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NDR Blog

NDR Blog

Looking For Local In The Real Estate Business

What’s with all the different names?

The agent of the team, of the group, powered by the brokerage, in partnership with the corporation, held by the holding company. Wait what?

It can be very difficult for a person looking to buy or sell a home AND support local businesses to find a local real estate company to work with. As it stands, our area is dominated by global and national brands that control over 80% of the gross sales volume in our area.

This post is meant to explain the team structures that have been created in the real estate business, so that consumers can make informed decisions when looking for local professionals in the real estate industry.

We have already spoken about how franchises remove money from our local economy through franchise fees, marketing, and outsourcing. This post will NOT go into that further, however, if you are interested in learning more about that topic, check out our “Broker Talk” Series at

The State of MI

The State of MI requires that a real estate professional be licensed to assist clients in the process of buying and selling real estate. With this license, real estate sales professionals can operate their real estate business, but not without the governance from another level of licensure which is a “Real Estate Broker”.

When an agent affiliates themselves with a real estate broker it is referred to as “hanging your license with a brokerage.” From thence forth, that agent is representing that brokerage in their business. Pretty simple right?

It Starts to Get Complicated

Here is where is starts to get confusing. In the attempt to set themselves apart from the sea of other agents that affiliate themselves with the same big box brands, agents are starting to form “teams” and “groups”. A separate entity apart from an individual agent or brokerage that is meant to make the entity stand out amongst the rest. Now there are other reasons an agent would start or join a team, and we go into depth on those reasons (again in our Broker Talk series) on our Facebook page. Other reasons include, more service for their business, more financial security, and the camaraderie of being on a team.

There is no difference between a “team” and a “group” as it relates to their affiliated brokerage. The title only relates to the preference of the agents creating the entity and I think calling a team a group can be a little misleading because it seems to imply that the group is its own entity separate from the managing brokerage that is responsible for overseeing the group. That might be splitting hairs on my part, however, it is just my opinion.

How to Look for LOCAL in Real Estate

When you are searching for a locally affiliated real estate professional there is one thing you need to look for. If an agent, team, or group is doing any marketing, whether it be online, on listing signs, in print, their managing real estate brokerage needs to be listed in that marketing. The rules of marketing states that they have to make people aware in all of their marketing who their managing broker is.

So, for teams and groups that have underlying brokerage affiliations you can verify the origin or their affiliations by looking for the second name on their marketing. It is usually printed smaller on listing sign, but it has to be there. Some teams and groups have the same color and branding as the affiliated brokerage, to mirror their style for marketing association, but some do not. With individual agents it is easier to tell, because there are not two entity names represented.

Knowing agent’s, team’s, and group’s brokerage affiliations is how you tell if the brokerage that these entities have chosen to represent are local to the area.

So if you are really looking for LOCAL in the real estate business and you do not have a relationship with a current professional, take a second to look up the brokerage affiliation. With a quick search you can find out where the underlying brokerage’s  franchise home office is.

Is it in Northwest Michigan?

With ONE Question…

This post is not meant to say that people should break their relationship with an agent, team, or group that is affiliated with a non-local real estate brokerage. With one question you can make a change in your community. Is there a local business for that?

Thank you everyone for following along!

Principal Broker, Josh Haselton

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