Finding a partner can be an intimidating challenge for real estate brokers considering opening their own brokerage firm. On one hand, a partner can take on some of the burden that comes with starting a new business, even lending their unique skills and experience throughout the process. On the other hand, the wrong partner choice can spell trouble down the road once the business has been established and making changes becomes difficult.
The right partner can make or break a brokerage’s future success. That’s why steps must be taken to ensure compatibility with each prospective partner. To help, a panel of Forbes Biz Council members below offer recommendations on how to make sure you and your potential brokerage partner are compatible.
1. Know How A Partner Will Contribute
First, know why you are taking on a partner and what they will contribute to your brokerage. Not all brokers/owners are suited to taking on a partner. Why do you want or need one? Be very clear in your expectations and on the division of responsibilities. Second, craft an exit plan if the partnership does not work out as expected. Think of it as a prenup for the partnership. – Erica Ramus, RAMUS Realty Group
2. Settle On A Written Agreement
You’d better get a pre-partner agreement. Each party should seek legal counsel prior to establishing a partnership to understand the parameters that should be created in advance to ensure a fruitful partnership experience. A collaborative partnership agreement should then be created in writing to ensure that all parameters of the business are clearly outlined. A handshake won’t cut it in court. – Cheryl Abrams, Re/Max United Real Estate
3. Assess Trust And Reputation
Trust and reputation are at the head of the list. If we define trust as some optimal combination of consistency and openness in a career, we should in turn be able to assess that across a career journey. Reputations still count, even in a digital world. The best deals and the strongest relationships will still flow in many cases simply from a reputation. – Clark Twiddy, Twiddy & Company
4. Seek Complementary Personality Traits and Skill Sets
Successful partners have personality traits and skill sets that complement one another. There are a number of different tools available such as Briggs Meyer that can take at least some of the guesswork out of this process. By assessing each partner with one of these tools, you can start the conversation on what makes each person tick and what they bring to the table. – Mike Pearson, Fortius Capital
5. Have A Clearly Defined Mission
Find the alignment between the partners’ goals and the goals of the firm. The firm should help unlock the full potential of its partners. This only happens with alignment and a clearly defined culture, vision and mission for the brokerage. – Kofi Nartey, SOCIETY Real Estate + Development
6. Define Each Partner’s Role And Expectations
I’m the perfect example of this. I purchased a new brokerage with a business partner whom I had no previous working relationship with, but we each knew of each other’s business backgrounds. I feel the key to our compatibility has been a clear delineation of our respective roles within the company before we even signed on the dotted line. Be sure you understand each other’s expectations. – Gregory Gunter, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colonial Homes San Miguel
7. Look For Chemistry
Chemistry is key when it comes to any partnership, and in real estate, it’s paramount. While it’s valuable to find someone who complements versus duplicates your strengths, that won’t matter if you don’t mix well. You want your clients to react as positively to meeting with your partner as they do to meeting with you. This is one time you really do need to go with your gut. – Kevin Hawkins, WAV Group, Inc.
8. Be Aligned On The Long-Term Plan
Business partners must have the same cultural core values, recruitment style, management ethos and long-term vision for the brand and company. Taking time to evaluate strengths and weaknesses early on will help save time and headaches down the road. Create milestones for revisiting the master plan periodically so neither partner feels stuck on an unexpected course. Symbiotic vision is key. – Courtney Poulos, ACME Real Estate
9. Leave Friendship Out Of The Equation
Find the yin to your yang. This person probably isn’t your BFF. A successful partnership is based on a common vision tempered by respectful disagreement. If you think the same way, one of you isn’t necessary. The biggest mistake is establishing a partnership primarily based on friendship. – Lee Kiser, Kiser Group
10. Don’t Rush The Process
Don’t rush entering into a business partnership. Finding a new business partner, team member or anyone you are going to work with on a regular basis should be similar to dating: take it slow, get to know each other and then make a commitment to each other. And just like a romantic relationship, make sure that person is committed to you for the long haul, not just the moment. – Chadwick Ciocci, Chilton & Chadwick