14 Essential Elements of a Company Culture Handbook for Real Estate Brokerages

Have you given a thought – serious thought – to your real estate company culture? Because it’s the most important thread that runs through your brokerage, your team, and your work. 

No? Don’t panic. The truth is, even if you haven’t consciously worked your way through it (yet), chances are very good that you have given it some thought. A lot of thought, even. Because company culture is what defines nearly every action and interaction between your brokerage and your agents or team members. 

Now comes the important (and hard) bit: You have to write it all down. And then, edit it to perfection. Because a successful brokerage is one that conceptualizes, standardizes, and vocalizes its real estate company culture. Yes, we’re talking about a Team & Agent Handbook that you can share, as soon as you onboard a new agent or team member.

Here are the 14 essential elements to include: 

Element #1: A Welcome 

This is your chance to show a little personality and flair. 

Your welcome letter or handbook introduction can be from your owner, broker, leader, or another appropriate party (such as the onboarding team). 

Here are a few things you can include in your welcome letter: 

  • What makes your company unique? Why do agents/clients choose your brokerage over any other? 
  • What makes your company tick? What’s your founding principle? 
  • What makes your agents get up in the morning? Why are they called to do what they do? 
  • Words to get them fired up and excited about their new role at the company

Element #2: Your Team

company culture real estate brokerage

Now’s the time to read between the lines. The adjectives you use to describe your team speak volumes, so choose wisely. 

Here’s a great guide to business descriptive words (and how they’ll be interpreted).

Element #3: Your Mission

Note that your real estate Company Culture Mission is different from the public-facing Mission Statement you developed for your Brand Book. 

While there will (and should) be overlap, this is a more behind-the-scenes approach with a strong focus on your mission regarding your teamwork and your agents/team. Here are a few elements you could include: 

  • What is your company’s purpose and how do your agents and/or team members contribute as parts of the whole?
  • What is your mission, as a broker/brokerage, with regard to your agents? 
  • What makes your company or work culture different from your competitors’?
  • And what do you expect of your agents/team, in return?

Element #4: Your Why

For time immemorial (and still going strong in 3-year-olds everywhere!), humans have always wanted to know why

So, tell them. Address your team’s curiosity. Explain the undercurrent of purpose that runs through your brokerage. Make your cause noble. But be concise. Do it in a couple of sentences, such as: 

  • We want to… transform/change/evolve/ensure…
  • Our overarching goal is to…
  • We envision…

Follow it up with your agents’ why. Why did they choose real estate? And why do they choose your brokerage? 

Element #5: Your Values

Again, these will overlap with but not duplicate the Core Values from your Brand Book. The difference is that here, you’re not simply stating your values, but rather trying to communicate to your team why they’re so important.

You should be able to take each Core Value tenet and rewrite it so that your team understands (and gets on board with) why that value is so important.

Element #6: Your Guiding Principles

Real estate company culture is rooted in the guiding principles that often overlap with your values; they are the beliefs and behaviors that run through every decision you make as a company. 

These can extend to: 

  • Your company philosophy for how and why you do things
  • Reasons behind why you insist on certain values or behaviors
  • A belief that should be held and upheld by all agents and team members
  • General guidelines around how your agents and team should act

Element #7: What You Care About

This section gets to the heart of who you are, as a company. In most handbooks, this section can be broken down into various categories of things you care about – for example, your clients, your employees, and your community. 

More than what you care about, explain the how: How do you walk the walk, through your actions and activities? For example: 

  • Do you work with local nonprofits or volunteering?
  • Do you do something special for a specific group of people? 
  • Do you participate in community clean-ups or other events? 

Additionally, this is the section to talk a little bit about how you care for your employees and agents. Do you throw annual parties? Do you have a fun tradition, like ringing a bell when you make a sale? Do you host regular team-building getaways? Here’s your chance to shine. 

Element #8: Joining Your Brokerage

This is where the onboarding magic happens. 

Tell new agents and team members what they can expect during their first days, weeks, and months at your company. And also include your expectations for them. And then, state how you will meet their expectations for you. This is the beating heart of your real estate company culture.

Element #9: Your Commission Split + Other Financials

Be honest, transparent, and direct. Don’t beat around this bush. 

Element #10: An Agent’s Role

Summarize your company’s expectations for your agents and team members. For agents, this likely includes expected areas of expertise, from a specific region to financing options. 

Element #11: Social Media Dos & Don’ts            

Start by linking to all your company’s socials and asking your agents/team members to like, comment, follow, and subscribe. Additionally, encourage them to interact to boost your social engagement. 

Beyond that, give them the general dos and don’ts not only for interacting with your company’s social handles, but for managing their own. Remember, they are an arm of your brand, so their professional accounts must act accordingly. 

Element #12: Agent Resources

If you have great content – free eBooks, an information-rich blog, YouTube videos, etc. – here’s the place to raise some awareness and link to the most helpful bits. You’ve taken the time to build these resources, now you need your agents to use them!

Element #13: Your Origin Story

This is your brief company timeline/origin story. It can be pulled (and then condensed) from the Brand Book. Let your agents and team members know where you came from!

Element #14: Thank You

Whoever (the company owner, broker, or team member) opened with the welcome should offer a brief thank you and an offer to answer any questions. 

Ready to Write Your Real Estate Company Culture Guidelines?

company culture for real estate brokerages

And, there you have it! The 14 essential elements of your real estate Company Culture Handbook. Do you feel ready to write yours? 

If the answer is NO, or if you just won’t have the bandwidth any time soon, then know that this – Company Culture Guidelines, as well as Employee and Agent Resources – is our bread and butter! At Peak Integrated Marketing, we’d love to help with anything from brand development (or rebranding) and management, to ongoing marketing and content creation.

Feel free to get in touch!