing multiple clients at various stages of the buying journey is time-consuming, but a good CRM tool like Realvolve will take care of a lot of the legwork for you
  • Accounting – financial software takes the headache out of tax season and can free up hundreds of hours of administrative peoplepower throughout the year
  • Email marketing – we use Mailchimp for our mailing list and it saves us a lot of manual labor by automating email sequences and tracking metrics
  • Chatbots – AI chatbots are an increasingly popular way of providing around-the-clock online support, which saves time and delivers an enhanced customer experience

Scaling Your Support Team via Virtual Assistants

An in-office administrative team is highly important for serving your local market. The value of having support on hand to work directly with local clients on property-related tasks cannot be overstated, and an in-depth knowledge of local values and regulations will help keep your brokerage running smoothly.

However, many of your brokerage’s administrative tasks can be handled by a virtual assistant instead. Virtual assistants have the skills and knowledge needed to support your team of real estate brokers without the expensive overheads that come with a team of in-house assistants. A real estate virtual assistant also offers better agility and flexibility than a solely full-time in-house team because they don’t need to be in your state or even in the U.S. 

Remote virtual assistants can help with tasks including:

  • Managing listings and keeping property information up to date
  • Scheduling and calendar management for in-house brokers and external agents
  • Supporting marketing efforts including creating and posting social media content
  • Client communication via email, contact forms, and direct messaging
  • General administrative support for your in-house team

Leverage Local Showing Agents

When exploring opportunities in new cities and states, it goes without saying that you’ll need a team of experienced agents to show properties for you in your targeted regions. Traditionally, hiring full-time team members has been the only option, but this isn’t a cost-effective approach and is unappealing to many modern brokerages.

Showami’s showing service is a convenient and cost-effective alternative that provides flexible and reliable support from showing agents across the U.S. Showami works by connecting real estate agents and brokerages with licensed real estate agents who are willing to show properties on your behalf. The broker keeps every cent of their commission on the sale, too, making it a win-win solution.

Invest in Marketing Strategies for New Target Regions

Research shows that almost three-quarters of people only interview one real estate agent when looking to buy property. With that figure in mind, it’s clear that growth can’t happen without being highly visible in the region you’re expanding into. Successful marketing strategies typically utilize a variety of platforms and techniques, such as the following:

  • Maintain a social media presence – paid ads on Facebook and Instagram are a great way of targeting key demographics in new regions
  • Create content – establish yourself as an expert by publishing informative videos, emails, and blogs that your network will want to engage with
  • Request testimonials – sharing testimonials from satisfied clients establishes trust, which is an essential factor in any successful marketing strategy
  • Optimize your website – a brokerage’s website should be on-brand, easy to navigate, and fully optimized for use on all devices
  • Leverage traditional media – magazine features, paid print ads, and regional TV are often-overlooked marketing tools that can offer fantastic value to growing brokerages

How to Grow a Real Estate Brokerage for Multi-Regional Success

Whether you’re a small independent brokerage or a thriving real estate company, your business plan will almost certainly feature mid and long-term growth goals.

Being strategic and focusing on proven expansion techniques will put your firm in a stronger position to successfully expand into new regions. By following our tips on how to grow a real estate brokerage, you’ll find that attracting clients in new cities and states is well within your reach.

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