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Whether you are in real estate or another business sector, it’s important to plan for the future of your business – even when it seems far away. In fact, Entrepreneur recommends finding a successor at least three years in advance. If this sounds surprising, don’t worry – we’ve broken down tips to help real estate brokers tackle the succession planning process with ease.

Define your goals & think about the industry.  When you’re looking to pick a successor, take a moment to define your goals: what are you looking for in a new leader, and why? As you set these goals, keep in mind the aging – and changing – real estate industry. The average age of a broker is 65 and agents are an average of 55 years old; yet, the average age of a homebuyer is 34. Look for a successor that falls closer to the average age of the homebuyer – both to ensure longevity in the industry and to close the age gap between clients and those who serve them.

Encourage your team to ask questions – early and often. Set a goal of helping your team understand the business practices of your firm just as well as they understand their day-to-day action items. This benefits your employees because it will help them determine if they are interested in leading one day, and it also helps you create a team of great people, empowered by business knowledge. Host bimonthly or quarterly “lunch and learn” sessions about key areas of the company to teach at a broad level, and then supplement with monthly check-ins with each agent one-on-one to answer questions.

Establish a transition timeline. When you have found the successor for your firm, work on a timeframe for the transition together so that your successor understands roles and responsibilities throughout the process. Not only will it serve as a way to kick start your firm’s new chapter, it will also help ensure a smooth transition by getting aligned from the get-go. Setting up periodic check-ins to ask for feedback also helps communication lines open.

At ERA, part of our system-wide focus on business planning includes succession planning for both brokers and agents looking to retire. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be ready for succession planning, no matter what stage of the process you’re in.

View this original post on ERA’s blog, Owning the Fence.

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