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Buying LandSelling Land

How to Choose the Best Real Estate Broker

April 20, 2022

If you talk to many real estate professionals, they will tell you about what they value and what they’re frustrated with in their current brokerage. Making the right choice in where you choose to invest your energy as a real estate professional takes looking at your brokerage options from many different but equally important aspects. Today we’re going to help you learn how you can determine which brokerage is the best real estate broker fit for the sector of the real estate industry you work in.

Points to Consider in Lead Generation

“Is your brokerage focused on the segment of the real estate industry you are interested in?”

– Jason Walter, CEO of National Land Realty

One of the first things to consider in a brokerage is specialization. In today’s marketplace, you do not want to be a jack of all trades. To effectively compete, a real estate brokerage should focus its efforts on one sector of the real estate industry. The reason why is that the markets are so much different. For example, the way people search for and buy land is completely different than the way people look for their residence. Make sure your brokerage understands the market you want to operate in like the back of its hand. 

Another quality to look for in a brokerage is lead generation. Good brokerages should be actively producing more leads for their agents to pursue. There are a variety of approaches that a brokerage could take, but one way that National Land Realty has seen success is in direct mail campaigns. National Land Realty sends out over 300,000 pieces of direct mail each year, which results in an average of 20 new leads per month per agent. These cost our agents little to nothing and are a great way to get directly in contact with landowners in your area.

One of the largest challenges land agents face is obscurity; people won’t buy your properties if they don’t know they’re for sale! Therefore, marketing is another area where a good brokerage should support its agents. Effectively advertising your listings is the number one way to attract potential buyers to you. Having a dedicated marketing team is one way to ensure that your listings are getting the traffic they deserve. Our marketing team provides a variety of services to our agents and brokers, such as designing custom posters and flyers, assisting in writing listing descriptions, and promoting their social media accounts to bolster their online presence.

Points to Consider in Technology

It is also worthwhile to look into how a brokerage uses current technologies and if they are utilizing them to their fullest extent. In our ever-evolving technological world, it is important to stay ahead of the curve, rather than scrambling to adopt already outdated technologies. National Land Realty stays at the forefront of technological applications in the land industry by effectively using two main technologies: our proprietary Land Tour 360® software, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). 

best real estate broker
National Land Realty’s LandTour360® Technology

Land Tour 360® is our virtual touring software that allows our agents to take stunning 360-degree drone photos for their listings. Many people think that this software only appeals to buyers, but we’ve found that many landowners will see this software being used for a nearby property. They then contact National Land Realty when they’re looking to sell just to use our technology. 

The other technology that sets National Land Realty apart is our Geographic Information Systems (GIS). At National Land Realty, we have a dedicated GIS department to develop custom mapping platforms capable of generating detailed and accurate maps for our agents. These maps can provide our agents with demographic and locational factors, as well as parcel data which allows them to directly target landowners, regardless of whether their land is listed for sale or not. 

Points to Consider in Business Administration

One of the best things that a brokerage can do is provide support for its agents. One way is through a robust back-office management software capable of fulfilling all of the agent’s in-office needs. This software allows agents and brokers to spend more time out in the field, rather than behind a desk doing paperwork. At National Land Realty, our back-office management software is accessible and easy to use, allowing our agents to produce high-quality sales collateral, sales comparison summaries, custom property flyers, internal traffic reports, and much, much more.

Often, real estate agents start their search for a brokerage by asking how much it’s going to cost them in franchise fees, overhead, lead generation, etc. While considering the costs is important, it’s more important to understand what the value of the brokerage is going to be on the points above. That being said, when it comes down to measuring how much hanging your real estate license with a brokerage is going to cost, you need to look for a brokerage whose business model aligns both the brokerage and the sales professionals’ interests. 

At National Land Realty, we have gone the opposite route of that of a franchise. We do not charge any fees or have any long-term commitments. We operate strictly off of a commission split so the only way we make money is when you make money. This incentivizes National Land and other brokerages with this model to take this money and invest it back into the brokerage so that they can continue to make their agents and brokers successful and keep everyone growing.

Points to Consider in Professional Development

A good brokerage should provide effective and comprehensive training and mentorship for all of its new agents, as well as refresher courses for existing agents. For example, National Land Realty provides all of our new agents with an extensive new-hire onboarding process that details the kinds of conversations that take place during the buying and selling process, and methods of effectively navigating these conversations. Similarly, National Land Realty offers monthly webinars and bi-monthly training courses for all of our agents to refresh them on our processes and practices.

“When I joined NLR, I became part of a team that strives every day to do our best and be the best in the land business. This allowed me to focus on areas that were my strengths and allow my team members to help me in the areas that I was not as strong. Overall, I have more time to focus on my business for my clients and more time for family.” 

-Jeramy Stephens, ALC, National Land Realty Broker and Partner

An additional question you should ask yourself about your professional development is, “Is this brand going to limit me in how I can conduct business?” The last thing you’d want from a brokerage is to be pigeonholed into only selling one type of property within a sector (such as hunting land), as this simply restricts the number of potential clients you may have.

Instead, you want your brand to open as many doors for you as possible! For example, at National Land Realty we focus on land but our agents and brokers have the ability to branch into other areas of land realty such as solar, commercial, and even leasing. This means that our agents never have to miss out on a potential client due to their branding. It is important that your brand works for you, rather than against you.

How to Find the Best Brokerage to Work For

Now that you understand the various points of consideration, how do you find a brokerage that has as many of these qualities as possible? For the most part, all real estate brokerages are similar in several ways. Therefore it is helpful to focus on areas where they differ, one way to do that is by talking to agents that work at that brokerage. This is a good way to see what other agents have to say about the points mentioned previously and can help to understand if that brokerage is the best real estate broker fit for you.

“I wanted to become more efficient in my business, doing more and/or larger deals faster, to compete on a higher level for better buyer leads and exclusive listings, all while making more money and having more quality time with my friends and family. Regardless of what your motivations are as a land broker, if you want to make more money and have more free time, all without having any long-term commitments or fees, there is no better option than National Land Realty.”

-Clint Flowers, ALC, National Land Realty Broker and Partner

Another metric that’s worth looking into would be any awards a brokerage has received for employee or workplace satisfaction in recent years. These awards are usually based on internal surveys given to employees and tend to reflect their feelings more than the will of the company. One such award is the Top Workplaces Award, meant to recognize workplaces in America that had the highest overall employee satisfaction based on an internal employee survey. National Land Realty was named one of the Top Workplaces in America in 2021 as a result of this survey. 

Picking the best real estate broker to work with is an incredibly important choice that all real estate agents must make. Take the time to really investigate your brokerage from all angles before you make your decision. It’s a choice that can save you years of frustration and have significant financial impacts on your career.

About the Author
Logan Eaton, Executive Vice President of Sales at National Land Realty, has experience in land brokerage across the southeast. He was born in Charleston, SC, and raised in Atlanta, GA, Logan is a true Southerner. He attended the University of Kentucky before transferring to the University of Georgia where he obtained his Real Estate degree from the Terry School of Business. During his time at UGA he was a member of the Real Estate Society as well as a leader in HEROs, a nonprofit club. From 2012-2015 Logan established NLR's office in Atlanta where he represented landowners and buyers in Northern GA. He holds a Principal Broker's license for the state of GA and is also licensed in SC. He has been involved in land transactions in several states and works to support the over 400 agents and brokers at National Land Realty. In 2016 Logan became the EVP of Sales for the company and has been working to build NLR into the nation's largest land brokerage firm. Logan enjoys traveling across the southeast for college football/basketball games, relaxing at Lake Oconee in GA and spending time with his wife Maddie, their sons, Henry and Charlie, and their Golden Retriever, Dill.