The new year is upon us, and it’s time to work on your annual business plan if you haven’t already done so. As a sponsoring or managing broker, you will certainly do many important things this year, but be sure not to lose sight of these basic strategies and responsibilities.
Establish Stronger Connections With Your Team
Whether you manage just a few agents or oversee the operation of a large organization, it’s important to build relationships with your team. Good working relationships often lead to better focus, collaboration, talent development and other positive outcomes that will help your company grow. Perhaps more importantly, effective communication with your team will help your office remain compliant with real estate license laws, rules and regulations.
One easy way to put this into practice is team meetings. Ideally, you can maintain a regular schedule of well-attended, in-person meetings that offer valuable interactions for everyone. But in the modern workplace, it may be challenging to drive attendance at in-person meetings, so don’t be afraid to use an online meeting app that enables you to collaborate virtually.
At each meeting, be sure to spend time on at least one key compliance issue. For example, you can help your sponsored agents understand rules and regulations surrounding advertising. While your office policy will dictate what styles and forms of advertising are acceptable to your brokerage, it is important to remind your agents about the do’s and don’ts of marketing. Educating your agents by using examples of appropriate and legal advertisements vs. inappropriate forms of advertising will help them understand what it takes to be compliant and successful while also protecting you and your firm.
Remember that Certain Responsibilities Should Not Be Delegated
It’s important to know what you do well and what can be delegated to others who can do it more efficiently or cost effectively. However, from a compliance standpoint, certain responsibilities should not be delegated to others.
As the real estate industry continues to embrace the concept of teams within brokerages, it can be tempting for a managing broker to delegate some of his/her responsibilities to a “team leader.” But the law is clear that this is not always permissible. Specifically, a managing broker must:
- Have a written independent contractor agreement or employment agreement with each team member.
- Compensate each team member. Sponsored licensees are only allowed to receive compensation from their sponsoring broker.
- Monitor team advertising. Teams may advertise under the team name, but the name of the sponsoring brokerage must be included in all advertising.
Get Ready For Branch Location Changes
This year, the IDFPR’s Division of Real Estate will implement recent license law amendments, including elimination of the requirement for licensed real estate businesses to obtain an additional license for each of their branch office locations.
More details are coming soon, but we’ve received a lot of questions about how this change might impact an organization’s management structure. Similar to the current regulations, the individual who supervises the “main office” may supervise additional locations or designate another managing broker to supervise sponsored licensees at the remote location(s). Brokerages will be required to provide the IDFPR with details about the additional locations where they conduct business, but it won’t be necessary to have a separate license. Instead, these details will be managed through the IDFPR’s online services portal.
Update Your Policy Manual
Lastly, be sure to review and update your policy manual at least once per year. It’s important to incorporate policies into your manual as you become aware of new laws and rules that affect real estate brokerage. For example, you should consider including policies related to sexual harassment. You may want to address scenarios related to interactions with colleagues, customers, and clients. The appropriate information (and training – possibly at a team meeting), may help to prevent harassment and various types of discrimination. Additionally, taking reasonable steps to prevent harassment may help to limit a company’s liability if a claim is ever filed against your company or management team.
Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years, offering top-rated Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in multiple formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Distance Education. Real Estate Institute’s team of experts is standing by to answer questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.