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Residential Real Estate Brokers Prepare for Succession

Start early and be prepared for a process that is "incredibly challenging and uncomfortably difficult," says Broker Tom DeWine.

(Boonton, NJ, July 5, 2016) — Tom DeWine has spent years preparing to take over his father’s Texas brokerage, yet he still wishes he had more time.

Call it the curse of succession planning: No matter how precisely the parties lay out their plans, it’s not an easy process. As many brokers reach retirement age, succession planning is a fraught decision, and a common struggle.

"In some other language, succession probably means ‘incredibly challenging and uncomfortably difficult,’" DeWine jokes.

DeWine is president and chief operating officer of ERA Colonial Real Estate. He plans to assume control of the company when his father, Dennis DeWine, retires in 2017.

The senior DeWine offers one bit of advice (with the caveat that it does not apply to him but to other parent-to-child passings of the mantel): If you plan to someday give the company to Junior, don’t gripe openly in the office about the time he got kicked out of school for smoking pot, or some other teenage transgression.

"There is often a dynamic of the successor being a known quantity," DeWine says. "You did something in high school that was stupid, and everyone heard about it."

A child taking over a father’s company often has to work twice as hard to prove himself in the ranks. A reputation as a spoiled child is something that’s tough to shed, especially if your company has long-tenured agents.

"I’ve seen it literally take the legs out of a succession plan," DeWine says.

More about the DeWines’ experience, as well as data on falling pay for Realtors, and insights into the UpstreamRE listing system appear in the July issue of Real Estate Broker’s Insider.

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